VANCOUVER — Jon Zwickel, who recently resigned as president and CEO of the Canadian Vacation Ownership Association, has turned his attention to several projects through his company, InnVentures.
At the recent Western Canadian Lodging Conference, Zwickel told CLN that he enjoyed his six years at the helm of the CVOA, that it provided an introduction to the world of timeshare and fractional resorts. “I didn't have any timeshare knowledge,” he said. “I stabilized the association, and it was time to hand it over to someone else.
“InnVentures is a hospitality advisory services company,” he said. “It's the kind of work I enjoy the most, resort development and boutique hotel development. It's important to me that the project is highly experiential. I jokingly say that if a developer calls and wants me to do a Holiday Inn Express on the Trans Canada Highway — I'll help them find someone else to do it.”
Zwickel is interested in projects both urban and remote — ones that create a memorable experience for the guest. “I enjoy creating those kinds of projects.”
At press time, Zwickel was working with a couple of current clients who “own great pieces of dirt, but need assistance in realizing the potential.” He can provide architecture, interior design, graphics, branding, a flag, and sometimes third party management. “At this stage, the day the hotel opens is the day I like to be finished,” he said.
InnVentures can also provide transition work, assisting offshore buyers who are first-time Canadian hotel owners by protecting their legal, financial and brand interests.
“I coined the name InnVentures in 1970, when I lived in New York, and it's stuck with me,” Zwickel said. “I feel like I have a unique skill set, with experience in finance, acquisition and disposal and franchise agreements, development, living through an IPO, and working with First Nations bands and in third world countries.”
Two notable projects with First Nations groups include Skwachàys Lodge, an extraordinary boutique hotel located in downtown Vancouver and Canada’s first Indigenous arts hotel; and Spirit Ridge, a luxury resort located on land that is sacred to the Osoyoos Indian Band, now part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt.