TORONTO — Realstar Hospitality has grown Days Inn from 12
hotels to more than 110 in Canada since it took over the brand’s master
franchise in 1992, Jonas Prince, chairman and founder of the Realstar Group told
an audience of almost 200 people at the opening of the Days Inn Canada
conference at the Sheraton Centre last month.
Another interesting statistic: over that time, housekeepers
at Days Inns Canada have changed 150 million sheets.
Back in 1992, the biggest concern for hoteliers was amenity
creep. Since then, the Internet has made drastic changes in the hotel industry.
But Prince talked about three other things that have changed
the face of hospitality.
ADS or Amazon Denial Syndrome. In recent years, Amazon has
grown from 10 to more than 50 per cent market share. Because of Amazon, half the malls in
America are expected to close in the next decade. Sixty-four per cent of
American households have an Amazon card, according to Forbes Magazine. And Alexa, Amazon’s virtual personal
assistant, will commoditize brands, since she recommends products that make the
highest profit for Amazon.
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. According to a Kinsey
study, 50 per cent of jobs could be automated through technology. On the list
are narrow, repetitive jobs that affect everyone from factory workers to
doctors and lawyers. What robotics and AI can’t replace is jobs that require
the human touch, such as nursing, caregiving and school teaching.
Shared Economy. This is expected to grow from $14 billion in
2016 to $320 billion in 2025. Uber and Lift mean there is a greater supply of
cars. Airbnb prices are 30 to 60 per cent lower than hotels. Since 2008, 150
million people have stays in 3 million listings in 190 countries. Consumers,
businesses, regulators and policy makers are all trying to cope.
Back in 1992, Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister, NAFTA was
signed, and the first cohort of millennials turned 10 years old. We took taxis
rather than Uber or Lift. Books were bought in a bookstore, not on Amazon to
read on a Kindle. Music involved cassettes or CDs, not iTunes, iPods and
Spotify. Telephones were rotary dial. And guests booked travel in three places:
through the hotel direct, via the 1-800 number and through travel agents. Expedia
didn’t exist; nor did Twitter or Facebook. And it was just in January 2007 that
Steve Jobs told us we would have all we need on our own personal iPhones.