NEWS BRIEFS update as of June 11, 2019

Largest ever Indigenous delegation at Rendez-Vous

Territory of the Mississauga’s of New Credit and the Traditional Territories of the Anishinaabek , Mississaugas, Huron-Wendat, and Haudenosaunee, (TORONTO, Ont.) – This year, there were there were 43 Indigenous tourism businesses attending the the annual Rendez-vous Canada trade show, the largest ever representation of Indigenous tourism in Canada to take part in the event.

Held from May 28 to 31, 2019, Rendez-vous Canada provide the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) an opportunity to actively promote to buyers their new travel packages, outdoor adventures, cultural activities, and accommodation options from coast to coast.

“We look forward to Rendez-vous Canada every year,” says Keith Henry, president & CEO of ITAC. “Not only does it give us the opportunity to connect with tourism industry leaders from across the country, but it allows us to share and showcase the many Indigenous experiences available within Canada with tour operators from around the world.”

The four-day event is an important industry trade platform for Canadians to launch new tourism products, share market insights for the benefit of sellers, view other products through a competitive lens and increase the range of tourism experiences that the Canadian tourism industry has to offer.

This year, 68 delegates affiliated with ITAC are attending the event. In total, there are 470 (sold out) booths and 1,900 delegates taking part in this year’s event. This year, Rendez-vous Canada is hosting 584 international and domestic buyers, with the three leading countries, Canada, China, and US – 114 from Canada, 84 from China, and 74 from the US.

Small Canadian hotels are digitally savvy

The June Motel in Picton, Ont., is an example of a small hotel that is digital savvy. They won the Best Instagrammer award from BLLA last year.
The June Motel in Picton, Ont., is an example of a small hotel that is digital savvy. They won the Best Instagrammer award from BLLA last year.

CANADA —Small hotel owners are some of the most digitally-savvy in Canada, according to a new study by Vistaprint. The research reveals that over eighty percent (82 per cent) of Canadian small hotel businesses have a website, while over two thirds (69 per cent) are using social media to promote their business. This puts small hotels in second place behind the photography sector, where 85 per cent of small businesses have a website. Across all industries, less than half (43 per cent) of Canadian small businesses have a website and just over half (58 per cent) are using social media.

The study by Vistaprint, an online provider of marketing products and services to small businesses, explores the digital capabilities of Canadian micro businesses and the expectations of their customers.

With nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of Canadians expecting a business of any size to have a website, small hotel owners’ willingness to embrace digital is encouraging. 

“With so many Canadian consumers discovering small businesses online, there’s simply no reason not to have a presence on the web,” says Vistaprint senior director of digital products, Alfredo Ramos. “In working closely with small business owners, we’ve developed a suite of affordable and easy-to-use digital marketing services to provide businesses with the tools and know-how to look professional online.”

Despite hotel owners spending over three times as much per year on marketing compared to small business owners across all sectors ($5,183 vs. $1,667), budget still came out as the biggest barrier to building a professional marketing presence. This was followed by limited time, with nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of small hotel owners spending less than 2 hours per week marketing their business.

Fire cancels hospitality classes at Georgian College

Georgian College, Barrie, Ont.
Georgian College, Barrie, Ont.

BARRIE, Ont. — An early-morning fire at the Barrie campus of Georgian College shut down the institution on Wednesday, June 5. According to the Barrie Fire Department, firefighters were able to get the fire under control quickly and there were no injuries.

However, due to the fire at the Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation building, Georgian College officials cancelled all classes for the day and the campus was, effectively, shut down.

Georgian College reopened and classes resumed June 6, except for E building, which houses the HTR department and will remain closed. The college advised students to check Blackboard or their timetable in Barrie Banner for new class locations and exceptions.

Help wanted in Canada’s Rocky Mountain Resorts

The Rimrock Resort, Banff.
The Rimrock Resort, Banff.

BANFF, Alta. — On the eve of the busiest season in Banff National Park, many employers in the hospitality sector are scrambling to fill vacancies, according to a recent story on Global News.

“We always focus on hiring Canadians as much as we possible can,” said Trevor Long, general manager of The Rimrock Hotel. But Canadians don’t always stay for more than a few months and hotels are struggling to fill the chronic staffing shortage experienced year round. Federal government tightening rules around the temporary foreign worker program has made it even more difficult to bring people over to fill the jobs.

Trevor Long, general manager, Rimrock Resort.
Trevor Long, general manager, Rimrock Resort.

