Innsights

WCLC2021: In‑person, insightful, full of energy and optimism

The Western Canadian Lodging Conference, better known as WCLC, took place in person on November 15 and 16 at the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver.

WCLC945 1

The Western Canadian Lodging Conference, better known as WCLC, took place in person on November 15 and 16 at the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver. The annual event by Big Picture Conferences was sold out.

Guests, speakers and attendees energized the space from the opening reception through to the closing keynote speaker. At a time when the industry is tentatively emerging, there was an almost palpable sense of energy at WCLC. Our community of industry members participated in meaningful and substantial panels; we learned from some of Canada’s most intelligent experts in the hotel sector, and we enthusiastically took part in much-needed networking opportunities.

PROGRAM RECAP

Opening Remarks were given by Ingrid Jarrett of the British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA)

Session:
West Side Stories

With Carrie Russell of HVS and Greg Kwong of CBRE Hotels

This session provided data and analysis around the struggles, successes and disruptions of the last 20 months. The markets are beginning to show signs of stabilizing and in some cases signals of growth. Russell and Kwong provided invaluable expertise about the operating and investment side of the hotel and resort industries the potentialities of the recovery.

Session:
Chain Reaction

With Joe Baker of STAY Magazine, Gandeephan Ganeshalingam of WestJet, Robert Pratt of Sandman Hotel Group and Sutton Place Hotels, and Martin Stitt of Hotel Equities

This session was a productive and active discussion that considered the industry from a big-picture viewpoint today. Looking at the industry in retrospect, we took for granted the relative predictability of our business during normal times.”

Now, supplies, staff, the supply chain, the markets have all been disrupted in an unprecedented manner. Geopolitical pressures affecting the travel industry continue to hamper the recovery.

While the supply chain’s weak links were all-too-readily found, on the recovery side of the pandemic, we have learned and adapted to the disruptions in remarkable fashion. We’ve learned vital lessons that, if put into real action, will bolster our industry’s supply chain and human resources, reinforcing our strengths and allowing us to adapt collectively into better, more sustainable and robust businesses.

Session:
In Debt and Equity We Trust

With Aaron Bowler of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Cameron Woof of CWB Franchise Finance, Nicole Nguyen of CBRE Hotels, Jiri Rumlena of SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts, and Jeff Hyslop of InnVest Hotels

This session presented key insights into the future for industry stakeholders, whether on the operations or the ownership side. As we move into 2022, what are lenders, partners and brands saying? Who wants their money back? Who’s staying in the deal? Refi debt, equity, sell, hold? The near future be undoubtedly replete with transactions and the effects of rebuilding all aspects of the hotel sector.

Session:
Update from Susie Grynol and the Hotel Association of Canada

Susie Grynol of Hotel Association of Canada provided important leadership considerations and advocacy from HAC. How are we advocating for stakeholders? To whom are we advocating? How do things look out of a federal election year? Out of the pandemic? The answers are complex and advocacy vital to our survival.

Session:
The Long and Winding Road — Secondary and tertiary markets revealed

With Ryan Laurie of Pomeroy Lodging, Jason Wight of Icon Capital, Mike Bobbitt of Superior Lodging Corp., Jervis Rodrigues of BDO Canada LLP, and Hamir Bansal of Colliers International Hotels.

Understanding and expertise, it’s the small things that often can make the biggest difference. Most hotel transactions take place in the smaller markets where pricing is more sensible, and the underlying real estate values don’t stretch the economics of a deal. This session explained the notion: Why small town” can mean big money!

Closing Keynote

The closing keynote speaker was Leonard Brody. He was recently named one of the top 30 management thinkers in the world. Brody is an award-winning entrepreneur, venture capitalist, bestselling author, and a two-time Emmy-nominated media visionary and his closing remarks were punctuated with both realism and inspiration.

The opportunities before us as an industry as we emerge are nothing short of extraordinary…for more information about upcoming events, please visit cdnlodg​ing​con​fer​ence​.ca