TORONTO — For the past seven years, in what has become an annual tradition, the Avendra Supplier Show has been taking place in Toronto, serving as a marketplace for hoteliers and suppliers interested in purchasing new products. For the fourth-consecutive year, the gathering was held at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, where a total of 137 booths representing suppliers from both Europe and North America, exhibited a range of products and wares, attracting more than 500 clients to sample new products, test new technology, or simply network with industry associates.
Many of the companies at this year’s show focused on sustainability. As an example, with plastic water bottles now no longer in use, several companies at the show, including Quench and Bevi, displayed dispensing systems that allow customers to pour a variety of flavoured waters directly from their units. For example, the unit from Bevi (dba Hydration Labs) offers guests variety and personalization, allowing them to choose still, sparkling, hot, flavoured or enhanced water (enhancements include vitamin boost, caffeine, electrolytes and different flavours). The company’s countertop units can be used in spas, lounges or communal kitchen spaces. Other companies, such as FN Facility Network, offered up integrated services for customers looking for expert technicians, as well as dedicated Emergency Services Support, while cleaning company, Renue offered up a comprehensive range of deep restorative cleaning services for the hospitality industry, ranging from carpet cleaning to upholstery and drapery cleaning to laundry and trash chute cleaning.
Not surprisingly, among the more popular booths were those serving up food samples, with healthy products continuing to be popular. These products ranged from yogurt, to prepared charcuterie boards by Saputo to healthy prepared dips such as spinach and hummus from Summer Fresh Salads. And alternative milk products, such as oat milk and plant-based milk, as well as cold-brew coffee were popular offerings at the Danone booth. Darbo, a leading producer of jams since 1876, also highlighted its new jam-dispenser unit, the only product of its kind in the world. The dispensing unit allows customers to dispense jam, honey and hazelnut spread at hotel buffets, making for a cleaner, more seamless and less wasteful process.
As the only comprehensive supplier showcase of its kind in the country, the Avendra show has become a popular event staple in industry circles. For some, like Don Cleary, president of Marriott Hotels of Canada the show has become a highly anticipated event. “It was great to attend another successful Avendra Supplier show. The ability for our hotel teams to connect in person with so many suppliers and vendors is invaluable. The suppliers and vendors are critical partners to driving better results, services and experiences to our hotels and we all learn more about them by visiting and exploring their services at the Avendra Show.”
For others, such as Tidan Hospitality and Real Estate Group, whose executives attended the show for the first time, the gathering represented an opportunity “to gain an in-depth understanding of what Avendra and its suppliers have to offer. The results exceeded our expectations,” said Phil Guerin, vice-president and COO, Tidan Hospitality, which has 12 hotels as well as a variety of residential, commercial, industrial, and shopping centres under its portfolio. According to Guerin, “The Supplier Showcase provided us with more than just business connections; it expanded our horizons. We were introduced to a range of innovative products we were previously unaware of, broadening our perspective on how Avendra can contribute to our company’s growth and cost management.
For Afsar Khan, managing director, Client Relations Canada, Avendra, and organizer of the show, the gathering represents more than just an opportunity to see new products, but also an opportunity to come together in a social environment to golf, network and team build. To that end, this year’s show was only one part of a two-day event. Avendra has continued its tradition of thanking clients through a Client Appreciation Event the day before the supplier show. This year, more than 100 clients had the opportunity to either golf at the Royal Woodbine Country Club or swing through the trees at Treetop Trekking.