WATERLOO, ON—The Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) launched
the ORHMA Waterloo Region board and chapter to represent the hospitality
sectors in Waterloo, St. Jacobs, Cambridge and Kitchener.
ORHMA president and
chief executive officer Tony Elenis said the chapter, which has about 230
members, represents more than 90 per cent of the accommodations business in the
“We concentrated on
building the hotel sector first before we go to the restaurants,” Elenis told ORN,
adding there are already some restaurant members but given there are less
hotels, it seemed like the appropriate first step.
“The Waterloo Region presents a quality hospitality
product and developing a presence in this vibrant region will help foster a
strong industry,” he said.
Elenis said the
operators who approached the ORHMA about a new chapter felt the city and
surrounding municipalities had “enough capacity and the need for an
organization that would be able to lead them to synergies,” he said.
He noted there are a
number of new properties in the growing region and a good mix of independent
operators and major hotel brands.
Elenis said there are
great restaurants there as well with diverse offerings “from local food to
concepts that are unique and trendy.”
“The ORHMA works to influence provincial and
municipal government on issues that affect the industry. We are looking
to working as a region in building a foundation for our industry’s
success,” Minto Schneider, board member and general manager of the
Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation, said in a release.
“If you work in silos,
you can never reach the goal of the group,” said Elenis.
He said the mandate of
Waterloo Region is: to educate through speaker series on tourism, property tax
and food costs; bring new tourism business into the region; and ensure
continued growth and strength.
“When you talk to one group, instead of one by
one, it is much easier,” said Elenis.
The new board, elected on Oct. 21, consists of
representatives from the accommodations sectors in Waterloo Region:
Secretary/treasurer Billie Anne Arthur, general manager of Cambridge Hotel
& Conference Centre;
Vice-chair Vanessa Stevenson, Homewood Suites Cambridge general manager;
Salim Mukadam, Holiday Inn Kitchener general manager;
Axt, director of sales and marketing for Hilton Garden Inn Kitchener &
Schneider, Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation general manager; and
-Jason Shaw, general manager of Comfort Inn
Elenis said the chapter will bring other
hospitality business representatives onto the board in the future.
also has local chapters in Guelph, London, Ottawa, Simcoe, Toronto, and Windsor
and has more than 4,000 members, representing more than 11,000 establishments
across the province.