TORONTO — “On Target to Achieve” was the theme of this year’s Choice Hotels Canada fall conference held from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17 in Toronto.
Tim Oldfield, managing director, Franchise Performance began the main conference session with an overview of the industry and company performance, speaking confidently of the uptick in GDP, increase in leisure and business travel and the return of U.S. visitors, which are predicted to bring higher revenues in 2015. He also shared recent data, showing 39 per cent of Canadians are actively seeking good value for their dollar and 70 per cent prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than material goods. “This is good news for the hotel business,” said Oldfield. “This value-conscious Canadian is our money pit.”
A new five-year partnership with Toronto’s Humber College School of Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism was announced. It will include internships and job recruitment at Choice Hotels Canada, student awards and integration of company case studies into the curriculum. “By bringing industry into our classrooms and by bringing our students into industry, we will deliver high-calibre people that hopefully will lead with you in the future,” said Susan Somerville, dean, School of Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism at Humber. “We know this partnership will raise the bar for education for the hospitality industry.”
Franchisees were also recognized for outstanding achievements. Awards marking development success, property excellence and fundraising efforts were presented. The winners included:
- New Build: Sleep Inn Regina East, Emerald Park, Sask.
- Economy Brand: Rodeway Inn, Schefferville, Que.
- Best New Conversion Entry, Mid-Market Brands: Quality Inn, Rouyn-Noranda, Que.
- Developer of the Year: Alain Darras, Que.
- Rookie of the Year: Quality Inn and Suites Thompson, Thompson, Man
- Best Fundraising Initiative: Comfort Inn, Newmarket, Ont.
- Special Recognition Award: Comfort Inn & Suites, Salmon Arm, B.C.
- Top Fundraising Hotel: Quality Inn North Hill, Red Deer, Alta.
Giving back to the community is a highly touted corporate value. The Choice Hotels Canada Foundation has raised approximately $200,000 for its charity partners through fundraising initiatives such as “donate a dollar day,” a golf tournament and voluntary payroll deductions. Contributions have grown significantly since the foundation’s inception — from $35,000 in 2012 to to $100,000 in 2014.
It’s been a good year. “Together, we’ve made some great progress,” said Brian Leon, managing director, Franchise Growth & Administration. “None of that would be possible without the commitment of everyone in the Choice family and for that we are truly grateful.”
The company’s core objectives moving forward will be to maintain system-wide growth, build the portfolio of Ascend-branded properties to strengthen the company’s presence in downtown urban cores and drive new build projects, as 33 per cent of growth has come from new-builds.
The Mississauga, Ont.-based Choice Hotels Canada’s 2015 fall conference will be held in Montreal from Oct. 14 to 15.