THE WINNERS' CIRCLE update April 9, 2019

Brian Leon honoured by CFA. HNL celebrates 35 years. Fairmont Pacific Rim Botanist Bar a finalist. Fairmont YVR's Skytrax Award. AHLA Employers of Choice. IHG: LGBTQ equality. Four Seasons Empowerment. Seneca Gold recognition. Young Hoteliers Summit.


Choice Hotels Canada wins CFA Hall of Fame Award

Brian Leon, president of Choice Hotels Canada gets his award from Sherry McNeil, CFA president and CEO.

Brian Leon, president of Choice Hotels Canada gets his award from Sherry McNeil, CFA president and CEO.

TORONTO — Choice Hotels Canada has won the Canadian Franchise Association’s (CFA) 2019 Hall of Fame Award. Of the Canadian Franchise Association’s 700 cooperate members, only 32 have received this award.

The CFA Recognition Awards honour individuals and CFA member companies for outstanding achievements, philanthropic endeavours and contributions to the Canadian franchise community. Nominations are solicited from CFA members across Canada and winners are selected by committee based on merit.

From left: Brendan Gibney, senior director, Franchise Services; Vince Ambrico, director, Global Sales Canada; Sherry McNeil, president and CEO, Canadian Franchise Association; Brian Leon, president, Choice Hotels Canada; Julie Chan-McConnell, senior director, Marketing and Distribution and Noreen Schembri, VP and CFO, Choice Hotels Canada.

From left: Brendan Gibney, senior director, Franchise Services; Vince Ambrico, director, Global Sales Canada; Sherry McNeil, president and CEO, Canadian Franchise Association; Brian Leon, president, Choice Hotels Canada; Julie Chan-McConnell, senior director, Marketing and Distribution and Noreen Schembri, VP and CFO, Choice Hotels Canada.

“The CFA Recognition Awards are about celebrating individuals and companies for their extraordinary accomplishments and contributions to the franchise community,” says Sherry McNeil, CFA president and CEO. “Franchising is ultimately about people. Our prestigious CFA Recognition Awards honour each individual and company for their demonstrated commitment to growing together and for showing Canadians nationwide what the franchise model can help them achieve. We congratulate Choice Hotels Canada for its achievement.”

“For the past 25 years, our goal has been the same — to deliver exceptional value to our growing number of franchisees and to help them realize their optimal potential and performance goals,” says Brian Leon, president, Choice Hotels Canada. “As a 100-per-cent franchise-owned-and-operated organization, we’re especially honoured and delighted to dedicate this recognition to our franchisees from coast to coast.”

Celebrating 35 years of Hospitality NL

Larry Laite.

Larry Laite.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Late last month, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador published a special anniversary edition of the association’s newsletter, Tourism Times, to celebrate its 35th anniversary, which took place in 2018.

“2018 was a notable year for Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador as we celebrated 35 years of serving the provincial tourism industry,” said Larry Laite, chair for 2018-19 in his introduction to the publication. “As the voice of tourism, Hospitality NL’s work on behalf of members and the sector has played a crucial role in developing the tourism industry into the flourishing economic driver that it is today.

“Over the years, a dedicated group of Board members and staff have worked to ensure the association acts in the best interst of its members. Hospitality NL members are hard-working, passionate and innovative people who are committed to strengthening and growing tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The association would not be what it is today without the members who have been there since the beginning, and those who have joined along the way. In honour of our members — past, present and future — we are rpoud to release this special anniversary publication celebrating 35 years of working with, and for, our members to grow and develop a thriving tourism industry. … Here’s to the next 35 years!”

The publication includes historical notes, a timeline and biographies of key people who have contributed to the association. Read the publication here.

Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Botanist Bar a finalist

VANCOUVER —Botanist Bar at Fairmont Pacific Rim has been named as the North American finalist in the Lucas Bols 'BOLS AROUND THE WORLD' competition. One of six bar teams in the world competing for the first time, this global cocktail competition has shifted the criteria from individual to team submission in celebration of its 10th year.

Bar teams around the world were tasked with creating a cocktail with a unique concept and presentation, which required submission of a 1-2 minute video outlining how the cocktail and concept came to life. The Lucas Bols team narrowed down the top team finalists by region, and a final review by industry icons took place to select six bar teams around the globe to be flown to Amsterdam to compete in the grand finale in June, to include highlighting their home bar as a 'pop up' on Reguliersdwarsstraat, a popular street in Central Amsterdam known for great bars and restaurants.

