Michael Beckley named HAC Lifetime Achiever

Michael Beckley thanks HAC for his Life Membership.

Michael Beckley thanks HAC for his Life Membership.

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TORONTO — The Hotel Association of Canada honoured a true industry icon, Michael Beckley, senior vice-president, Lodging Development, Marriott Hotels & Resorts Canada with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual conference on Feb. 3.

HAC chair Philippe Gadbois, senior vice-president, operations for Atlific Hotels, noted that Beckley has worked in the hotel industry for over 50 years, globally, in 10 hotels in seven

“In 1961,
at the tender age of 19, he graduated from Westminster Hotel School in London
and spent the next five years working in departmental and junior management
positions in Europe before moving to Bermuda in 1966 to take a manager’s
position at a luxury resort in Bermuda,” Gadbois said. Beckley's first positions in the
hotel industry were
as a management trainee for British Transport Hotels, in the UK as a cook, in France as a waiter, and in Germany as a
receptionist night auditor.

“If you
have had the pleasure of spending time with Michael, you know he has many
stories to share over a glass of Mount Gay Rum & Soda,” Gadbois noted. “Over the
course of his career, he has opened six hotels, renovated eight properties, removed three
dead bodies and NEVER taken a sick day.

“Some of his
famous hotel guests were Princess Margaret, Omar Sharif, Julie Andrews, Anthony Quayle, Fidel Castro,  and Xaviera Hollander (The Happy Hooker) — not
necessarily in that order,” Gadbois said.

Under Beckley’s leadership, Marriott Hotels
of Canada has more than tripled in size to 124 properties including the recent acquisition of Delta Hotels
and Resorts, with another 20
openings expected this year.

In addition to
his professional career, he has held a number of voluntary positions in industry associations and the Canadian Tourism sector including chairman of Experience Canada, the precursor to the Canadian Tourism
Commission, chairman of Ontario’s Tourism Strategy, chairman George Brown
College fundraising campaign and member of the Advisory Board to Guelph
University’s Hospitality and Tourism Program.

“Michael, it is
with pleasure …  and with great respect …  and all good wishes
— for a bright future filled with the wonderful memories of the industry you have
served — that we honour you today with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the
Hotel Association of Canada,” Gadbois said.

Upon receiving the award, Beckley said that it is not the first time he has tried to retire — last time Bill Marriott Jr., who turns 83 in March, talked him out of it, saying he was too young to retire at 70.

“I have a lasting respect for the hospitality industry which will remain as strong as ever,” he added.