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As any client with whom I have worked to provide purchasing assistance can attest, there is one issue that I have advised each to avoid in agreements. No one should sign a service or supply agreement that renews automatically, unless there is a non-restrictive short period cancellation option that can be exercised at any time. Also known as an ‘evergreen clause’ such language will extend the contract forever unless one party initiates an end or change. When considering agreements with such language it is common for many to consider only the initial term where in fact, as a practical matter, the agreement will never end unless one of the parties takes action to terminate it. Even with easy to apply termination language, there are always better options that support better partnerships.   Understanding the context of this type of renewal language and its implication, is critically important to being able to manage your business without unnecessary hindrance.

The initial term (time period) of any agreement serves typically as the most basic element of purchasing agreements and is often needed by the supplier to secure an expected amount of revenue from the relationship as the basis for any pricing and incentives provided.   Auto-renewal language isn’t always use with a specific goal to make escaping the agreement difficult.  Generally this approach makes it easy for both parties to continue to do business under the initial conditions established without having to renegotiate regularly.   This concept may be suitable for situations where regular reviews of the relationship take place between the parties, and if termination clauses allow for reasonable notice periods without restrictions on the reasoning. Unfortunately though, one result of such agreements whether intended or not, is that in the absence of a specific end date which would otherwise require a more active consideration, the relationship may receive less attention generally as it doesn’t have any critical time period for assessment. When there is a required consideration of continuing an agreement, it is natural that prior to expiration date, both parties are more apt to consider elements of the relationship and have discussions and negotiations about them, than otherwise is the case. A supplier once shared with me that their company’s active strategy was to invest the majority of any efforts with their customers only into the immediate period leading up to their agreement expiry as it was the best use of their resources. It also was when they knew the customer could most easily make a change an leave them.

More concerning than just passive ongoing agreements, are those vendors that have specific motivations and language that is designed to make it exceedingly difficult to exit even after the initial term ends and may also have restrictive approaches in exercising other options to the degree that can be considered intentionally predatory and purposely limiting.   ASome agreements go so far as to allow only a limited window of time where you can exercise termination. I have seen several those requiring you to provide written notice, no greater than 120 days prior, and no less than 90 days prior to a contract anniversary date. In this type of scenario, there is theoretically only one month of any time period to provide termination notice.  This approach is only a few steps away from being ludicrous to the point where termination could only take place if the day of the month is a odd number, on only on a rainy Tuesday. This type of approach never benefits the customer. Additionally, while some extend agreements by one year annually, others take an even more aggressive approach and state lengthy extensions on the renewal if termination is not exercised in a limited timeframe. In this scenario an operator could have as little as a single 30-day window to exercise options once every five or ten years. Imagine trying to consolidate a single corporate supply agreement from a bunch of individual location agreements, each with these types of restrictions or even keep track of relevant dates for consideration.

So, what is the best way to approach new agreements that are put forward with evergreen clauses?

  • For any new agreement where the supplier has put forward automatic renewal language, only consider accepting such if you can give a reasonable period of notice to terminate for any reason at any time after the initial term.
  • Better yet, refuse to accept this type of language without a requirement of at least minimal communication well in advance of any term ending, forcing the supplier to bring it to your attention and allowing you the opportunity to consider things. Ideally the language should require the customer’s explicit agreement to extend the term, even if handled as a simple confirmation by email. Language such as “supplier will notify customer of any term end no less that 90 days prior to expiry of the term and customer must acknowledge their agreement to continue in this agreement” will address this. This way a natural re-examination of the relationship is more likely to take place regularly.
  • Ensure anyone in your organization who might sign any sort of agreement be made aware of these requirements for the company and ensure they are policy

For existing agreements, be proactive and pre-emptive:

