The science of TrevPAR and the art of Canadian hospitality

DOLLARS & SENSE with Janak Bhawnani, Chief Hospitality Officer of the Easton’s Group, from our WINTER 2024 issue of STAY Magazine.

Eastons group of hotels cover copy

JANAK BHAWNANI HAS BEEN IN HOSPITALITY SINCE HIS DAYS AS A HOTEL PORTER IN THE EARLY 1980S. What drew him to the industry in the first place is the same thing that has kept him here for the last four decades: “At the heart of hospitality,” he says, “is human interaction.”

Bhawnani is a people person. While he started his hospitality journey in the hotel business, he’s now in the business of hotels.

“The two are symbiotic,” he explains.

He was schooled in Switzerland at the École Hôtelière Les Roches—at that time, the school was only a couple of years old, but it is now one of the most well-known hospitality schools in the world. He trained at hotels in Switzerland and France before arriving in Montreal in 1989. He quickly became—at just twenty-six years old—one of the youngest food and beverage directors in the city, working at the Holiday Inn Select in downtown Montreal. In 1996, he moved with his family to the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), where he’s been making waves ever since.

Bhawnani’s resume reads like a list of his impressive accomplishments: He was responsible for conceptualizing and opening the Canadian-themed fine dining restaurant Tundra with Hilton Toronto Downtown. When working with the Marriott Toronto City Centre, he took their food and beverage team from the bottom of North American Marriott rankings to the top ten within a three-year period.

He is a champion of sustainability, lifelong learning, and ethical practices in the industry.

He recently celebrated his promotion to chief hospitality officer of the Easton’s Group, overseeing a portfolio of more than twenty hotels across Ontario and Quebec. Central to the role is financial planning and revenue estimates. Bhawnani says he enjoys the numbers side of things just as much as the human element and is excited about revenue management technologies he sees upcoming in the field.

His interest in the bottom line involves extensive use of the KPI (key performance indicator) known as RevPAR (revenue per available room) and the more exhaustive TrevPAR (total revenue per available room), calculated as total hotel revenue divided by total available rooms. TrevPAR takes into account all avenues of income a hotel can have—food, parking, rental space, and more. Bhawnani feels TrevPAR is a grossly underused metric in the industry.

“I just don’t hear people talking about it,” he says, “You have to look at TrevPAR, otherwise you’re missing the big picture.”

While some hotels don’t need to consider TrevPAR when assessing profitability—for hotels that do not offer paid services in addition to rooms the statistic will be irrelevant—for many others, ignoring TrevPAR in favour of RevPAR leaves out much, maybe even most, of the financial perspective.

For someone like Bhawnani, immersed in the business of hotels, meticulous attention to the data is a necessity. Reliably calculating revenue streams has never been more critical, in a time of economic recovery from the pandemic, and challenges for the industry. Bhawnani sees staffing as the biggest obstacle hospitality is facing.

Janak Bhawnani

“Young people don’t see hospitality as a career,” he explains. “They spend a couple of years [in the industry], then they move on. You have to talk to them about the industry, tell them about opportunities for growth.” He also feels the industry has to move with the times, offering the flexibility that young workers are looking for.

He’s optimistic, though, about the future of hospitality in Canada, and is enthusiastic about the future of hotels in the GTA in particular. When asked where he would open a hotel, if he could choose anywhere in Canada, he replies without hesitation: “Toronto. The GTA is where it’s at.”

Bhawnani was inducted into the Ontario Hostelry Institute’s (OHI) Hall of Fame in September 2023 for his outstanding contributions to the hospitality industry. He has lived by and crafted a career around his personal maxim: “Success is a journey, not a destination.” His passion for hospitality is infectious, imbued in his every word.

If he could speak to that porter in 1982, just getting started in this exciting world of hotels, as well as a worker now, poised to join the industry, what would he tell them? He pauses for just a moment before giving his answer: “Learn everything,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to move. Remember what this business is all about and you’ll rise to the top.”

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