TORONTO — “We’re recovering, but not recovered.” Those were the sentiments of Tim Oldfield, vice-president of Choice Hotels speaking to a room of franchisees attending the company’s opening session of its annual Canadian hotel conference.
Held at the Hilton Toronto Airport, the two-day conference, which ran from Sept. 29 to 30, attracted more than 250 attendees who travelled from across Canada to network, attend educational sessions and learn more about what the Choice brand offers.
Oldfied pointed to a series of initiatives and economic indicators that show the industry is poised for a strong 2011. The initiatives he alluded to include recent ADS for Chinese travellers; the recent release of the Hotel Price Index from hotels.com, which shows that room rates in Canada are among the highest increases in the world and the rebounding growth of the TSE.
Closer to home, Oldfield pointed to a series of Choice initiatives that have been introduced during the past year. “Since our last conference, our Choice Priveleges has grown, and our portfolio has expanded by 20 hotels. We’ve also launched a new website, and we opened the first international Ascend property in Canada.”
Brian Leon, vice-president, hotel development set the stage from the hotel development side. Though the supply of hotels continues to decline, he told the audience, 20 new deals have been inked since 2009. “We have the largest development pipeline in Canada with 52 hotels coming in 2010 and another 41 in 2011; we have the ability to drive RevPAR. It’s going to be a remarkable year for us. We’ve had more growth in last year than in any other year.”
As for the future, Leon told the franchisees in the audience “we’re going to stay the course. We’re going to continue to enhance the brand. We have the right brand, in the right markets with the right people.”