  • One of the most valuable exercises you can invest in to proactively manage your agreements, that can save you a great deal of money and frustration later; Review all agreements that are in place and create methods to track them. This can be done with a spreadsheet that is reviewed monthly or consider one of the many available contract management software packages that are available. It can be as simple as putting dates for each agreement in your calendar to give you advance reminder to consider upcoming contract expiry dates.
  • Identify all agreements that without intervention will automatically renew. Send each of those companies a letter providing formal notice that you will not be auto-renewing the agreement when it comes due. Clarify that this does not mean you are necessarily ending the relationship, but that your company is simply moving from a passive continuation of the relationship to one where both parties discuss such on a regular basis prior to extending it. This will prevent risk in the future to the company and puts the onus on the vendor to be responsible for the agreement continuing. It also may result in a new offer of an incentive to put an extended agreement in place.

You can be guaranteed that by taking action on automatically renewing agreements, you will enjoy improved business terms, be in a stronger negotiating position, and have better options to manage your supply decisions.   For those relationships where things are working well, it’s still worth having a review regularly, and should you wish to extend your relationship without any changes, it takes only seconds to do so with a brief email.

 
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HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee—Europe is the only world region showing increased hotel construction activity in comparison with the end of Q1 last year, according to March pipeline data from STR.

March 2021 (% changes in comparison with March 2020)

Europe

  • In Construction: 258,129 rooms (+26.9%)
  • Final Planning: 181,101 rooms (+23.7%)
  • Planning: 155,615 rooms (-8.8%)

Germany (51,785) and the U.K. (36,919) lead Europe in total rooms in construction. 

Asia Pacific

  • In Construction: 462,795 rooms (-3.4%)
  • Final Planning: 183,105 rooms (+17.5%)
  • Planning: 270,350 rooms (+4.0%)

Among countries in the region, China has the most rooms in construction (283,893), followed by Vietnam (28,657). 

Middle East & Africa

  • In Construction: 141,914 rooms (-1.9%)
  • Final Planning: 45,680 rooms (-4.8%)
  • Planning: 53,567 rooms (-29.8%)

United Arab Emirates (43,032 rooms) and Saudi Arabia (37,150 rooms) lead in construction activity. Saudi Arabia tops the world in projected hotel supply growth over the next three years.

The U.S. led the world in new hotel openings during Q1 2021, despite a year-over-year decline in construction activity. In addition to the U.S., Mexico (14,491) and Canada (8,804) have the highest number of rooms in construction in the region.

 
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It has already been a year since Covid-19 developed into a pandemic, along with its panoply of urgent measures to contain, combat and defeat the devastating effect of the virus. Confinement, curfews, travel restrictions—including the recent border closures in Europe—and frequent mandatory quarantines for international travel.

In the United States, New York City has gone dormant. The dynamism of the American megalopolis—the world's meeting point for business, art, diplomacy and tourism—has collapsed. The luckiest New Yorkers have been living in the countryside or in Florida for a year, and tourists are logically absent.

More than 67 million visitors were expected in New York in 2020. Only 23 million came, a staggering 66% drop. The impact on the hotel industry is spectacular. In September 2020, the New York Times headlined “A Complete Cleanup.” Iconic hotels have permanently closed their doors. Thousands of people lost their jobs. To get back to the numbers of 2019, we will have to wait until 2024, according to the New York tourism agency, NYC & Company.

Hospitality is one of the main collaterals and economic victims of Covid-19. The decline in clientele will continue even beyond the economic consequences of the health situation. Businesses have also realized that they can prosper with less travel. They can switch from in person meetings far away from the office into a virtual online meeting. Tourists are now more concerned about the environmental impact of short trips. While tourism is not expected to decrease, the consideration of carbon footprints of air travel may dissuade many in the future from flying around the world just for a weekend in New York. The fight against climate change should eventually lead people to travel less for short and distant tourism. 

The only alternative to this crisis is to reinvent, revitalize and reposition the entire hotel industry by offering fewer rooms and more space dedicated to activities other than lodging: relaxation (sports/spa), catering (restaurants and boutiques), work (meetings/co-working) and welcoming families (services appropriate to a family stay). The development and creation of these activities will be done in conjunction with the neighborhood or the city where the establishment is located.

