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ISAC Hotelier & FFE International is pleased to announce the appointment of Stuti Kothari to the position of Marketing Executive. 

During these unprecedented times, she has been brought onboard to maximize business opportunities and drive growth.

Recently moved to Canada, Kothari, a University of Mumbai Alumini has a Masters in Marketing and brings 4+ years of international experience in the digital space.

 With the industry coping through a lot of issues due to the pandemic, she will be driving sales by designing innovative marketing strategies.

 
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WASHINGTON (July 29, 2020) – As Congress debates a new round of COVID-19 recovery legislation, a new survey of American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) members shows that the pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on the hotel industry and its employees. Results show nearly nine in ten hotels have been forced to lay off or furlough employees due to COVID-19 and the resulting drop in travel. Four months into the crisis, only 37 percent of survey respondents report that they have been able to bring back at least half their full-time employees.

To raise awareness for hotel industry priorities, AHLA is declaring Wednesday, July 29 “Save Hotel Jobs,” a National Day of Action for hoteliers across the country to urge lawmakers to swiftly pass additional stimulus relief.  Among hotel owner respondents, more than half are in danger of foreclosure by commercial real estate lenders.

AHLA conducted the survey of hotel industry owners, operators, and employees from July 23-27, 2020, with more than 1,200 respondents. Key findings include the following:

  • 87% of hotels report being forced to lay off or furlough staff because of COVID-19
  • 36% have been unable to bring ANY of their furloughed or laid off workers back to full-time employment
  • Just 37% of hotels have been able to bring back at least half their full-time employees
  • Only one in four hotels (24%) is back to a minimum of 60% of their pre-COVID staffing levels, while less than one in three (29%) is still at or below 20% staffing
  • Of the more than 600 hotel owner respondents, more than half stated that are in danger of losing their property to foreclosure by commercial real estate lenders due to COVID-19

“It’s hard to overstate just how devastating the pandemic has been for the hotel industry. We have never seen a crisis of this magnitude,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “We are encouraged to see many of AHLA’s industry priorities included in the Senate package released this week. We urge Congress to direct help to the industries and employees that need it the most, and to move swiftly to support them.”

Rogers urged hoteliers to immediately contact the offices of Members of Congress with calls, letters, and social media posts to ensure the industry’s top priorities are included in the next relief package passed by Congress. The most pressing concerns for the industry right now include access to increased liquidity, tax relief, and limited liability protection.

“It is critical that Congress hear directly from hoteliers so that you get the help you need,” said Rogers. “Hotels have a presence in every congressional district in America, building strong local economies and supporting millions of jobs. Every Member of Congress needs to hear from us about the urgent need for additional support so that we can keep our doors open and bring back our employees.”

Hoteliers can visit www.ahla.com/hotelsact to connect to their elected officials.

 
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PLAINFIELD, IL, JULY 16, 2020 - Renovating a hotel can be a daunting task, one fraught with financial risks. However, by carefully determining the Scope of Work, the sticky issues that might derail a renovation project can be addressed effectively and strategically before the first day of construction.

First off, what is a scope of work? A scope of work is a detailed document explaining exactly what is expected of a team completing a construction contract. It contains information that gives direction and purpose to every facet of a renovation—information hotel owners and contractors need to budget accurately. It will be referenced constantly for details concerning any and all parts of a project, from milestones to payment schedules, to unique requirements. Because of the valuable information in the scope, it is extremely important that it be created with the intent of being as accurate, crystal clear and thorough as it can be.

HOTEL RENOVATION SCOPE
If the hotel is flagged, the brand partner will provide a corporate-specific set of renovation guidelines, referred to as a Property Improvement Plan (PIP). A PIP and a scope of work are not the same thing. No matter how complete, PIP guidelines do not provide everything required for an accurate scope of work. PIPs give owners many variables and the leeway to negotiate things like finishes, surface materials and other elements on the basis of value engineering, as well as the renovation's timelines, methods of execution, division of responsibilities, and reporting and payment schedules. In short, a PIP only outlines expected outcomes. It doesn't provide the elements that must come together to get to those desired outcomes. That is the job of the scope.

