If you scratch the surface of any hotel operation, you’ll find people are its heart and soul. That’s a constant theme that surfaces in almost every discussion about the hospitality industry. Whether it’s front-of- the-house employees who interact with your customers on a daily basis, or the back-of-the-house staff who ensure that a myriad of details are taken care of simply and seamlessly, your employees are the face of your business.  Certainly, a hotel’s physical space — manifested through a luxurious lobby or a plush bedroom — attracts guests and generates that special buzz, but service excellence ensures guests feel comfortable in their surroundings, and ultimately return time and time again.  

As we proudly present this year’s collection of Pinnacle Award winners, it’s gratifying to see that theme repeat itself through each of the individual Pinnacle profiles. This year’s winners have achieved success through a combination of factors — a solid product offering, strong business acumen and sometimes for being at the right place at the right time. But unfailingly, when asked to define their success, all of them credit the people behind the brand.  

As any of these stories illustrate, success is a two-way street. Companies fortunate enough to have staff that go the extra mile are usually those who have invested an enormous amount of time and money building a strong team, guiding them to perfection and instilling in them a sense of responsibility and pride in everything they do. Empowerment — once a term bandied about loosely — is becoming a reality as an increasing number of organizations realize that engaged employees are committed to service excellence. Talk to any of this year’s winners, and you’ll see how passionate they are about people.  

That passion also resonates in many of the other stories in this issue. Whether it’s the column on Gen Y, written by Professor Jamie Gruman of the University of Guelph, or the sales and marketing story, written by Vito Curalli, on the importance of balancing technology with personalized service — it’s all about people. And it’s equally present in the story on independent hotels, which highlights the importance of being able to respond to customer demand through personalized service.

As the last issue of 2008, and on behalf of Mitch Kostuch and our team of dedicated employees, who work tirelessly to produce each of our editions, I’d like to wish our readers and advertisers a healthy, happy and magical holiday season that fulfills all your expectations and meets all of your desires. Though we live in tumultuous times, as Canadians we are among the most fortunate people on the planet. Let’s do our best to make 2009 a great year.    


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