The hotel will thus become a multi-purpose living space, both traditional and new, and will be able to propose synergies between all its services.

A new space layout will allow the hotel to offer:

  • Workspaces unlike the ones in a home or a meeting room in a business office. The objective is to create environments that are conducive to meeting, creativity, isolation and/or presentation. These work rooms can be rented on a one-time basis. Some of them, such as connected tables in a hallway opened on a green garden, could even be made available free of charge to guests or as a subscription for people living in the hotel's neighborhood. In order to optimize the return on investment of these spaces, the meeting rooms could even become a children's club on weekends, led by professionals, as part of a staycation offer.
  • More diversified entertainment services to welcome daytime, weekend and local vacationers. There will of course be areas for sports, swimming, yoga, meditation, connected bicycles and treadmills, and the possibility of taking group or individual classes. The hotel will offer an almost infinite list of possibilities to get together with friends or to get some fresh air: a private screening room, a cooking class, bike ride to discover the city in a different way, an art exhibition or a conference with a local author. Finally, there will be shops that meet the needs of guests and residents alike. The hotel will thus be able to create more life in the establishment and diversify its attractiveness as it is already the case with a Bakery at The Hotel in Barcelona or the Grand Hyatt in Mexico City.
  • More personalized, perhaps bigger, rooms with a more functional space for heating and preparing a meal, a more discreet desk, homier and more flexible than ever furniture and decor. The objective is to cater more to families and win back customers today seduced by community rental platforms such as Airbnb.
  • The second floor could be connected by a bright and wider staircase, lit with daylight to offer a hybrid function: suites composed of family and mini meeting rooms. The living room of the suite (equipped with a sofa bed, a table, and a micro kitchenette) can be transformed either into a living space for a family connected to one or two bedrooms, or a small meeting room for six to eight people.

Above all, let’s create products for everyone:

  • Local customers will find along with sports, swimming, cinema, shops, catering, and workspaces, a whole series of products to be consumed punctually or as a subscription. Nothing will prevent them from also choosing a hotel for a local getaway, a staycation.
  • Travelers will first look for an accommodation in a different setting, close to that of a house or an apartment, but will find within the hotel an access to entertainment, professional meetings and sales services, which will constitute a definite advantage over renting an apartment from an individual.

These two clienteles will constantly cross paths.

The hotel's sources of revenue will become even more diversified. Hotels will no longer be just a place to sleep, work, play sports, eat, and attend a conference, but will become a personal destination, a club in the heart of the city, inhabited by locals and a reflection of its environment. This upcoming hospitality industry does not break entirely away from the past. The Covid-19 is just accelerating its transformation.

 
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Seattle, Washington, March 24, 2021 - Expedia Group today released tips and insights to help lodging providers in Canada prepare for the return of travel. Following a sustained period of uncertainty for the travel and hospitality industry, market trends and recent insights from Expedia Group Media Solutions continue to indicate that travelers are anxious to get away – and the majority of those dreaming, planning or booking travel are doing so for the near future. 

Expedia Group data shows that as of March 1, 2021, the 0–21-day window accounted for more than 50% of global searches, followed by the 31-60-day window at 15%. While it’s unclear when international travel restrictions will ease, travelers are looking to stay closer to home in the short-term. In Canada, 65% of searches were domestic, compared to 35% international, a trend that has been consistent in recent weeks. 

Here are 5 tips to help lodging providers prepare for the return of travel and attract potential guests as they gear up for their next trip: 

Offer Flexibility

To help instill traveler confidence and financial peace of mind, lodging providers should clearly communicate flexibility across all channels – from websites and advertising to traveler communications and on-property. This may include offering full refunds and cancellations, or flexible reservation and date-change policies.

