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WASHINGTON (November 18, 2020)With a resurgence of COVID-19 and renewed travel restrictions enacted in many states, a new survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members shows that the hotel industry will continue to face devastation and significant job loss without additional relief from Congress.

Seven in ten hoteliers (71%) said they won’t make it another six months without further federal assistance given current and projected travel demand, and 77% of hotels report they will be forced to lay off more workers. Without further government assistance (i.e. second PPP loan, expansion of Main Street Lending Program), nearly half (47%) of respondents indicated they would be forced to close hotels. More than one-third of hotels will be facing bankruptcy or be forced to sell by the end of 2020.

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, urged Congress to move quickly during the lame duck session to pass additional relief measures.


“Every hour Congress doesn’t act hotels lose 400 jobs. As devastated industries like ours desperately wait for Congress to come together to pass another round of COVID-19 relief legislation, hotels continue to face record devastation. Without action from Congress, half of U.S. hotels could close with massive layoffs in the next six months,” said Rogers.

 

“With a significant drop in travel demand and seven in 10 Americans not expected to travel over the holidays, hotels will face a difficult winter. We need Congress to prioritize the industries and employees most affected by the crisis. A relief bill would be a critical lifeline for our industry to help us retain and rehire the people who power our industry, our communities and our economy.”

AHLA conducted the survey of hotel industry owners, operators, and employees from November 10-13, 2020, with more than 1,200 respondents. Key findings include the following:

  • More than 2/3 of hotels (71%) report that they will only be able to last six more months at current projected revenue and occupancy levels absent any further relief, with one-third (34%) saying they can only last between one to three more months
  • 63% of hotels have less than half of their typical, pre-crisis staff working full time
  • 82% of hotel owners say they have been unable to obtain additional debt relief, such as forbearance, from their lenders beyond the end of this year
  • 59% of hotel owners said that they are in danger of foreclosure by their commercial real estate debt lenders due to COVID-19, a 10% increase since September
  • 52% of respondents stated their hotel(s) will close without additional aid
  • 98% of hoteliers would apply for and utilize a second draw Paycheck Protection Program loan

The hotel industry was the first impacted by the pandemic and will be one of the last to recover. Hotels are still struggling to keep their doors open and unable to rehire all their staff due to the historic drop in travel demand. According to STR, nationwide hotel occupancy was 44.2% for the week ending November 7, compared to 68.2% the same week last year. Occupancy in urban markets is just 34.6%, down from 79.6% one year ago.

A recent national consumer surveycommissioned by AHLA shows that many Americans are not expected to travel this holiday season. Seventy-two percent (72%) of Americans said they were unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving and 69% were unlikely to travel for Christmas. Meanwhile, business and group travel are not expected to return to peak 2019 levels until 2023, compounding the challenges for the hotel industry during this public health crisis.

 
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Haliburton, Ontario (November 17, 2020) – Choice Hotels Canada is thrilled to announce that the Pinestone Resort, a rustic lodge and conference centre in the Haliburton Highlands, has joined the Ascend Hotel Collection®. The fast-growing Ascend Hotel Collection is a network of upscale resorts, historic properties and boutique hotels that offer guests a uniquely local experience. This architectural gem, with upcoming renovation and design by Chamberlain Architects, was conceived with its natural surroundings in mind, making it casually elegant and welcoming.

We are delighted to have such a beautiful hotel and talented owners, the Aurora Group, join the Ascend Hotel Collection,” says Rob Alldred, Director of Membership Development, Ascend Hotel Collection at Choice Hotels Canada. “It is a truly special experience as a retreat in the heart of cottage country.”

The Aurora Group is a family-owned company with extensive experience in hospitality and management. The company has grown rapidly over the past few years and is actively engaged in new project development in North America. 

This full-service hotel and conference centre offers meeting and event space, a golf course, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a spa. The resort is set on 160 acres of beautiful country landscapes in the Haliburton Highlands. The hotel consists of 102 rooms, suites, and chalets. The owners will be renovating the hotel over the next couple of years. 

Planned renovations are in keeping with the architectural elements and exposing natural features, with a focus on the interior public spaces. The choice of textures such as exposed wood, stone and brick will add character to all the spaces, and the natural colour palate will create an appearance of warmth to the overall aesthetic.

The Haliburton Highlands is a county in Central Ontario, known as a tourist and cottage area. The lakes and rivers in the area dominate, but there is also a thriving arts and cultural scene. In the summer, visitors can hike around the lakes, go fishing, golfing, take an ATV or go riding on horseback around trails in the area. During the winter months, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and snowmobiling are popular.

                               

Haliburton is about a three hour drive from Ottawa and two hours from Toronto. The Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Park is also a nearby tourist attraction.  There is a thriving local trade in arts, crafts and antiques, and cinema fans will love the annual Haliburton International Film Festival each summer.

 
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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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