The Four Points by Sheraton Lévis Convention Centre, Quebec City
These are heady days for Quebec hoteliers. As Canada’s French capital celebrates its momentous 400th anniversary, the city is awash in revelry, and business is booming. For Michel Douville, who has never strayed far from his Quebec roots, the celebrations are even more significant. The GM of the newly opened Four Points by Sheraton Lévis Convention Centre, has been working tirelessly for the past year taking care of myriad details to ensure the city’s fledgling hotel succeeds in attracting guests and keeps hotel staff focused and happy.
A native of the old walled city, the 60-year old Douville took a circuitous route to arrive at the top of the hotel industry, initially working as a computer analyst at the iconic Château Frontenac. “The hotel industry seduced me and I decided to make a career in hotels,” says Douville, a graduate of L’Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec, which he attended while working at the Château Frontenac in various positions. “My first hotel job was as a room clerk at the front desk. What I enjoyed the most was interacting with the public.”
This past July, Douville opened the spanking new 150-room property amidst much hype. One of his first functions involved reproducing the live Paul McCartney show on giant screens in the hotel’s parking lot, drawing 50,000 people. “This complex is unique,” explains Douville. “It’s connected to the convention centre of Lévis facing Old Québec with 15,000 square feet of premium meeting and banquet space and a 335-seat restaurant called Cosmos Cafe.” The hotel’s location, which faces the old city and is conveniently located five minutes from the Lévis ferry, makes it an ideal destination for leisure travellers. “Our view of Quebec City from across the river is unparalleled,” boasts Douville. To ensure guests feel comfortable from the moment they walk into the lobby, the hotel offers fresh pie and coffee throughout the day. It also features a family room area, where guests can kick back and relax, work on laptops or chat with fellow travellers.
With 200 employees under his charge, Douville leads by example, motivating and encouraging staff to perform duties with pleasure. “Finding adequate and motivated personnel is my biggest challenge,” he says, adding he works hard to ensure employees are happy in their environment. “If they’re happy, they’ll communicate this attitude to our guests.”
Douville prides himself on his positive attitude and on being a good listener, which helps draw staff to him. “I reduce my stress by delegating to department heads and giving employees latitude as to actions to be taken.” To keep his body in shape and his mind focused, Douville enjoys jogging, exercising, playing tennis and skiing.
The hotel has only been open for a few months but the ambitious Douville is already mapping out expansion plans. He’s looking to add an additional 50 rooms and 15,000 square feet in meeting and banquet space over the next three years. But while he’s anxious to keep growing the property’s size, he also knows what truly differentiates a hotel from its competition is its heart, and that staff and the attitude they convey to guests, is what keeps it beating strongly.