Markham, Ontario, November 17, 2020 — Maestro, 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.”


November 16, 2020 (Victoria, BC):Inn at Laurel Point is delighted to welcome acclaimed Executive Chef Ken Nakano to its renowned gastronomic team. Here, he will oversee the property’s culinary portfolio, which includes banquet cuisine, in-room dining, Grab & Go options, and the Inn’s signature restaurant, Aura Waterfront Restaurant + Patio. Chef Nakano’s arrival comes on the heels of the property’s multimillion-dollar ground floor renewal, which brought to life the vision of late Canadian architect Arthur Erickson.

A passionate advocate for sustainability, Chef Nakano’s appointment builds on traditions and philosophies central to the award-winning Inn, set against an inspiring backdrop of Victoria’s picturesque Inner Harbour. Raised in a traditional Japanese household, Chef Nakano’s mother instilled in him a deep respect for honouring the seasons, nourishing the land and harvesting responsibly – teachings he has carried throughout his career. While this influence can be experienced throughout each of the culinary touch-points in the hotel, his philosophy is especially integral to Aura, where local and seasonal ingredients take centre stage – encouraging guests to experience bold and worldly flavours through globally-inspired “small plates”.

During his 20-year culinary tenure, Chef Nakano has prioritized a farm-to-table approach, supporting local growers and producers wherever possible, and was instrumental in launching the Vancouver Aquarium’s OceanWise program on Vancouver Island. Prior to joining the team at Inn at Laurel Point, he led the kitchens of global hospitality leaders like Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver, Rosewood Hotel Georgia and Hotel Fairmont Empress. In his new role, Chef Nakano will apply his philosophy of marrying local ingredients with Asian flavours, while utilizing the Pacific Northwest’s fresh assortment of seafood and the Inn’s robust hotel garden.

“Joining the culinary team at Inn at Laurel Point was an easy decision for me – in addition to honouring local, my philosophy of infusing seasonal ingredients with Asian flavours is similar to the approach at Aura,” said Chef Nakano. “I feel extremely lucky to be working and living in Victoria, where there is so much fresh seafood, vegetables, meats and other organic, sustainably grown ingredients to play with. I’m excited to share our team’s creativity and passion with diners across the property.”

In February, Inn at Laurel Point debuted a large-scale, multi-million ground floor renewal, which was originally conceived in 1987, when owners Paul and Artie Arsens asked their friend Arthur Erickson to design a second hotel wing (now called the Erickson Wing). He agreed, and Inn at Laurel Point became the first and only hotel in Erickson’s portfolio. Following the unveiling of the modernist-style wing – which paid homage to the property’s marine locale with dazzling waterfront views at every vantage point – Erickson and the Arsens, planned to extend renovations to the entire property.


Winnipeg, November 10, 2020 – Today the Manitoba Hotel Association (MHA) released its study on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Manitoba hotel industry.

The study, prepared by MNP, found that hotel revenues, profits, and employment plunged in the spring as a result of pandemic shutdowns and restrictions, and have not returned to anywhere near normal levels. All hotels were severely impacted, with conference hotels suffering the worst blow – an 89% drop in profits and 80% workforce reduction in the second quarter of 2020.

“We asked MNP to prepare this study to independently assess what we have been hearing from our members – that they are absolutely devastated and need help to keep their doors open,” said Scott Jocelyn, MHA President and CEO. “Our industry is uniquely impacted by restrictions on travel, gatherings, dining, and licensed premises.

We are suffering, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel as these restrictions are ramped up again during the COVID-19 second wave.”

In addition to information about financial impact, respondents were asked which government programs they accessed for financial assistance. The federal government Emergency Wage Subsidy was found to be the most helpful to the industry, while the provincial programs have not been widely accessed.

“Unfortunately, the provincial programs have not been a fit for our industry,” said Scott Jocelyn. “We have bills coming due, including property tax bills, that many operators will simply not be able to pay. We need assistance from the Province.”

The financial impact portion of the study found that in 2019, Manitoba hotels employed about 10,900 people and supported another 3,500 jobs. The industry contributed almost $400 million to the provincial government through taxes, liquor sales, and VLTs.

“Hotels are an economic powerhouse for the provincial government,” said Scott Jocelyn. “When hotels suffer, provincial revenues suffer.”

With the Code Orange and Red restrictions that have been introduced recently, hotels are once again facing the devastating economic conditions they experienced in the spring. The MNP study found that hotels have already taken steps such as deferring long-term debt payments, cancelling planned upgrades, cutting discretionary expenses, and making significant changes to staffing at all levels. However, with high fixed costs and debt obligations, many hotels may not be able to weather the sustained loss of income.

“This is an industry in crisis,” said Scott Jocelyn. “We need help if are going to continue to be here to contribute to Manitoba’s economy when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”


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.”


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”.


Page 7 of 20

<< Start < Prev 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Next > End >>