The Botanist Bar team took the opportunity to create a new uniquely designed experiential cocktail, Into the Æther. This show-stopping floating libation was inspired by the fifth element of spirit, featuring Bols Genever as its base, combined with white tea, elemental vermouth, forest herbs and seawater to emphasize bold and surprising flavours. The team's collective vision brought together the elements of teamwork and team spirit with ingredients foraged through the natural surroundings of Vancouver. This cocktail will remain on the Botanist Bar list as the fifth 'from the lab' cocktail creation.

Botanist is home to the country's most unusual Cocktail Lab, a bartender's artistic studio that inspires creativity, as well as a space to prepare and experiment with ingredients to develop house-made tinctures, shrubs, syrups, and whatever else they can concoct. Its custom creation features industrial kitchen equipment to integrate a culinary-forward approach to cocktail design and development. The edgy venue inspires creative freedom and precision, granting the attention required to forge an elevated drinking experience.

The formal Botanist cocktail program is available exclusively at the bar and follows the principles of botany; Flowers + Trees, Fruits + Vegetables, Orchard + Vines, Herbs and Spice, and 'from the lab.'

Fairmont YVR best airport hotel for eighth time

VANCOUVER — For the sixth consecutive year and the eighth time in the nine years the survey has taken place, Fairmont Vancouver Airport was awarded Best Airport Hotel in North America at the 2019 Skytrax World Airport Awards held March 27, 2019 in London, England.

The World Airport Awards are the most prestigious accolades for the airport industry and based on over 13 million questionnaires completed across 100 nationalities of airline passengers at 550 airports over a six-month period. The Airport Hotel Awards rate overall hotel experience, access from the airport to hotel, friendliness of hotel staff, cleanliness, in-room amenities, fitness and spa facilities, quality of food and restaurant service, and value for money.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by this prestigious honour,” said Patrick Gosselin, general manager of Fairmont Vancouver Airport. “We celebrate our 20 anniversary this year and it’s a tribute to our colleagues who constantly strive to provide a welcoming and personalized experience for guests who stay with us.”

From the time it opened, the 386-room hotel has re-defined airport accommodation. Just 90 steps to the US Departures Level, guestrooms are triple soundproofed with floor-to-ceiling views of the airport runways, ocean and mountains. In spring of 2018, a re-designed Fairmont Gold floor was unveiled. With only 37 guestrooms, it provides the most discerning guests with a boutique hotel experience with private check-in, exclusive lounge, concierge, and luxurious accommodation with spotting scopes for plane watching.

The hotel offers day use rooms, round the clock room service, airline check-in kiosk and a pop-up coffee bar – REFUEL, that opens daily at 6:00 am. Other innovations include the introduction of Wellness Rooms with yoga mats, personal diffusers and essential oils, Families Take Flight for travelling with children, Fit on the Fly with day pass rates and Reebok workout gear for the full service gym and pool, and Airport Chauffeur service on a 6-passenger golf cart that shuttles guests from the hotel to airline check-ins.

Runway vistas along with award-winning Pacific Northwest cuisine are featured in Globe@YVR restaurant and Jetside Bar, and the hotel also boasts a full service day spa with specialty jet lag recovery treatments, health club with indoor mechanized lap pool; and state-of-the-art meeting facilities with over 8,800 square feet of space.

Employer of Choice Recipients Announced

EDMONTON — The Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has announced the 119 recipients of its Employer of Choice (EoC) designation.

Employers who achieve the designation are committed to creating safe and positive workplaces. Those who submitted applications but did not achieve the designation have taken the first step toward ensuring their property is a great place to work.

“The first step in guest satisfaction is a strong and happy team,” said Dave Kaiser, AHLA President & CEO. “Hotels that have achieved the Employer of Choice designation have shown their commitment to the well-being and satisfaction of their staff. Congratulations to each and every hotel that achieved this award!”

“When our team believes that we should receive the Employer of Choice Award, it speaks volumes of how they believe in our company and each of our team members. Thank you!” said Shona Karas, Comfort Inn & Suites Airdrie, one of the EoC designated hotels.

Hotels wishing to be considered for the designation complete an extensive audit of their HR practices, and their employees complete an employee opinion survey. Regardless of the result, every property that applies receives a comprehensive report that recognizes what they are doing well and areas for improvement. Participation in the program can only benefit a property’s HR practices, and the program supports employers in their efforts to create the best workplace possible.

This year’s Employer of Choice award recipients employ 25 per cent of people working in Alberta’s accommodation industry. The AHLA’s goal is for every member to achieve the EoC designation. This year’s outstanding employers will be recognized Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at the AHLA’s 99thAnnual Convention.