  • Custom research from Media Solutions found that 53% of travelers will feel more comfortable traveling if they have full cancellation and refunds on their accommodations – especially Gen Z and millennial travelers.
  • Expedia.com’s lodging data shows that travelers booked refundable rates 10% more often in 2020 than the year before. 
  • Nearly 70% of lodging rate plans on Expedia Group sites are now refundable.  

Reassure Travelers

Insights from the Media Solutions study show that lodging providers should spotlight cleaning and disinfecting protocols to reassure travelers who are looking to return to trusted accommodations post-pandemic. Highlighting information on sanitizing and disinfecting measures throughout the property and in-room can help reassure travelers who are considering a trip soon or post-pandemic, as hygiene concerns are likely to have a long-term impact. 

  • 1 in 2 travelers have avoided using chain hotels, boutique hotels and resorts during the pandemic because of cleanliness concerns. 
  • Pandemic measures will play a role in future accommodation decisions for nearly 8 in 10 travelers – regardless of age.
  • 83% of all travelers and 90% of the silent generation said it is important for accommodations to provide regular deep-cleaning and disinfecting, and 76% of all travelers would like to see a checklist outlining what has been disinfected.  

For chain hotels and resorts, messaging around reduced capacity and social distancing measures can help reassure the more than one-third of travelers who have avoided these accommodation types during the pandemic because they feel too many people are staying there. Implementing and communicating health and safety measures are a must for lodging providers, and this information should be easily accessible for guests, wherever they are searching for information or inspiration 

To help partners restore customer confidence, Expedia Group launched a feature allowing lodging partners to highlight the health and hygiene measures they are taking at their properties on amenities including contactless check-in and check-out, hand sanitizer availability, enhanced cleaning and enforcing social distancing measures, among others. 

Reviews Matter

Online reviews have long played a role in informing traveler decisions, but they will be even more important for future travel planning. According to a 2020 Expedia Group study, nearly three-quarters of travelers read reviews before booking a property and consider reviews about “room cleanliness” and “overall condition of the hotel” as the most influential. 

  • 80% of travelers believe if hotels do not respond to negative property reviews, then the review must be truthful. 
  • Looking ahead, travelers will turn to recent online reviews 41% more than pre-pandemic, while online reviews from any time will see a 15% lift.  

Lodging providers should encourage guests to leave reviews and respond to guest reviews, good and bad, ideally within 24 hours, to show guests that their opinions and suggestions for improvement matter.  

Stand Out

Travelers will increasingly turn to hotel websites, online travel agencies and travel advertising for trip planning post-pandemic, and pictures and information on these channels will be more relevant and influential in the future. As traveler demand continues to grow, lodging providers should implement a multi-channel marketing strategy to ensure their property is front and center with potential guests –wherever they are dreaming, searching or shopping – and evaluate their marketing toolkit. 

Performance marketing products, such as TravelAds Sponsored Listings, can ensure a property shows up in search results, and the flexible ad copy and custom imagery enable hotels to showcase the information that is most important to travelers today.   

Target the Right Traveler

With travel motivations and preferences varying by age, and even geography, lodging providers should develop targeted offers or promotions that appeal to different generations. Although pandemic travel has been driven by a variety of reasons – the leading ones being change of scenery or to see family or friends – advantageous travel is especially popular with younger generations and may inspire future trips. Additionally, younger generations are expected to be at the forefront of driving accommodation demand back to pre-pandemic levels, so lodging providers should consider their role in short-term marketing strategies and look at targeting other generations with longer-lead messaging or offers.  

  • 20% of millennials who traveled during the pandemic did so to take advantage of deals and savings. 
  • 15% of Gen Z traveled during the pandemic to work or study from a new location.

To reach younger generations, lodging providers should highlight special deals or discounts, or promotions tied to remote work/study programs, while family-friendly packages may appeal to the silent generation. Gen X and baby boomers may be more inspired byscenic accommodations, so visually stunning landscapes or outdoor environments should be front and center in campaigns targeting these travelers.  

