Patrick Regina has a special attachment to the Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites Conference Centre & Spa in Markham, Ont. “I spent my wedding night in one of its lovely suites some 20-plus years ago, and, while I was managing a smaller property back then, I remember saying to my wife as we were checking out that, one day, I would like to return to this incredible property as GM.” Fast-forward to today, and Regina is at the helm of the 502-suite Markham landmark.
The graduate of the University of Guelph’s Hotel and Food Administration program in Ontario got his start at McDonald’s, before moving to hotels, where his first job was at Misty’s nightclub at the Toronto Airport Hilton. “Eventually I was exposed to the hotel’s management trainee program, which allowed me to become familiar with all the respective departments and created a strong foundation for my career.”
The native of Venezuela oversees more than 450 associates, priding himself on a collaborative, hands-on leadership style. “My door is always open. I try to inspire the uninspired and am always ready to take on a challenge. I’m strategic in thinking and outlook but keenly aware that successful implementation and execution is what counts.”
With today’s competitive operating environment, Regina focuses on identifying new revenue streams and increasing operational efficiencies. “Costs have increased and are set to continue increasing during the upcoming years; depending on location, ADRs are not necessarily keeping pace,” he says. “Coupled with sluggish demand growth, it’s placing a significant amount of pressure on trying to achieve targeted results and a respectable Y-O-Y growth.”
The last year has been hectic but rewarding for the hotelier. “We just completed $15 million in renovations and have re-energized the property from top to bottom. Phase one was completed in 2013 and saw the addition of a Hilton HHonors Executive Lounge, a beautiful renovation of our restaurant; the relocation and rebranding of our Absolute Lounge to the main lobby; and the opening of the first Canadian Eforea: Spa at Hilton. Phase two included additional public areas and most of our 45,000 sq. ft. of meeting space; and we’ve just wrapped up phase three.”To cater to extended-stay guests, the hotel recently opened 99 new residential luxury suites featuring fully equipped galley kitchens, spacious living areas and spa-inspired en suites.
To top it off, the hotel staff marked the property’s transformation — which coincided with its 25th anniversary — by throwing a blow-out party. Such celebration comes thanks to the hotel team’s service, value and people. “The real competitive advantage comes from consistently delivering uncompromising levels of service. That’s what differentiates us from the rest of the pack,” Regina says.