Choice Hotels Canada 2022 APEX and Hall of Fame Award winners

The 2022 national winners of the annual Awards for Property Excellence (APEX) were recently announced at the Choice Hotels Canada conference, which took place in Niagara Falls, Ont. at the end of September.

Farhan Kassam

Choice Hotels Canada has announced the 2022 national winners of its prestigious annual Awards for Property Excellence (APEX). This year, 11 hotels and individuals across the country were recognized for performance, commitment to guest service, and operational excellence. In addition, one franchisee received the company’s Hall of Fame award – for demonstrating exemplary leadership and tireless commitment to Choice Hotels Canada and the country’s hospitality industry.

Every year, we look forward to honouring individuals for their unique contributions and recognizing standout hotel properties, all of which set the bar for hospitality high,” says Brian Leon, CEO, Choice Hotels Canada. It’s important to spotlight and celebrate industry leaders both nationally and locally in our Choice Hotels communities.”

Quality Suites, Drummondville, Que.

The 2022 national APEX winners include:

  • Highest Guest Satisfaction (Top LTR): Quality Suites, Drummondville, Que. This award recognizes the property that achieved the highest Likelihood to Recommend (LTR) score in Choice Hotels’ guest survey results over the last year.
  • Marketing Star Award: Jordan Lanthier, director of sales and marketing, Clarion Hotel & Suites, Winnipeg, Man. This award recognizes an individual who stands out from the crowd regarding local marketing. The winner works in collaboration with Choice Hotels Canada’s marketing team to leverage digital resources to enhance local marketing efforts.
  • Choice Privileges Ambassador of the Year: Nancy Tudor, general manager, Quality Inn & Suites, Lethbridge, Alta. This award recognizes a Choice Privileges Ambassador who helps to foster a strong Choice Privileges culture at the hotel and consistently motivates the on-property team.
  • Sales Excellence Award: Carla Carlson, general manager, Comfort Suites, Kelowna, B.C. This award recognizes an individual who demonstrated outstanding sales efforts by exploring and acting on local opportunities to capture incremental room nights and leverage tools and resources in collaboration with Choice’s sales team.
  • Leader of the Year Award: Dharmesh Patel, general manager, Quality Inn, Leamington, Ont. This peer-based award recognizes an individual whose achievements include outstanding operational practices and team building. 
  • Developer of the Year Award: Stephanie Giannoulis and Peter Giannoulis, owners, Halifax Tower, Hotel & Conference Centre, Ascend Hotel Collection and Comfort Hotel Bayer’s Lake, Halifax, N.S. This award recognizes a multi-unit hotel developer who has demonstrated excellence through development of hotels that are a strong representation of their brands. 
  • Renovation of the Year Award: Hotel Royal William, Ascend Hotel Collection, Québec, Que. This award recognizes achievements in outstanding on-brand renovations that drove guest satisfaction increases.
  • Best New Entry – New Build Upper Midscale/​Midscale Brands: Comfort Inn & Suites, Carleton Place, Ont.
  • Best New Entry – Conversion Upper Midscale/​Midscale Brands: Clarion Pointe Quebec Airport, Québec, Que.
  • Best New Entry – Economy Brands: Econo Lodge, Cochrane, Ont.
  • Best New Entry – Ascend Hotel Collection: Halifax Tower Hotel & Conference Centre, Ascend Hotel Collection, Halifax, N.S.

The Hall of Fame Award

This award, presented only in special circumstances, acknowledges franchisees with remarkable long-term achievements both within the Choice Hotels Canada system and the industry.

The recipients, Nina and Sam Kassam came to Canada from Tanzania in the 1970s. Although they started from humble beginnings, by the 1980s, through hard work and determination, they formed The Sterling Group. Their contribution and dedication over the years to the industry and to hospitality is recognized with the Hall of Fame award.

The family-owned company has owned and operated numerous Choice properties over the years, including six that they currently operate in Canada. Now in its second generation, Farhan Kassam is president of The Sterling Group and former chair of the Choice Hotels Canada Franchise Advisory Board (CCFAB). Natasha Kassam is CFO of the organization. 

Feature image: Farhan Kassam, president of The Sterling Group. Photo by Stacey Newman.