More than 181 vendors from across North America (Canada, U.S.A, Mexico) and Europe converged on the Westin Harbour Castle July 18 for the ninth-annual Avendra/Aramark supplier show.
This year’s edition attracted 718 customers from both Canada and the U.S. who were personally invited to attend the day-long supplier show, with attendees representing key decision-makers from the major hotel groups.
Once again, this year, a huge focus of the show was suppliers promoting sustainability and local products, which has been a consistent theme for the past few years. According to Afsar Khan, director of Customer Care, Canada, Avendra, many of the vendors also represented women-owned businesses and native and LGBT-community-owned enterprises.
This year’s show kicked off with a VIP cocktail reception and dinner the night before attended by some of the industry’s leading executives, including Don Cleary, president of Marriott Canada, as well as a collection of GMs, many of whom travelled from out of town to attend the show.
For Jeff Berman, president of Chef Works, one of the industry’s leading uniform companies and a long-time exhibitor, “This show is key, as it allows us the opportunity to touch base and chat with many of the senior players at the various properties, that often are not around for the sales-team members to engage with. These GMs and other key staff are busy with running the day-to-day of their respective hotel properties, so being able to engage with them in this type of environment and show them some of the garments we’ve not had the chance to previously is also key.”
Additionally, says Berman, “it allows me the time to have one-on-ones with these individuals and to understand what we’re doing well, where we may be having issues and what needs my urgent attention.
It often sets the tone for the next year, especially when some of the hotels are looking at undertaking major renovations and we’re brought in from the start of the process.”
At the end of the day, says Berman, “We’re very grateful that we have the opportunity to engage with as many of our customers and partners under one roof.”
While attendees appreciate having myriad suppliers under one roof, giving them the opportunity to source new products, learn about the latest trends directly from suppliers and sample foodstuffs, exhibitors also appreciate the affordability of participating in this show. As Khan explains, “It’s the most inexpensive supplier tradeshows in the world and suppliers appreciate it.”