NEWS BRIEFS update April 9, 2019

Givex partners with Best Western on Travel Card Program

Don Gray, CEO, Givex.

Don Gray, CEO, Givex.

TORONTO — Givex, the cloud-based customer engagement solution that helps to streamline business operation from end-to-end, recently announced its partnership with Best Western Hotels & Resorts, a global hospitality company with over 4,500 hotels and resorts in nearly 100 countries and territories worldwide. Best Western will utilize the Givex gift card platform to issue and redeem Best Western Travel Cards globally.

The first phase of the partnership was launched in late 2018, less than six months after the deal was inked, an impressive feat for both teams. As part of the partnership, Givex will provide 24/7 support and fulfillment for all Best Western locations.

“Best Western has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years as the company continues on its path of transformation and modernization,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer of Best Western Hotels & Resorts. “As our global footprint expanded, our need for a scalable gift card solution became evident. Givex is a leader in the space and provides the secure features, product control and enhanced reporting and operational capabilities we need, while also delivering a significant benefit to our customers and partners.”

“To be able to partner with a global powerhouse like Best Western speaks volumes about our ability to provide scalable technology solutions that make operations easier for our partners, no matter their industry,” said Don Gray, CEO at Givex. “We look forward to working hand-in-hand with Best Western to ensure a seamless gift card experience for their operators and their guests.”

Best Western has 4,500 hotels in nearly 100 countries, with a little over half in North America, and a strong presence in Europe and Asia. Now with the capability to issue cards in multiple currencies that are redeemable at all hotels worldwide, Best Western plans to leverage the Givex gift card platform in its future national promotions.


Latest Hospitality Wi-Fi Trends and Expectations

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has published a survey conducted on more than 670 guests and 200 hoteliers in order to demonstrate how advances in technology and increasing guest expectations have placed a higher strain on hotel Wi-Fi networks than ever before. 

Significant findings from the survey include the fact that more than 90 per cent of hoteliers frequently encounter guests seeking to connect more than one device, demonstrating an impressive 30 per cent increase since 2015's survey results. 

Of further note is the growing diversity of device types. Smart watches, for example, have risen in guest adoption numbers by more than 16 per cent. Such numbers standing alone should provide reason to reassess an existing network's capabilities to cater to increased connectivity. 

Yet just as significant is the rise in demand for bandwidth-consuming services such as content streaming and casting, with guests seeking the ability to cast from personal devices onto guestroom televisions growing to a new height of 65 percent since 2015.

With many existing hotel Wi-Fi services originally designed to cater to one device per room and to only provide sufficient bandwidth for basic internet browsing needs, the HIS survey additionally provides valuable insight into why it is now so critical for hoteliers to update their networks. For example, more than 90 per cent of guest respondents indicated that the ability to access a hotel's Wi-Fi is 'very important,' while another 58 percent disclosed Wi-Fi service quality as being 'highly likely' to impact their booking decisions.

Other noteworthy survey findings demonstrate that while the vast majority of hotelier respondents recognize the importance of Wi-Fi service quality, more than 80 per cent of guest respondents revealed that they continue to encounter an unsatisfactory experience. Survey feedback also indicates that guests are increasingly concerned over the issue of data security, with more than 90 per cent of respondents indicating such a concern. This stands in contrast to the more than 60 per cent of hoteliers who felt that security improvements could still be made to their existing networks.

Canadian hotels go dark for Earth Hour… and more

Michael Cooper performed in T | bar at the Chelsea Hotel Toronto in honour of Earth Day.

Michael Cooper performed in T | bar at the Chelsea Hotel Toronto in honour of Earth Day.

Surrey, B.C., TORONTO — PHI Hotel Group will go dark for one hour on March 30th in support of Earth Hour 2019. Our hotels will join individuals and businesses around the world in turning off their lights at 8:30 pm local time to raise environmental awareness. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Earth Hour is now the world’s largest grassroots movement, inspiring millions to take action for the future of the planet. 

On Earth Day, the Chelsea Hotel Toronto gave the first 500 guests an LED 8w A19 household style bulb.

On Earth Day, the Chelsea Hotel Toronto gave the first 500 guests an LED 8w A19 household style bulb.

In Toronto, Chelsea Hotel Toronto, Canada’s largest hotel, participated in earth Hour for the 12th consecutive year. In support Earth Hour, the hotel turned off exterior signage and all non-essential lighting; served featured cocktails in T|bar restaurant; featured a live acoustic performer, Michael Cooper in T|bar; gave the first 500 guests an LED 8w A19 household style bulb (equivalent to 60w incandescent and 15,000 hour life rating) courtesy of Sunray Electronics/Lighting Systems and Technical Consumer Products, Inc.