“Almost all businesses use a professional recruitment company to take us through the process and the forms, and it’s still extremely difficult and the success rate is low,” Long said.

The Rimrock can legally hire 20 per cent of its staff as temporary foreign workers but at the beginning of June, less than 10 per cent of its 410-person team fell under that category. Long said that is largely due to long processing times with no guarantee of approval.

The Rimrock has been waiting eight months to get approval to hire 20 foreign workers. Each application comes with a $1,000 fee.

There’s no question there has been a substantial decrease in the number of government approvals since changes were made to the program in 2014. Nationally, between 2013 and 2017, the number of approved temporary foreign worker positions for the tourism sector as a whole decreased by 78.6 per cent. Many see the red tape and long delays as a contributing problem, stunting the growth of an industry with huge money-earning potential.

“If you look over the past 10 years, Tourism HR Canada has helped to validate that we’ve lost $11 billion of revenue potential because we don’t have the people available to the industry,” said Darren Reeder, executive director of the Banff and Lake Louise Hospitality Association.

The federal government has attributed the processing times to an increase in the number of applications that the department has received.

Hotels.com supports World Pride

Arlo Soho City is one of the New York hotels offering free rooms for World Pride.
Arlo Soho City is one of the New York hotels offering free rooms for World Pride.

NEW YORK — This year is the first time WorldPride will be hosted on United States soil, and it will be held in NYC, so Hotels.com wants to help those attending stay for free. 

With more than 3 million people expected to travel for this historic event, Hotels.com knows that hotels are a hot commodity, and friends’ couches are probably already spoken for.… so if guests can get themselves to NYC – whether it be by plane, train, automobile, or otherwise – Hotels.com can hook them up with a place to stay for free.

Hotels.com is giving away 50 hotel rooms in honor of this 50th anniversary. Starting on June 4, Pride-goers can head over to hotels.com/page/pride50 and share why they want to spend Pride in NYC.

25 lucky Pride attendees will snag a free two-night stay in one of five Manhattan hotels: PUBLIC, an Ian Schrager HotelThe James New York-SoHoGrand Hyatt New YorkDream Midtown and Arlo Soho.

Restaurants Canada and PEI form partnership

Kevin Mouflier, TIAPEI.
Kevin Mouflier, TIAPEI.

Restaurants Canada, the national association representing the Canadian foodservice and hospitality industry, is excited to announce its fourth association partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island (TIAPEI), which represents all geographical regions and sectors within the tourism industry on Prince Edward Island.
TIAPEI provides access to programs and projects that support the success of the entire tourism industry on the Island. Now, through this partnership with Restaurants Canada, TIAPEI members will gain access to benefits including national affinity partner programs, digital communication, education and research assets, as well as access to Restaurants Canada industry events.

“A strong and vibrant tourism industry is a vital contributor to a healthy economy for Prince Edward Island,” said Kevin Mouflier, CEO of TIAPEI. “This partnership with Restaurants Canada allows us to promote and advance the tourism industry on the Island, and leverage it on a national scale.”

“TIAPEI has worked diligently since 1980 to ensure the voice of all tourism operators could be heard,” said Christopher Barry, director of membership at Restaurants Canada. “By partnering with them, it allows us to bring additional voices to the table to support the continued growth and success of culinary tourism throughout the province.”

This partnership will allow for more direct industry feedback and alignment on policy issues so that both organizations can better represent the needs of the foodservice and hospitality sector both within the province and nationally.

St. Eugene’s offers Indigenous cultural training

CRANBROOK, B.C. —St. Eugene Resort is a proudly First Nations-owned resort in Cranbrook, B.C. that was once a residential school; the resort’s history offers an impactful backdrop for groups to learn about Indigenous culture and world views.

The Ktunaxa Nations’ Indigenous Culture and Awareness Training is designed for corporate groups and delivers engaging course content based on recognition, reconciliation, and relationship in an unforgettable setting.  Ktunaxa Elders directed the reclamation and restoration of the historic property to create a resort that is now a source of hope, strength, and pride. 

The Indigenous Culture and Awareness Training is a perfect introduction for corporate groups pursuing understanding and sensitivity in their relationships with Indigenous people. Group size can range from six to 24 people, and prices start at $349 per participant for two days and one night including the workshop itinerary, all course content and group activities, and single occupancy at St. Eugene Resort. 

The training includes history and tour of the St. Eugene building, cross-cultural workshop and instruction, traditional games, and Indigenous team building activities. Content is balanced between engaging activities and education, and participation in the workshop fulfills a key call to action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to the corporate sector.