CHIC2023 welcomes 500+ attendees from across the North American hotel sector

The Canadian Hotel Investment Conference (CHIC) is over for another year. The annual event welcomed over 500 attendees from across Canada and the U.S. to the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto over April 18th and 19th.

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CHIC2023 was brimming with opportunities for networking, reconnection and learning through this year’s jam-packed plenary sessions such as ‘Day (and Night) Tripper’ and ‘You can’t buy me love, but you could build me a hotel’—the titles of which paid playful homage to the music of the Beatles.

Highlights from this year’s hotel investment conference and industry networking forum included:

  • Hotel transaction activity is back, with volume anticipated to reach the $2B mark in 2023:
    • No real distress as lenders, brands, managers and owners worked together to weather the unprecedented demand shock brought on by the pandemic
    • Hotel values are holding up well in relation to other commercial asset classes, creating opportunity for capital seeking to diversify its asset class to enter the hotel space which is largely viewed as an inflation-friendly investment
    • Traditional transaction activity is returning with a significant reduction in hotels being acquired for alternate use and leaving inventory
    • Coming off 2022 when three-quarters of the hotel deals done were $10M or less, investors are now refocusing on urban and legacy hotel opportunities, while still showing interest in secondary and tertiary markets for hotel assets with cogent stories
  • Record ADR growth has fuelled post-pandemic recovery:
    • Unlike past cycle downturns, ADR discounting was mitigated during the pandemic and as travel reopened, hotels were able to push ADRs to peak levels, especially with leisure demand
    • While slower rate growth is inevitable, well-maintained hotels focused on exceeding guest service expectations will be exceptionally positioned to maintain healthy average room rates going forward
    • Successful rate strategies will need to go hand-in-hand with developing a guest experience value proposition by market segment, such as creating innovative spaces conducive to remote work to court the elusive business traveller or developing experiential packages to encourage the blending of work and leisure, or simply the extension of a stay
  • New hotel development is returning, creating opportunity to elevate the hotel stock in many underserviced markets:
    • Interest rates are still somewhat of a deterrent, but this is not expected to be a long-term issue
    • Location is always most critical, followed by the right positioning of the hotel for the demand attracted to the area
  • Labour is still challenging, but the issue of sufficiently staffing your hotel with qualified team members is easing:
    • An update from the Hotel Association of Canada highlighted successful advocacy initiatives that have led to government programs to mitigate the many barriers that continue to exist for immigrants and other new entrants seeking employment in Canada’s travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors
    • Never lose sight of making real investments in your people and fuelling their personal growth
The 'A Day in the Life...' panel

Moderators and speakers:

  • Rob Kumer, president & chief investment officer, KingSett Capital
  • Brian Flood, executive vice president & practice leader, hospitality & gaming group, Canada, Cushman & Wakefield
  • Robin McLuskie, managing director | hotels, Colliers Hotels
  • Paul Morassutti, chairman, CBRE Canada
  • Tony Cohen, partner & executive vice president, Crescent Hotels & Resorts/president & CEO, Global Edge Investments (GEI)
  • Cindy Estis Green, CEO & co-founder, Kalibri Labs
  • Danièle Gadbois, vice president, global enterprise sales, CWT
  • Ally Wesson, vice president, marketing, Realstar Hospitality
  • Susie Grynol, president & CEO, Hotel Association of Canada
  • Sylvia Occhiuzzi, senior vice president, Beechwood Real Estate Advisors
  • David Donaldson, President, MasterBUILT Hotels
  • Jeff Hyslop, senior vice president, asset management & investment, InnVest Hotels
  • Farhan Kassam, president, Sterling Group Inc.
  • Sky McLean, CEO & owner, Basecamp Resorts Ltd. & Big Moose Realty
  • Lyle Hall, Hall Hospitality Advisors
  • Chip Ohlsson, EVP & chief development officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Mark Purcell, senior vice president, development, North & Central America, Accor
  • Noah Silverman, global development officer, US & Canada, Marriott International, Inc
  • Matthew Wehling, SVP development, U.S. & Canada, Hilton
  • With the keynote presentation from Neil Pasricha, “Happiness Expert” and the bestselling author of The Book of Awesome
The recipient of the CHIC Lifetime Achievement Award 2023, Deepak Ruparell

The inaugural CHIC Lifetime Achievement Award

This year’s program included the presentation of the inaugural CHIC Lifetime Achievement Award—given posthumously to Deepak Ruparell—and received by his family at the presentation.

Deepak Ruparell was an agile, reliable and brilliant colleague, mentor, friend and visionary and networker extraordinaire in Canada's hospitality industry.

This annual award is given in recognition of an individual who possesses extraordinary business acumen and has demonstrated remarkable long-term leadership success. Recipients are stakeholders who contribute to the overall vibrancy of the hotel industry as well as generous philanthropic efforts in the broader community.

The marketplace

The marketplace

In addition to the plenary sessions, networking and social events, attendees were offered a marketplace of ideas, products and services from vendors and sponsors.

STAY Magazine is the official media partner and a proud sponsor of CHIC2023.

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