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Markham, Ontario, November 17, 2020Maestro, hospitality’s most trusted provider of property-management systems for independent and luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups, is nearing completion of a portfolio-wide version upgrade of its latest Browser and Windows Versions. The provider offers complete flexibility to deploy it’s feature identical Browser PMS Suite of solutions either cloud-hosted, self-hosted, in your own private cloud or on-premise, and  embarked on a mission in early 2020 to ensure that its 900 hotel customers were equipped with the latest mobile and contactless software tools, as well as security enhancements to better manage the challenges they are facing entering the new year.

Maestro PMS Version 5.5 includes a curbside check-in tool utilizing mobile tablet devices to streamline registration and socially distance staff from guests, and guests from each other … a web/mobile/kiosk/iPad self check-in module with mobile key integration, express mobile check-out, electronic reg card with signature capture, mobile spa provider schedule, mobile intake and waiver forms, and eSignature document management to limit staff interaction with guests and remove high-touch physical documents … a mobile housekeeping app that protects staff by controlling the availability of rooms and setting a 48-hour time gap between the time a guest departs and the next guest arrives … mobile payment integration … mobile task management … and a Guest Engagement Measurement (GEM) tool that provides access to relevant guest feedback, intelligence and insights to encourage operational excellence, meaningful differentiation, and a sustainable competitive advantage.

“Maestro has always included FREE upgrades as part of our Diamond Plus service, but never have we launched a mass deployment in such a short amount of time,” said Warren Dehan, Maestro President. “It’s not uncommon for there to be three or four different versions of Maestro operating in the market at one time. Not everyone is eager to upgrade; they are happy with the versions they are running and if they’re happy, we’re happy. But even before COVID, we felt it was time to get everyone on the same version to make operators more competitive and meet the growing demands of today’s mobile guests. When the pandemic hit, it just pushed our efforts along. Everyone knew the low occupancy was the ideal time to get their operations in order, and that included updating their PMS’s to support travelers’ contactless demands and ensure that they were PCI and GDPR compliant.”

Dehan explained that a large-scale roll-out can be extremely challenging, encompassing many factors to be taken into consideration, including training, impact on interfaces, and ensuring that all property staff are ready for the operational improvements of the upgrade. He said all customers were eager to make the transition, and through consultation, orientation and planning, each roll out was a success.

“From our founding 43 years ago, our No. 1 goal has always been to provide solutions that make independent hoteliers’ lives easier,” Dehan said. “Our intent behind this portfolio-wide version upgrade is to ensure that our customers are safe and that they have the latest software needed to manage any challenge they will be facing in the days, weeks, even months to come. With Maestro, hoteliers get a mature and stable Browser Solution as well as the option for the Windows solution supported by a modern database, better integration to the OTAs, exceptional revenue management capabilities, and the latest touchless technologies and 3rd party integrations that will reduce or eliminate the need for physical contact between guests and staff.”

2021: The Year of PMS?

The PMSis and always will be the heartbeat of hotel data. It is where traveler information is centralized. The core system knows who guests are and what they prefer, how much they spend and where they spend it, where they stay and for how long, and what they like to do on their birthdays and anniversaries. As hoteliers prepare for recovery, they will need the most robust, feature rich and innovative PMS to support the many contactless technologies needed to maximize guest engagement when travel resumes.

“The fall season is a time of giving thanks, and we at Maestro are extremely thankful for the hundreds of independent hotel customers that rely on Maestro each day,” Dehan said. “The way we show our gratitude is through our Diamond Plus service offering, of which free complete version upgrades is just one small part. We hope that Maestro’s 24/7 call center; on demand live one-on-one training; in application instant live chat; online user guides, tutorials, direct email support; complimentary live learning webinars; e-Learning user website; and professional productivity audits also speak volumes to how much we appreciate their business — a relationship that we nurture for the long term.

“Exactly what the new year has in store for the hotel industry is uncertain, but with all the operational enhancements needed to ensure travelers that hotels are safe and ready for their return, 2021 may turn out to be the ‘Year of PMS,’” he said. “Just as we helped our customers prepare their core system for the downturn, we stand ready today to help them ramp up for the recovery that is ahead. To all, ‘thank you.’ Maestro is here for you now and always.”

