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PLAINFIELD, IL, DECEMBER 30, 2020 -- Predicting design trends for the commercial building industry can be difficult in the most reliable of times, but following 2020, a year of widespread uncertainty, planning ahead has become more complicated than ever before.

Despite this uncertainty, Cicero Construction Group has gathered trend insights to assist building owners in their renovation planning for 2021 and beyond. While the word “trend” may imply short-lived, many of these new ideas being driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as touchless tech, in-room fitness and enhanced HVAC systems, are likely here to stay.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING: Social distancing can be facilitated by wider aisles, while multiple points of entry can help ease circulation, and higher ceilings help with ventilation, reducing the amount of shared air among occupants. Faced with the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, strategically utilizing floor and wall markers can also help direct guest flow and help guests to maintain proper distancing. 

Some offices, hotels and restaurants have gone so far as to remove furniture in lobbies to discourage groups from gathering, although this is not a viable long-term business model. A better solution might be to revamp lobbies with multiple, intimate gathering spaces where guests could socially distance with companions, instead of one large area. Rather than bulky plexiglass dividers, textural or color demarcation between areas can define lobby zones and allow people to know where they need to be, which can make them feel safer.

TOUCHLESS TECH: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in touchless automation throughout the commercial building industry. Although automatic doors have long been commonplace, in 2021 there will an increase in the use of automatic interior doors to prevent handling of doorknobs. Other touchless tech on the horizon include using mobile devices for digital concierge services, room locks, motion-activated doors, voice control commands, and virtual access to staff.

SAFER MATERIALS: Renovationsin 2021 will likely incorporate materials that inherently eliminate germs in high-traffic areas prone to exposure. Viruses may survive for up to three days on plastic or stainless-steel surfaces, yet die within four hours on copper, brass or bronze. Cork is another antibacterial material used as a material finish. Hard flooring rather than carpeting, simple bedding materials in hotels without absorptive items, anti-bacterial materials, seamless and non-porous bathroom surfaces, and limited furniture can promote a safer environment. Done correctly, simple design promotes the reset of a new aesthetic of cleanliness. 

MULTI-PURPOSE HOTEL ROOMS: In 2021 the guest room may be the most important re-imagined hotel space to consider. Guests will want to realize multiple activities within the room, such as working, eating, exercising, or gathering with business associates and family. With gyms a no-go, in-room fitness will be popular. Sanitized exercise equipment can be brought in at the request of guests, and guided workouts or yoga classes can be streamed on TVs or mobile devices.

KIOSKS: Long before the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses were implementing kiosks to provide customers with self check-in to order food, reduce wait times, pay electronically, or notify hotel when they have checked-out, all without any close physical contact. As many businesses have begun reopening, some owners are financially unable to bring back their full staff and are relying more on kiosks to facilitate operations while complying with social-distancing mandates.

AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS:
 Higher caliber air filtration systems are becoming a new health and well-being feature that tenants and guests will be willing to pay up for. In luxury hotels, for example, overhauled HVAC systems complete with HEPA or MERV 16 filters are now seen as a new hallmark for safety. Mechanical engineers will be challenged to find new ways to deliver heating and cooling that limit the amount of shared air. Buildings more than five years old should certainly consider a full review of HVAC systems. Any upgrades can pay for themselves through significant improvements in customer satisfaction.

In 2021, building owners will continue to step up to find ways to make their properties as safe as possible and welcome back customers in a post-coronavirus world. 

To learn more, please visit www.cicero-construction.com

 
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OTTAWA, ON (DECEMBER 7, 2020) – With the holidays right around the corner, Days Inn by Wyndham Ottawa Airport is calling on all travel enthusiasts to start creating memories and explore the local beauty of their own backyard.

For a limited time, purchase a hotel gift certificate valued at $159.00 for just $69.00! Now is the time to get out and explore your neighbourhood or a new part of the city with a holiday staycation. Discover the country’s best attractions, holiday-themed celebrations and local flavours in Ottawa.

Conveniently located at 366 Hunt Club Road, Days Inn by Wyndham Ottawa Airport features 81 spacious guest rooms, each appointed with flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, plush bedding, mini-fridge and microwave. Additional onsite amenities include complimentary breakfast, an indoor pool and fitness centre, along with concierge services.

To purchase a gift certificate or book your next stay, call the hotel directly at (613)739-7555.

 
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December 1, 2020 (OTTAWA) - The Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses has released the following statement in response to the Fall Economic Statement:

“We are delighted to see that the Government has heard our concerns and is providing targeted support measures for the hardest hit sectors, as outlined in the Fall Economic Statement. Businesses in the tourism, travel, hospitality, arts, festivals and events sectors are unique and remain in crisis as we continue to face necessary public health restrictions.