Chelsea Hotel is also celebrating “Loving Earth Month” starting from Earth Hour (30 March) to Earth Day (22 April) by engaging colleagues and guests to minimize environmental and social footprints. Throughout Loving Earth Month, the hotel will continue to support green initiatives by offering more vegetarian menu options on “Meatless Monday”, as a means to reduce the carbon footprint. 

Chelsea Hotel’s T|bar restaurant has partnered with Rise Kombucha to create two ecologically-sound and socially-conscious cocktails: Hibiscus with filtered water, cane sugar, Rise kombucha culture, hibiscus herbal tea, black tea, fresh ginger juice, green tea and Hendricks Gin; and Ginger with filtered water, cane sugar, Rise kombucha culture, white tea, fresh ginger juice, black tea, green tea, xanthan gum and Absolut Vodka.

Additionally, hotel colleagues will be encouraged to be more active and participate in the 30-day SpartanFit Corporate Challenge – Five Pillars of Health including Exercise, Nutrition, Mindfulness, Water and Steps.

Hotels.com's Canadian tourism statistics

Hotels.com has released its annual Hotel Price Index (HPI) that revealed a 3 per cent increase in global accommodation prices, reaching levels we haven’t seen since 2004.

The study found that 2018 was the best year on record for Canadian tourism, with international travelers surpassing 21 million for the first time ever:

— A record-breaking 14.44 million U.S. travellers visited Canada in 2018, the highest recorded since 2004.

— Toronto topped the most popular Canadian destinations for international travellers, with Vancouver coming in second. Montreal, Niagara Falls and Calgary rounded out the top five most popular respectively.

— For Canadian travellers, three U.S. destinations saw their five-star rates drop considerably: Nashville by 24 per cent ($321 per night), Portland by 15 per cent ($251 per night) and New Orleans was also down by 15 per cent ($325 per night).

Sparkling Hill uses Maestro PMS Systems

VERNON, B.C. — Sparkling Hill Resort integrates all processes with Maestro PMS. The Resort’s world-class KurSpa, the largest among luxury spas in Canada and considered by many to be the most unique in the world, is integrated in Maestro to help guests find wellness. 

Sparkling Hill Resort uses Maestro’s complete integrated solution including Front Office, Spa and Activities, Sales and Catering, ResWave Direct Online Booking Engine, Housekeeping, Yield Management, and Guest Experience Measurement (GEM) Systems. “Maestro’s modules are seamlessly integrated so our staff can answer any of our guests’ inquiries confidently whether it is looking at their spa and activity schedule or reviewing their detailed dining folio. 

“We use Maestro PMS in almost every department of our Resort. We have an extraordinary property with a variety of services and activities focused on whole body wellness. We make a very personal connection with our guests thanks to Maestro,” said Jana Gohl, general manager of Sparkling Hill Resort. 

Located in British Columbia, Sparkling Hill Resort is a 149-room AAA Four Diamond destination. “Nearly all our guests and groups are here to experience whole body wellness,” Gohl said. “Maestro enables us to deliver individualized attention to each guest’s unique needs and preferences. This extends from pre-arrival attention, to our commitment to understanding their needs and trying to fulfill them before they arrive.

“Maestro sends a pre-arrival email before they check-in with a custom single guest itinerary inclusive of their spa appointments and stay details so they can focus on pure relaxation upon arrival. Corporate group members can also utilize a private booking page that can show any information the organizer wishes which allows us to personalize their experience before they even arrive. Maestro’s ability to store all of our guest’s personal and preference information allows our staff to provide a truly memorable experience to all of our guests. To maintain the highest service level, upon checkout, we automatically send guests a GEM survey through Maestro.”

Caribbean Hotels anticipate a better 2019

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — The Caribbean hotel industry is set to have better 2019 according to STR. The Caribbean hotel industry struggled in 2018, but data from STR showed that the region has performed better so far this year and is expected to continue to grow, the Caribbean Journal reports. 

Occupancy reached 74.4 per cent in February, a 1.2 per cent increase compared to the same time last year. This marked the third consecutive month of positive occupancy growth in year-over-year comparisons, which is the first time that’s happened since 2015.

For the same period, average daily rate increased 6.9 per cent to $271.13. Revenue per available room rose 9 per cent to $173. 23.