 
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November 12th, 2020 – CALGARY – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Travelodge Canada is pleased to announce the opening of their newest property in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. This new location adds to the operation of more than 100 Travelodge by Wyndham and Thriftlodge branded hotels across Canada.

The Travelodge by Wyndham Trois-Rivieres will officially open its doors on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020. With their stay, guests will enjoy free Wifi, access to an onsite breakfast restaurant and an outdoor pool in the summer. The hotel features 101-guest rooms and up to eight banquet/meeting rooms that are capable of hosting 450 people.

“Travelodge Canada is pleased to announce the opening of the Travelodge by Wyndham Trois-Rivieres, which further enhances our presence within the Quebec region” said Trevor Hagel, Executive Vice President, Operations, Travelodge Canada. “This property offers guests a number of great amenities and a fantastic location close to many dining and shopping options, the University of Quebec and the scenic St. Lawrence Waterfront”.

This marks the fourth property opening of 2020 for Travelodge Canada. The Travelodge by Wyndham Regina, the Travelodge by Wyndham Miramichi and the Thriftlodge Moncton locations all announced their openings in Canada earlier this year.

 
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Toronto, November 9, 2020 – More than half of small businesses have seen their insurance premiums increase over the past 12 months, with one in six reporting an increase of 25 per cent or more, according to the latest survey results by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). CFIB is calling on the insurance industry and provincial governments to ensure small businesses have access to affordable coverage.

“Businesses can’t legally operate without insurance, but many have been priced out or are unable to find an insurer willing to cover them,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB. “It would be in everyone’s interest—business owners and insurance providers—to maintain those relationships and work together rather than shutting out a large sector of the economy from this essential service. We are pleased that the industry has tried to step up to find solutions but the situation remains dire for too many small businesses.”

Businesses in the hospitality (25 per cent), transportation (23 per cent) and agriculture (22 per cent) sectors were more likely to report a premium hike of 25 per cent or more in the past year. Nearly a tenth (9 per cent) of all businesses say they were not able to find an insurer willing to offer coverage for their business needs in the past 12 months, but that number rises to 14 per cent of hospitality businesses and 12 per cent of those in transportation.

The pandemic has exacerbated small businesses’ insurance needs: 40 per cent say COVID-19 has increased their risk of general liability. CFIB has kept governments and the insurance industry informed about the needs of small businesses and will be presenting its latest survey findings today at the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s National Commercial Insurance Task Force.

To move forward, CFIB recommends:

  • To provincial governments: Provide liability immunity during the pandemic to all businesses performing services in accordance with applicable public health guidelines while acting in good faith.
  • To the insurance industry: Adopt a moratorium on cost increases and policy cancellations during the pandemic.

“The insurance industry is willing to listen to small business owners’ concerns and are trying to provide solutions with some providers proactively offering relief measures to their clients,” added Pohlmann. “I encourage businesses to call their insurance broker and see if there is anything available for them. At the same time, CFIB will continue working to ensure fairness for those still struggling to access coverage.”

 
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MONTREAL, November 5, 2020 – W Montreal has teamed up with W Toronto, hitting the scene March 2021, to introduce W X W MEETINGS, a new way for companies to stay engaged and connected with confidence. The concept is simple: two cities, two hotels, one meeting.

W x W MEETINGS shows that no matter the current travel and meeting restrictions, businesses can still plug-in and get business done, but can also un-plug when it’s time to have fun.

The first of its kind, W x W MEETINGS give businesses the opportunity to reimagine cross-office communications allowing teams to connect simultaneously both in person and remotely. Designed with simplicity and safety in mind, a W Meeting Specialist will help planners organize, execute and host small in-person groups that are mirrored in each city. The hotel will ensure appropriate health and safety protocols and guidelines are met while bringing the spirit of in-person collaboration back to the business meeting experience.

With one single bilingual point of contact, one contract, one set of event orders, and one billing, W x W MEETINGS is a simplified multi-hotel meeting solution that makes the task attractively easy. Three packages are offered that cater to various budgets. The basic package starting at $85/pp includes a private workspace, lunch and two break snacks while the $105/pp and $130/pp formats also include breakfast options. Meeting room rental fees are included in the per person price and customizable add-ons are available based on needs. In true W Hotel fashion, a cocktail created by the Living Room Mixologist is also available at $15/person.

With the highly anticipated opening of the W Toronto slated for March 2021, teams will be able to connect with their colleagues at the W Montreal starting early next year. Furthermore, both W locations have partnered with JW Marriott Parq Vancouver to offer the experience to teams with offices on the West Coast.