On the other hand, if the hotel is independent, the designer will have greater freedom with the scope but may come under pressure from the owner to make alterations during construction both minor and major, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as "scope creep". Changing the vision midway can result in serious cost overruns and time delays that the hotel can ill afford, whether branded or independent. 

SURPRISE, SURPRISE!
"In a poorly defined scope of work, there are always surprises. Most of these surprises could have been eliminated, or at least better managed, if the scope of work took them into account," explained Sam Cicero, Jr., president of Cicero's Development Corp., a General Contractor specializing in hospitality renovations. "For that reason, it is recommended that the owner do a complete survey of the property in the early stages of pre-construction, recruiting the help of third-party engineers or a general contractor. The survey will identify any problems and quantify the costs to fix them."

Cicero said that analysis of the survey will uncover aspects of the project that require special considerations or instructions that must be incorporated into the scope of work, so that costly, last minute change orders are not needed in the field. Surveys are especially important if the property is an older building that needs to be brought up to current standards. 

AVOIDING DELAYS
Every well-planned scope of work includes an accurate timeline for construction and deliveries. When you have an obligation to honor existing reservations, you cannot afford to have delays. In establishing a timeline, the hotel owner must decide whether the hotel will close down so that all renovation work can be completed as quickly as possible... or if the renovation work will be phased in on a floor-by-floor basis while the hotel stays in operation to maintain cash flow. This is a delicate balancing act: the longer a room is out of service, the more it costs the hotel’s bottom line.

"If the choise is to keep the hotel open the selection of a General Contractor takes on special importance," notes Cicero. "Only a GC with extensive experience in hotel renovations will know how to work without interrupting business, maintaining safety and cleanliness, and most importantly, not annoy guests with undue noise and inconveniences."

CREATING A SCOPE OF WORK
Below is a suggested if not simplified path towards avoiding the uncertainty, confusion, delays, and cost overruns notoriously produced by improperly defined or insufficient project scopes.

Start with a Workshop
Begin the process by getting the key sponsors and team members together by running a one-day workshop. Together, the attendees can identify what the requirements of the renovation are and what the ideal solution looks like. A workshop makes it much easier to set an over-aching vision for the renovation so that all stakeholders have a clear direction going forward in creating the scope of work.

First Draft
Following the workshop, develop a first draft of the scope of work with a generic schedule that must be adhered to. In your schedule, include all high-level activities as well as any key tasks that are critical to success. Then add due dates to the activities and tasks so that you know roughly what must be completed and when. This is a high level roadmap, not a detailed project scope.

Deliverables
Break down what was agreed upon in the workshop into discrete deliverables based on the theory that when all of the deliverables have been produced, your renovation will be complete. Having well defined deliverables will help you manage the scope of the project, as well as introduce change control along the way.

Resources and Budget
Next, identify the resources and budget needed to produce the identified deliverables. List the people, equipment and materials required. Once identified, add the costs of these resources to calculate the renovation "budget".

Reporting and Ownership
It's critical the status of the project is clearly communicated in a timely fashion once it kicks off, so describe in detail how that will be done. Will you have regular team meetings? Customer presentations and status reports manually? Will you rely on using an online system for your reporting needs? Finally, list the key criteria for the project so that everyone knows how success will be measured once every phase of the project is complete. An effective project manager should be named to respond to potential issues prior to construction – and carefully monitor the project as it moves forward – to ensure that it is completed according to the scope's specified quality, allocated resources, schedule, and budget.

Once the scope is defined, meet with stakeholders from the initial workshop to mutually agree on all details of the scope including addressing any existing conditions upfront. Now is the time to expand on details that will affect the execution of the contract. In a flagged hotel submit to the brand your scope, design documents, and other project initiatives. Procure brand approvals in advance of the renovation to help prevent wasted efforts and possible added expense. Neglecting to get agreements from all stakeholders can negatively impact the scope by placing undue pressure on manpower and resources, and add weeks or months to the schedule.