Proposed measures announced include:

• The creation of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) – a new program for the hardest hit businesses.

• Increasing the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75 per cent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and to extend this rate until March 13, 2021.

• Providing a top-up of up to $500 million to Regional Development Agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada. The government will earmark a minimum of 25 per cent of all the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund’s resources to support local tourism businesses, representing $500 million in program support through June 2021.

• $181.5 million in 2021-22 to the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts to expand their funding programs to support the planning and presentation of COVID-19-safe events and the arts — including both live and digital — and to provide work opportunities in these sectors.

• Working with industry to prevent the closure of unique and irreplaceable flagship
events and festivals across Canada, and to ensure the survival of key, globallyrecognized
assets in this sector.

• Extending the current subsidy rates of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for an additional three periods until March 13, 2021.

• Expanding the CEBA program to allow qualifying businesses to access an additional interest-free $20,000 loan, in situations where there is need. Half of this additional amount, up to $10,000, would be forgivable if the loan is repaid by
December 31, 2022. The deadline to apply for a CEBA loan has also been extended to March 31, 2021.

We look forward to working together with government and our champion, Minister Mélanie Joly, to ensure that the design of these programs continues to meet the needs of our sectors. This is a very good day for the industry.”

 
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November 30, 2020 (OTTAWA, ON) - The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) is applauding today’s measures announced in the Fall Economic Update, presented by the Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
“The hotel industry is one of the hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Susie Grynol, HAC President & CEO. “The government is taking action to keep our sector alive. Today’s plan will help hotels continue employing hundreds of thousands of Canadians when this crisis is over.”

Key measures include proposals to:

• Create the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) – a new program for the hardest hit businesses, including hotels. This stream would offer 100 per cent government-guaranteed financing for heavily impacted businesses, and provide low-interest loans of up to $1 million over extended terms, up to ten years.

• Increase the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75 per cent for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and to extend this rate until March 13, 2021.

• Apply the GST/HST to all platform-based short-term rental accommodation supplied in Canada.

• Extend the current subsidy rates of the Government’s fixed cost relief program, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, for an additional three periods until March 13, 2021.


“The government committed to supporting the hardest hit sectors in the Speech from the Throne and today announced support that will help hotels continue fighting for survival,” added Grynol. “These measures will address deep gaps in the programming to date, such as a functional, guaranteed debt program, an increase in the wage subsidy support and the Government has also addressed a long-standing tax fairness issue by committing to apply GST/HST to online rental platforms like Airbnb.”


“We will be working closely with the Government to ensure that these programs are rolled out quickly and that all design elements meet what’s needed to bridge our sector to recovery. This includes making the new loan program accessible on a per property basis. I had the opportunity to thank Minister Joly earlier this evening for being a true champion for our industry,” concluded Grynol.

 
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Calgary, AB – November 24, 2020 – WebRezPro cloud property management system (PMS) by World Web Technologies Inc. (WWT) is pleased to announce direct integration with leading global vacation rental distribution network BookingPal for effortless management of inventory, rates and reservations across distribution channels, saving lodging operators time and increasing property exposure.

Connecting vacation rental operators to over 40 of the most important distribution channels—including VRBO, Google Hotel Ads and Homes & Villas by Marriott—and more than 200 million monthly visitors, the BookingPal channel manager helps properties reach more guests through a single easy-to-use platform. Integration with WebRezPro automates the transfer of property and reservation data between the PMS and BookingPal, improving workflow and accuracy.

"We are thrilled about our new partnership with WebRezPro. This integration will offer connections for short-term rental managers to popular channels, including VRBO, Homes & Villas by Marriott, Google's new vacation rental program, and many more popular distribution websites. Boutique hotel operators, inns, and bed & breakfasts will now also have connectivity to channels like VRBO. Our connectivity solution is proven to drive significant revenue for our users, and we are eager to be able to partner with companies using WebRezPro," said Matt Gurley, Director of Sales & Customer Service at BookingPal.

The two-way integration imports rate and availability updates and pertinent property data from the PMS into BookingPal, and sends reservations coming through BookingPal channels directly to WebRezPro, eliminating the need for property managers to manually duplicate data between systems, and reducing double bookings. 

“Our partnership with BookingPal expands our distribution network and connects short-term rental operators to particularly relevant channels, including VRBO, the Marriott system and Google Hotel Ads, making it easier for property managers to manage online inventory across channels at a time when efficiency and visibility are key to recovery from the pandemic,” said Frank Verhagen, President at WWT.

 

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