For further insights on attitudes, motivations, and influences that will drive future travel decisions around the world, check out the full Traveler Sentiment & Influences research.

 
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Toronto, ON (March 25, 2021) – Choice Hotels Canada, one of the country’s largest hotel franchisors, recently announced the recipients of its prestigious Platinum and Gold Guest Satisfaction Awards. Presented annually, these awards celebrate Canadian properties for their operational excellence and dedication to superior service, which is especially significant considering the challenges the hospitality industry has faced over the past year.

“Not only have these properties demonstrated such resilience during these trying times, but they’ve risen to the occasion, continuing to provide best-in-class service and hospitality excellence,” said Brian Leon, president, Choice Hotels Canada. “We are proud to have these standout properties in our family and these awards are a testament of that hard work.”

The annual awards are based on a comprehensive ranking system that examines key performance indicators, including guest survey results. Platinum recipients represent the best of the best and are among the top three per cent of hotels in the Choice Hotels Canada portfolio of more than 330 properties, while Gold recipients are among the top four to 10 per cent.

Below is the full list of the 2021 Platinum and Gold Guest Satisfaction Award recipients.

Platinum Recipients:

Ascend Hotel Collection

Le Noranda Hotel & Spa, Rouyn-Noranda, Québec

Inn On The Lake, Fall River, Nova Scotia

Midscale Brands - Urban

Comfort Inn & Suites, Terrace, British Columbia

Quality Inn & Suites, Lévis, Québec

Quality Inn & Suites Amsterdam, Fredericton, New Brunswick

Quality Inn & Suites, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Midscale Brands - Suburban

Comfort Inn, Sturgeon Falls, Ontario

Comfort Inn, Gander, Newfoundland

Comfort Hotel Bayer’s Lake, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Comfort Inn & Suites, Campbell River, British Columbia

Quality Inn & Suites, Matane, Québec

Quality Inn & Suites, Val-d'Or, Québec

Quality Inn Airport, Dieppe, New Brunswick

Quality Inn & Suites, Mont-Joli, Québec

Quality Hotel, Clarenville, Newfoundland

Economy Brands

Econo Lodge, Fox Creek, Alberta

Econo Lodge, Taber, Alberta

Gold Recipients:

Ascend Hotel Collection

Hotel Royal William, Québec City, Québec

Midscale Brands – Urban

Comfort Inn, Windsor, Ontario

Comfort Inn Montreal Airport, Pointe Claire, Québec

Comfort Suites, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Comfort Inn & Suites, North Battleford, Saskatchewan

Quality Inn & Suites, Bathurst, New Brunswick

Midscale Brands – Suburban

Comfort Inn, Rouyn-Noranda, Québec

Comfort Inn & Suites, Red Deer, Alberta

Comfort Hotel Airport, St. John’s, Newfoundland

Comfort Inn & Suites, Medicine Hat, Alberta

Comfort Inn & Suites, Airdrie, Alberta

Comfort Inn & Suites, Virden, Manitoba

Quality Suites, Drummondville, Québec

Quality Inn & Suites Downtown, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Quality Inn & Suites, Petawawa, Ontario

Quality Inn & Suites, Estevan, Saskatchewan

Quality Inn & Suites, Victoriaville, Québec

Quality Inn, Rouyn-Noranda, Québec

Quality Inn & Suites Amsterdam, Quispamsis, New Brunswick

Sleep Inn, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Sleep Inn & Suites Québec City East, Boischatel, Québec

Sleep Inn Regina East, Emerald Park, Saskatchewan

Economy Stay Brands

Econo Lodge, Fort St. John, British Columbia

Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, St. Apollinaire, Québec

Econo Lodge, Montmagny, Québec

Rodeway Inn, Pikogan, Québec

For more information or to make a reservation at any of these award-winning hotels, visitwww.choicehotels.com.

 

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