Philippe Gadbois summarizes 2012 with three simple words: “pretty damned good.”
According to the SVP of Operations at Atlific Hotels, the name of the game for a hotel-management company is growth, with existing hotels and acquiring new hotels. “We did well on both,” he says from his Toronto office.
Thirteen hotels were added to Montreal, Que.-based Atlific’s portfolio in 2012, and, with additional activity in 2013, the company now manages 58 properties (open and under development), with a total of more than 8,800 guestrooms. In 2012, revenues reached $394 million, up from $292 million in 2011 and same-store RevPAR for hotels increased 6.5 per cent on average.
In 2012, Atlific assumed a number of new management contracts with existing properties, including the Acclaim Hotel at Calgary Airport; Radisson Hotel & Suites in Fort McMurray, Alta.; Clearwater Residence Hotel – Timberlea in Fort McMurray; and the Hilton Garden Inn in West Edmonton.
But that wasn’t all, as Atlific entered the Saskatoon market with a management contract for the 250-room Saskatoon Inn and Conference Centre. And, it brought three Maritimes properties on board: The Prince George Hotel in Halifax, Cambridge Suites Hotel Halifax and Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney in Nova Scotia.
New-build properties were also added to the company portfolio, including Canada’s first Element by Westin in Vaughan, Ont., a new extended-stay, eco-friendly brand from Starwood. The 152-room property opened in June. What’s more, Atlific will manage a new Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott now under construction in Seton, Calgary; a Homewood Suites by Hilton opening this fall in Winnipeg’s Polo Park area; and a Courtyard by Marriott at Alberta’s Fort McMurray airport opening in 2014.
While Atlific saw a flurry of new management deals last year, Gadbois says the turnaround for the hotel industry has been slow. “We, as a group of hotels, are perhaps doing a little bit better than the average, but by a point or two, not by 10 points.”
Gadbois attributes Atlific’s numbers to its owner, Ocean Properties Ltd., which is very active in acquiring and developing hotels. “Our owners have confidence that we will deliver the financial results they anticipate,” he says. And, as business improves, Atlific will accelerate capital programs such as renovations, which should help generate additional cash flow.
The focus for 2013 will mirror 2012 as the team continues to bring new hotels on board. “Our management challenge is to digest growth, because it takes a little while for any property coming within our family to understand our systems and methods,” says Gadbois. “So beyond taking over the responsibility for managing hotels, our biggest single focus is finding the right people to do the right jobs and training them.”
Gadbois anticipates Atlific Hotels will push past 58 properties to manage more than 65 by next year. “Growth is good, but we need to make sure we have the appropriate resources to manage that,” he says.