NEWS BRIEFS Update Feb. 12, 2019

Canadian Hotel occupancy highest since 1999

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — The Canadian hotel industry reported positive year-over-year results in the three key performance metrics during 2018, according to data from STR.

Compared with 2017: 

— Occupancy: +1.0 per cent to 66.3 per cent
— Average daily rate (ADR): +4.3 per cent to $163.40
— Revenue per available room (RevPAR): +5.3 per cent to $108.39

The absolute occupancy level was the highest for any year in the country since 1999.

An October report from Destination Canada showed that overnight arrivals of international visitors to the country were up 1.2 per cent year to date, putting the country on track for another record year. Preliminary figures for November then showed a 2 per cent increase year to date. STR analysts point to that influx of visitors as a main driver of healthy hotel demand (+2.0 per cent). Additionally, supply growth (+1.0 per cent) remained modest, further strengthening hotelier pricing power.

In absolute values, August was Canada’s top month of the year for each of the three metrics: occupancy (80.4 per cent), ADR ($185.02) and RevPAR ($148.74).

Among the provinces and territories:

— British Columbia recorded the year’s largest year-over-year increase in RevPAR (+9.3 per cent to $137.18), due primarily to the largest lift in ADR (+8.6 per cent to $193.58).

— Saskatchewan experienced the highest rise in occupancy (+6.0 per cent to 56.2 per cent), but the second-steepest drop in ADR (-1.5 per cent to $117.71).

— Alberta saw the second-largest jump in RevPAR (+6.0 per cent to $88.05).

— Overall, 10 of the 11 reporting provinces and territories reported RevPAR growth.

— Newfoundland and Labrador registered the steepest declines in all three key performance metrics: occupancy (-13.6 per cent to 54.5 per cent), ADR (-4.5% to $138.75) and RevPAR (-17.5 per cent to $75.66).

— Quebec experienced the second-largest drop in occupancy (-2.2 per cent to 69.6 per cent).

go2HR's Inclusive Customer Service course

VANCOUVER — go2HR has launched Service For All, the final course of the new suite of SuperHost Customer Service Training program. 

Service For All is a unique course around customer service in today’s diverse environment, teaching the concepts of accommodating those with different needs and interacting with customers of all identities. 

Students will learn about best practices around customers from various backgrounds and identities, including but not limited to: different generations (e.g. boomers, Gen X, millennials, etc.); persons with disabilities; LGBTQ/2S people; Indigenous peoples; people for whom English is a second language; and customers from varying ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds 

Currently, no other course covers as comprehensive and updated range of topics as Service For All does. Offered online only, the course contains engaging activities and realistic examples to help students gain practical knowledge and tips to help them understand and deliver exceptional service to guests and clients of all backgrounds. 

“British Columbia is not only home to residents of diverse backgrounds, but it also attracts visitors from all over the world, and this number continues to increase,” says Arlene Keis, CEO of go2HR. “The ‘one size fits all’ concept simply does not apply to the way we set expectations and practices around specific customer groups anymore. We are thrilled to present Service For All at this timely juncture to support employers with educating their staff and preparing the workforce to provide excellent customer service, no matter who comes through the door.” 

Vancouver Convention Centre Concierges' achievement

VANCOUVER — The Vancouver
Convention Centre
is proud to be the first convention centre in North America to be
granted exclusive Corporate Affiliate membership to the most prestigious
international organization of concierges in the world. Les Clefs
d’Or Canada
,
a chapter of the international association, is an elite group of hotel
concierges dedicated to the achievement of exceptional service and represents
over 4,000 top concierges in over 45 countries, including 150 Canadian members.

“Congratulations
to the Vancouver Convention Centre for becoming a Corporate Affiliate Member of
Les Clefs d’Or Canada,” said Yuki Fournier, BC Regional Director, Les Clefs
d’Or Canada. “Les Clefs d’Or follows the guiding motto of ‘In Service through
Friendship’ and this has been exemplified by the Convention Centre’s amazing
staff and quality of service. Represented by manager of guest experience Bryan
Ralphs, this partnership will enhance the communication and services offered to
our guests from around the world.”

Les Clefs
d’Or (The Golden Keys) is a name familiar to national or international
travellers accustomed to staying in grand hotels around the world. Membership is
granted exclusively to those who have consistently demonstrated an unsurpassed
knowledge of their respective communities, and demand excellence of themselves
when meeting the needs of their guests.