“We’ve created a very unique concept to fulfill a need that COVID-19 brought upon the meeting and events community”, says Alexandre Tessier, Director of Sales and Marketing, W Montreal. “Business units are looking for alternative meeting options for small groups, while limiting travel and ensuring heightened safety measures are in place. We took the opportunity to showcase our expertise in hospitality to design a collaborative work environment that integrates digital tools. Our mission is to offer an experience that is both simple and comprehensive so that teams are not only connected, but also engaged.”

While virtual meetings from home have become the norm, the teams at W Montreal and W Toronto are confident this innovative alternative offers the “best of both worlds”, reconnecting multi-office teams and breathing new life into the virtual work experience.

 
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Winnipeg, Canada - On October 17th, during the 81st Annual General Meeting held online, Bill Rheaume, representing Canada, was elected as President of the Skål International Executive Board for 2021.

Due to the pandemic, Skål International, the world’s largest Travel and Tourism Association, held its Annual General Meeting online for the first time ever. The AGM was well attended with over 281 delegates representing over 90 countries. Canada was present with delegates representing 17 Skål Clubs in Canada. The online AGM was live streamlined on YouTube and watched by 1,266 viewers at the time of the live stream.

Mr. Rheaume has been a member of Skål International since 1992, serving as President of Skål Canada as well as President of the International Council for two years prior to being elected as a Director at the Skål World Congress in Mombasa, Kenya in 2018.

"I am excited at the prospect of leading the world's largest travel and tourism association with a very capable Executive Board. Our focus will be on increasing Global Partnerships, modernizing our governance model and providing decisive leadership for the association's and tourism's post COVID-19 recovery, we are after all Travel and Tourism Organization dedicated to promoting TRAVEL and TOURISM," said Mr. Rheaume.

President Rheaume's theme for 2021 is: "Passion for Tourism and Professional Pride for Skål".

The Skål International Executive Board consists of one President, two Vice Presidents, and three Directors representing various member countries within Skål International.

Bill Rheaume, is Director, Management Servicesfor Integrated Hospitality Management (IHM), and has been a Travel and Tourism Industry professional for over 20 years, including senior management experience at destination hotels and resorts located in the Canadian Rockies.  Bill was President of the Skål Canadian Rockies Club in 2000 and 2001.

Originally, the 2020 World Congress was scheduled to be held in Opatija Kvarner, Croatia. However, it was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The 2021 Skål International World Congress is scheduled to take place in Quebec City between October 12-17, 2021, hosted by the Skål Quebec City Club. 

Past President Skål International, Peter Morrison of New Zealand, honoured Canadian Skål members during the Annual General Assembly. Denis Smith, Skål Canada Executive Director and member of Skål Canada Winnipeg was awarded Skål’s highest recognition, the Order of Skål Merit for his contribution to the Skål global digital transformation project. Jean Francois Cote, Skål Canada’s International Councillor, member of Skål Canada Quebec City Club and Chairman of the Board, Quebec City Tourism was named Skålleague of the Year.

Skål International hosts the annual Sustainable Tourism Awards which were presented at the virtual AGA. Western University of London, Ontario was the recipient of the Sustainable Tourism Award for the Educational, Programmes and Media category.

Chris Alleyne, Associate Vice-President, Housing and Ancillary Services, and Acting Director of Hospitality Services, Western University remarked, “It is a great honour to have been selected a winner of the 2020 Skål International Sustainable Tourism Award, in the ‘Educational, Programmes and Media’ category. Western University’s vision is to provide the ‘best learning experience at a leading Canadian research university’, and we are committed to ensuring sustainability education and promotion is an integral part of our students’ daily lives. We take great pride in being recognized on the world stage, and from among so many others in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector striving to embed sustainable practices into their operations.” 

Jean Pelletier, President of Skål Canada commented, “It was a great day for Canada. We are very proud that our Skål Clubs and members across the country are recognized around the world for their contributions to the travel and tourism industry and the advancement of Skål. We are excited that Bill Rheaume is our new worldwide President for 2021. Bill will provide the leadership and passion that we will all need in this time of tourism recovery. And, we look forward to hosting the world in Quebec City in October 2021 at the Skål International Congress and “Doing business among friends”.

 

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