KEY TAKEAWAYS: Hotel Capital Connection 2024 (HCC)

Hotel Capital Connection 2024 (HCC) was held at The Westin Toronto Airport on February 1st. The annual summit brings hotel owners together to network and hear from lawyers and lenders through a series of discussions focused on the economic factors affecting financial viability, operating costs and refinancing concerns.

STAY Magazine is the official media sponsor of HCC2024.


Hotel Capital Connection 2024 (HCC), in association with The Economic Club of Canada, was held at The Westin Toronto Airport on February 1st. The annual summit brings hotel owners together to network and hear from lawyers and lenders through a series of discussions focused on the economic factors affecting financial viability, operating costs and refinancing concerns.

This year, owners, CFOs, lenders and legal minds alike engaged in vigorous conversations about the big wins of the last year, the challenges we’re facing as an industry, particularly around labour, and strategic decisions being made around these variables.

HCC 2024 touched on several key areas, including the impact of fluctuating interest rates, labour negotiations and shortages, operational pressures, and the overarching theme of adapting to post-pandemic, possibly permanent new-normal market conditions.

Interest rates: Participants acknowledged the cyclical nature and varying impact of interest rates on investment strategies. It was noted that while short-term investors might find current interest rate volatility alarming, long-term investors view these fluctuations as part of the broader economic cycle, with less immediate impact on their long-term return expectations. The discussion also covered the nuanced refinancing risks associated with interest rate increases, particularly for properties with impending debt maturities.

Labour shortages and the complexity of labour negotiations, especially with unionized staff, were highlighted as significant operational challenges. The conversation touched on the strategic difficulties in negotiating with unions and the operational impact of labour disputes on hotel management and guest services. Strategies for maintaining workforce stability and the fair treatment and engagement of all employees were also discussed, emphasizing the importance of people management in this labour-heavy industry.

Operational pressures, including the imperative to deliver exceptional guest experiences despite rising costs and labour shortages, were a significant concern. Speakers discussed strategies to manage these challenges, focusing on revenue management, cost control measures, and innovative approaches to maintain service quality. Experts highlighted the importance of adapting to changing guest expectations post-COVID-19, with an emphasis on value proposition and service delivery, which was a recurring theme.

The discussion further delved into financial strategies to mitigate the impact of rising interest rates and capital costs. Creative financing solutions, such as re-evaluating the capital stack and incorporating preferred equity components, were suggested as means to navigate tighter lending criteria and facilitate continued investment and growth. The need for strong banking relationships and strategic debt management to support refinancing and capital restructuring efforts was also underscored.

Finally, the panel addressed the importance of cybersecurity, benefits management, and insurance as critical operational considerations. In an era where cyber threats are increasingly prevalent, maintaining robust cybersecurity measures was identified as a top priority to protect business operations and guest data.

HCC 2024 provided a comprehensive overview of the current challenges and strategic considerations in the hotel and investment sector. The dialogue emphasized the importance of flexibility, strategic financial planning, effective people management, and operational efficiency as key to navigating the complex, post-pandemic market landscape; while also providing an invaluable opportunity for attendees to network and learn from prominent industry leaders.


HCC represents an exclusive opportunity for members of the Canadian hotel industry to network and learn. This would not be possible without the stellar lineup of experts willing to share their knowledge and insights.

This year’s conference included the following esteemed MODERATORS & PANELISTS:

  • Jason Arbuck, Partner & Co-Chair of the Hospitality Group, Cassels
  • Derek Dermott, Managing Director, Real Estate Investment Banking, TD Securities
  • Jeff Hyslop, Senior Vice President, Asset Management & Investments, InnVest Hotels
  • Zach Pendley, Real Estate and Hospitality Transactions and Valuations Lead, EY Canada
  • Ihsain Chahim, Vice President, Financing & Consulting, BDC
  • Roy Dias, Head, Media, Emerging Industries & Business Properties Finance, BMO Commercial Bank
  • Carl Gomez, Chief Economist & Head Market Analytics, CoStar Group
  • Sameer Gulamani, Managing Director & General Counsel, Bayview Group
  • Gaurav Gupta, President & CEO, Artifact Group
  • Mark Kay, Principal Broker & President, CFO Capital
  • Ed Khediguian, Senior Vice President, Franchise Finance, CWB
  • George Kosziwka, Chief Strategy Officer, InnVest Hotels
  • Nigel Lucas, Executive Vice President, Franchising & Development, Superior Lodging Corp.
  • Ryan McRae, Senior Vice President - Business Development, Hotel Equities
  • Chantal Nappert, Chief Financial Officer, Pomeroy Lodging Group
  • Joshua Sonshine, Senior Vice President, Debt & Structured Finance, CBRE
  • Karen Tam, Chief Financial Officer, Choice Hotels Canada
  • Phil Thompson, Transaction Lawyer, General Counsel, Thompson Transaction Law
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