TORONTO — The Avendra Supplier Show recently took place in Toronto at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel.
The eighth-annual edition of the vendor marketplace featured a total of 175 suppliers, many of who travelled to Toronto from the U.S. and eastern Canada to show their wares. The show attracted more 1,800 attendees who came to sample new products, kick the tires and have a chance to connect with suppliers.
According to Wolfram Schafer, president, Avendra, “The Avendra Canada Supplier Show is an excellent forum for customers to meet a large group of our supplier partners in a short period of time (the show runs only one day). It is a very efficient way to learn about the latest products and services and to make connections that can help improve our customers’ operations. The show keeps growing every year and is certainly an annual highlight for Canadian hoteliers.”
The Rockville, Md.-based procurement company, which last year purchased Aramark, was formed in 2001 when three hotel operators — Fairmont, Marriott and Hyatt — started the company as a way to streamline and simplify the purchasing function. The annual marketplace rotates between Toronto and Montreal and is held annually in July. Even though the summer period tends to be slower, with many people on vacation, the show still manages to grow its attendance, as well as booth representation.
According to Afsar Khan, director, Customer Care, the reason the show has maintained and grown its popularity, is its ability to meet customers’ needs and bring operators and suppliers together. “This year’s event has been our most successful and biggest show yet. Our customers — representing hoteliers from the west coast to the Atlantic coast — attended to learn the latest trends directly from our suppliers, while catching up with their peers from across the industry. It is these key relationship-building opportunities that draw more and more participants each year,” says Khan.
The majority of the products displayed at the show are produced in Canada, although this year, there were a greater number of American suppliers who attended. “U.S. participation went up by four per cent from last year’s show,” said Khan, adding that 72 per cent of the vendors were from Canada, 23 per cent were from the U.S. and five per cent came from Europe.
For many hotel operators, the appeal of the show is the fact that it’s a one-stop venue in which to see the latest trends and meet and talk to suppliers. According to Carmen Villarin, president, CK Atlantis, “This year, I went because One King West wanted to change from down to hypo-allergenic duvets, so I wanted to meet the suppliers to ask them what the hotels were buying. I also wanted to know what was out there in terms of quality. It’s a one-stop shop that lets us learn the latest trends. For me, it is big time saver.” Villarin adds that there’s also “the perk of seeing friends in the industry and catching up.”
For Brenda Rodricks, general manager of the Montreal Airport Marriott Airport In-Terminal Hotel, attending the show allows her to “stay ahead of the curve. We are always looking for the latest in equipment — in particular, but not restricted to food and beverage. Attendance at the show helps us with our budgeting process, which starts in August for the upcoming year.” Rodricks also enjoys the “networking opportunities and the ability to share best practices and opinions on trends and operational issues. “The show is well organized and Avendra makes it affordable for hotels to bring operational teams so that decisions can be made quickly and effectively in terms of purchasing.”
Next year’s show will be held at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth in Montreal.