For more information, visit www.cicerosdev.com.

 
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July 3, 2020

Elite and young independent travelers are crucial to the recovery of the travel sector as they are likely to be the first tourists to embark on international travel, however according to a survey by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, *35% of Gen Z and *48% of Gen Y are still extremely concerned about COVID-19.

Many travel and tourism influencers are drawn from this traveler group, and what they think of and write about in their travel experiences can be highly useful to travel marketing and so they will be indispensable for destination recovery if utilized effectively.

Johanna Bonhill-Smith, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Amid the pandemic, consumer habits have changed and the importance of having an effective social media presence has been heightened. Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) should engage with influencers and operate across multi-channel platforms to ensure a stronger position for recovery.”

Rather than an induced image brought by a TV ad or campaign, an authentic perception of a destination brought on by another traveler will likely be more credible.

According to GlobalData’s Destination Influencer Dashboard, both VisitGreece and FailteIreland are two of the top ranking on the network. Both DMOs have utilized influencers in marketing campaigns in the past to captivate travelers’ interests bringing real-time engagement worldwide.

Bonhill-Smith continues: "DMOs should recognize the overriding power of an influencer to promote new activities, experiences or even to gain traction within a new market."

Twitter and YouTube have been the most widely used platforms for travel campaigning during COVID-19, but it is clear that platforms such as TikTok also have untapped marketing potential. Some campaigns released by DMOs, such as #DreamNowVisitLater (VisitNorway), have gained considerable interest on TikTok and this is likely to reflect positively on the perception of the destination among younger demographics.

Bonhill-Smith adds: “Social media traffic has dramatically increased as consumers have utilized this as a tool to escape stringent lockdown restrictions. Certain changes are likely to become long-standing as individuals will be more dependent on this to alleviate anxieties and influencers should be a key consideration in travel recovery strategies.”

 
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Vancouver, B.C. – June 30, 2020 – Coast Hotels announced today that it has entered into a franchise agreement to convert the Sandcastle Inn, Parksville, BC to a Coast Hotels property – Coast Parksville Hotel. The hotel will welcome guests under the Coast Hotels banner starting July 1, 2020.

The 36‐room property, which underwent modernization, is ideally located in the beach-side community of Parksville. Guests to the property will enjoy a comfortable stay in the refurbished rooms as well as easy access to key Parksville attractions and amenities - within a couple of blocks.

“We’re really excited about this partnership, and the direction we’re taking the property, working with Coast Hotels”, remarked Shakil Adam, President Evergreen Hotels. While we’ve always enjoyed strong summer occupancy, we’re looking forward to channeling the power of the Coast Hotels brand to grow our business success year-round.

Coast Parksville Hotel is located at 374 Island Highway West – across the street from Paradise Mini Golf and Fun Park and two blocks from the beach. The perfect location for family-friendly travelers, the property also boasts pet-friendly rooms.

“Core to the Coast Hotels brand is being what we call refreshingly local™, and Coast Parksville definitely fulfills on that promise. The property look and feel embraces the west coast colour palate, with its cedar accents. The ownership is invested in the Parksville community and on-property ambassadors are well versed on local businesses and services, encouraging guests to experience Parksville like a local”, noted Coast Hotels VP Hotel Development & Revenue Strategy, Mark Hope.

Coast Parksville marks Coast Hotels fourth property on Vancouver Island. Coast Hotels has existing properties in Victoria (Coast Victoria Hotel & Marina by APA, Nanaimo (Coast Bastion Hotel), and Campbell River (Coast Discovery Inn). In 2021, Coast Hotels will also add a property in Duncan.

“Marking our entry into the brand on Canada Day adds another layer to the celebrations”, states Mr. Adam. “We look forward to working with this great Canadian-based brand.”

Reservations for Coast Parksville Hotel can be made by calling 1.800.716.6199. Guests can expect Coast Hotels amenities including complimentary wi-fi, triple-sheeted bedding, PressReader, in-room Starbucks Coffee & tea, and being rewarded through the Coast Rewards program when visiting Coast Parksville Hotel.

 

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