Photos: Alison Boulier
KELOWNA — Last month, the BC Hotel Association (BCHA) and Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC) hosted the fourth annual sold-out BC Hospitality Summit at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort in Kelowna, attended by over 220 top hoteliers, liquor store and pub owners and operators, and hospitality industry vendors.
Summit is an annual forum that brings together British Columbia’s hospitality industry owners and managers who want to stay ahead of the competition, learn new skills and trends, forge profitable business relationships, and adapt to the rapidly changing business world.
Industry-driven seminar topics, speakers, and keynote presentations were added to this year’s program to offer delegates a unique, insightful, and informative conference experience. The stellar program, coupled with idyllic lakeside location created a conference to remember as delegates found time to enjoy the sunshine and get out to taste the unique wine, spirits, and food offerings of the Okanagan.
Delegates were treated to keynote talks by three world class speakers. Amber Mac lead the event off by talking frankly about the need for relentless adaptation. Channeling her extensive digital and entrepreneurial experience, Amber taught delegates how to anticipate and adapt to lightning-quick changes – from Artificial Intelligence, to social media, Amazon-era retail, and more.
Chris Malone brought his customer loyalty expertise to the Summit stage. After researching over 100 companies and brands, Chris shared his secrets for building lasting customer and employee loyalty in the digital age.
Marsha Walden, president and CEO of Destination BC, shared the role of Destination BC, why it matters for the hospitality industry, and how businesses can use tourism marketing to grow.
The program also featured 10 educational seminars developed by industry experts to delve deep into hot hospitality topics. Sessions included: 4 Digital Behaviours that Separate BC’s Most Successful Hospitality Businesses, Monitoring Customer’s Cannabis Use Without Compromising Service Quality, Tackling the Looming Room Attendant Shortage, CBRE 2019 Accommodation Outlook, Strategies for Decreasing Employee Turnover, and more.
For the first time, James Chase, president and CEO of the BCHA, joined Jeff Guignard, executive director of ABLE BC, for a joint industry update. The two covered the share concerns of BC’s hospitality industry, while also providing a deeper look at their sectors’ specific needs and the strategies each organization is implementing to address the needs of its members.
The conference closed with the widely popular BC Hospitality Industry Awards Gala. The highly anticipated winners of the 2018 BC Hospitality Industry Awards were announced. ABLE BC presented Liquor Retailer of the Year to Legacy Liquor Store and Publican of the Year to the Donnelly Group. Dave Crown received ABLE BC’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ian Powell of the Inn at Laurel Point received the Hotelier of the Year award, presented by BCHA Chairman, John Kearns. Ian Powell has not only elevated his property, but the industry as a whole as he has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout his career. Ian is unwavering in his commitment to making ours a better profession, and he is a tireless advocate for professionalism in tourism so as to gain stature for our profession in the province of British Columbia and Canada.
The BCHA Housekeeping Awards were presented in a private reception before the dinner, where the attending housekeeping teams were given the opportunity to meet Destination BC’s Marsha Walden. The teams were also acknowledged during the dinner, where their hard work in maintaining exceptional properties was highlighted by Ecolab.
Preparations have already begun for the 2020 event, and the conference team is looking forward to finalizing and announcing next year’s location.