Host city named for Atlantic Canada Showcase

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital city of St. John’s has been selected to host Atlantic Canada Showcase, October 6-8, 2019. 

Atlantic Canada Showcase (ACS) is a biennial buyer-seated tourism marketplace designed especially for the motorcoach, group, Fully Independent Travel and specialty travel industry. The event entails three impactful days of pre-scheduled business-to-business meetings, networking events and educational sessions that will allow international buyers and regional sellers an opportunity to experience, meet and grow business with tourism product and service providers from all four Atlantic Provinces. 

The ACS event, which rotates throughout the Atlantic Provinces, was last held in New Brunswick in 2016 and hosted 69 buyers from around the world and 122 sellers of tourism products and services from Atlantic Canada. A committee comprised of private and public representatives from each of the Atlantic Provinces has been working diligently to ensure that the 2019 event surpasses all expectations. 

Funding for Atlantic Canada Showcase is provided by the Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT). ACAT is a nine-member, pan-Atlantic, international marketing initiative comprised of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the four tourism industry associations in Atlantic Canada and the provincial departments responsible for tourism in the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. 

RLH Corporation's new currency, “Hello Bucks”

DENVER — RLH Corporation announced last month that it is further
enriching its innovative Hello Rewards guest recognition program with the
introduction of a new digital currency: Hello Bucks. Unlike other loyalty
program benefits, Hello Bucks was developed to reward all travellers staying at
RLH Corporation hotels, not just the frequent traveler. Differentiated in the
industry, the innovative Hello Bucks currency will instantly gratify Hello
Rewards members with the compensation of 10 Hello Bucks for every qualifying
stay at all participating RLH Corporation-branded hotels.

“With Hello Bucks, we set out to
create a currency that rewards the average North American traveller who largely
goes unnoticed by traditional point-based guest loyalty programs,” said
RLH Corporation senior vice president of Digital, Loyalty and Partnerships,
Leslee Torres.  “Each time a program member completes a qualifying
stay at one of our almost 1,500 hotels, they receive Hello Bucks that can be
applied toward savings on their next reservation or saved for a free
night.”

Hello Bucks work like cash with one
Hello Buck equaling one Dollar (CAD or USD depending on the hotel). Guests can
apply their Hello Bucks to their next reservation or save for a free night
making this currency one of the simplest and most versatile currencies
available from a hotel brand.

Restaurants Canada and TIANB
now Association Partners

Carol Alderdice, TIANB.

Carol Alderdice, TIANB.

TORONTO — Restaurants
Canada, a national association representing more than 30,000 foodservice and
hospitality businesses across Canada, is excited to welcome the Tourism
Industry Association of New Brunswick (TIANB), the leading advocate for tourism
issues in the province of New Brunswick, to its growing network of association
partners.



Through this partnership, TIANB’s foodservice operators will gain
access to numerous benefits as Association Members of Restaurants Canada,
including national affinity partner programs, digital communication, education
and research assets, as well as access to exclusive industry events.



“With
annual visitor spending exceeding $1.5 billion, tourism is one of New
Brunswick’s three largest service export industries, and foodservice and
hospitality make up a large portion of that,” said president and CEO of TIANB,
Carol Alderdice. “This partnership gives TIANB a more direct line to our
national partner, Restaurants Canada, strengthening the voice of our province’s
tourism and hospitality community.”



Christopher Barry, Restaurants Canada.

Christopher Barry, Restaurants Canada.

“Restaurants Canada is honoured to have
TIANB at the table with us as we continue to represent New Brunswick’s diverse
and dynamic foodservice and accommodation businesses,” said Christopher Barry, director of membership at Restaurants Canada. “We look forward to extending our
programs and resources to TIANB members, as well as helping them take advantage
of the increasing demand for the unique culinary experiences they
offer.”



ORHMA and OTEC join forces to combat skills shortage

TORONTO — With partners across Ontario, Tourism SkillsNet Ontario is a provincial, industry driven workforce development initiative led by OTEC, which enables stakeholders to develop collaborative strategies at the local level that align recruitment and training models with the skills needed by businesses. 

Leveraging HR technology for regional workforce development and fostering broad collaboration for focused results, this initiative is focused on developing the third pillar of the training and education system. 

Tourism SkillsNet Ontario has established a provincial tourism workforce development network to identify and support the implementation of unique labour and skills development strategies across Ontario. To read more – click click here.