For a complete list of 2018 EoC recipients please visit

Four Seasons creates an Empowerment Fund

J. Allen Smith.

J. Allen Smith.

TORONTO — Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has created an empowerment fund at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in honour of its former CEO, J. Allen Smith.

The J. Allen and Katherine Smith/Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Empowerment Fund will provide a holistic program to support minority and first-generation students through mentoring, professional development and career guidance.

“I’m extremely grateful to Four Seasons for honoring Allen’s many contributions to the hospitality industry with the creation of this fund,” says Kate Walsh, dean and E. M. Statler professor at the School of Hotel Administration. “This generous gift will enable our students to feel supported and thrive as they prepare to become our next generation of industry leaders.”

IHG a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality

Elie Maalouf of InterContinental Hotels Group.

Elie Maalouf of InterContinental Hotels Group.

ATLANTA – IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has again been named as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality, earning a perfect 100 per cent score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for the fifth year running.

Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer, Americas, IHG, said: “As a global hospitality company, we nurture a diverse and inclusive culture, where our guests and colleagues feel respected and valued. We are proud to promote inclusion and respect in the broader business community and applaud the tireless efforts of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in LGBTQ equality.”

IHG has hotels and corporate offices in more than 100 countries and our colleagues represent multiple nationalities, cultures, religions, races, sexualities, backgrounds and beliefs. In 2018, the company became a signatory of the UN LGBTI Standards for Business, which focus on tackling discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people. They also continue to develop a culture of inclusion through key initiatives in the US and around the world.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s CEI is a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices relating to LGBTQ workplace equality in the US. This year it rated more than 900 businesses in its report, which evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBTQ community.

Seneca Global Hospitality Gold Recognition ceremony

All of those recognized at the ceremony.

All of those recognized at the ceremony.

MARKHAM, Ont. — On Wednesday, March 20, the School of Hospitality and Tourism at Seneca college held the 2019 Seneca Global Hospitality Gold Recognition Ceremony. The celebration was dedicated to honor the School’s Hospitality Industry partners who provide applied research opportunities and to recognize student achievements. The event brought together Global Hospitality Management Graduate students and alumni, Seneca executives and industry collaborators.

Seneca College President David Agnew, Vice President Academic, Laurel Schollen, Dean of Seneca Business, Mary Vaughan, and the Chair for the School of Hospitality & Tourism, Angela Zigras, all expressed their appreciation to the Industry Partners who continue to support the students through the applied research learning experiences. Due to this partnership,Global Hospitality Management Graduate students are given an opportunity to work on Applied Research Projects, which provide them with realistic expectations on what it takes to make a career in the Hospitality Industry.

Brendon Ainscow, TownPlace Suites By Marriott Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre.

Brendon Ainscow, TownPlace Suites By Marriott Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre.

The Applied Research awards were given to the following Partners:

— Armond Abitol, Holiday Inn Toronto, Yorkdale

— Brendon Ainscow,Town Place Suites By Marriott Mississauga Airport Corporate Centre

— Bai Bunpanya, Thompson Toronto Hotel

— Bennie Devasia, Embassy Suites By Hilton Toronto Airport

— Todd Finlayson, The Finlayson Hospitality Partners Inc. (McDonalds Restaurants)

— Irena Iavarova, Edward Hotel Markham

— Suzanne Marshall, Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites

— Aladdin Moussa, Holiday Inn Toronto, International Airport

— Anita Shu, Concord Hospitality

— Ash Sud & Georgia Sanderson, Hilton Toronto/Markham Conference Suites, Conference Centre & Spa

— Paul Sutton, Redwood Hotels

— Ambrish Thakkar and Harsh Thakkar, Thakkar Group – Tim Horton’s Restaurants

— James Wu, Atlific Hotels

Additionally the Global Hospitality Graduate Management students were recognized for their achievements through the following certificates

The Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) and the Guest Service Gold Student Certificate

The chair for the School of Hospitality & Tourism, Angela Zigras, announced that this year, a team of Global Hospitality Graduate Management students would be competing in the 2019 STR Asia Pacific Student Market Study Competition. The team will be contesting against 19 other teams from 11 Countries and 4 Continents. The competition will take place on Tuesday, May 21st 2019, at Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management.

— Contributed by Angelina Malik, Seneca

Canadian schools at the Young Hotelliers Summit

From left to right: Ryan Fayle (Ryerson University), Ariane Aguiluz (Ryerson),

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