Category: Uncategorized


Every Tuesday we meet to discuss applications.

The guardians of Vancouver: The Lions in their playoff kit.

As Vancouver gradually shakes off the grip of winter, the amazing phenomenon that is playoff hockey once again begins. Life in Canada, at least until June, is put on hold. Businesses shut early,  jeans and hockey jerseys become accepted “business attire” even inanimate objects are pulled into the hype. As a born and raised Canadian, hockey is part of my soul; it is linked to almost anything I do or say from October till June. If fact, hockey’s  rapture is felt on just about every Canadian. Hockey flows through the veins of our country; each city has their team and no mater the league  the fans are fiercely loyal!

Vancouver is the land of unrivaled beauty; the skyline begins with  mountains and ends with water. Oh,Vancouver also boasts the best hockey team in the world!  Spring  has long been a treacherous time for Vancouver hockey fans. In 1994 the Vancouver Canucks fought their way to the Stanley Cup Finals and lost to New York. In 2011, they again battled to the cup finals only to lose, in seven games, to Boston. This most recent loss serves as a very painful reminder of how close the Canucks of Vancity have come to greatness.

The heart of our Canucks!

2012 is almost half done and the NHL playoffs are again in full swing. Vancouver and its band of loyal followers find themselves knee-deep in playoff controversy after a questionable hit by Byron Bitz in Game 1 vs. Los Angeles. The Canucks are President Trophy winners 2 years on the trot and have high expectations from their fans who believe, like every year, this is Vancouver’s year. This is what we live for!

Last year, before the game seven loss and ensuing riot, there were open viewing areas, Granville street was a buzz with Canuck faithful. The atmosphere was compared to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the Canucks were winning game after game and fans were confident of a Stanley Cup appearance. Unfortunately, losing to Boston in seven games turned our city into a centre for rioters and looters. It spoiled any hope of mass gatherings and free viewing areas during the 2012 playoffs. So where can you watch this year’s cup run you ask?? Well, here are a couple of places I suggest:

St. Augustine’s:

Located on Commercial drive and walking distance from the train station is St. Augustine’s Craft Brew House. This pub offers over forty beers on tap and some pretty damn good food; it is truly something special! St. Augustine’s pub offers a great playoff atmosphere and the surrounding  neighbourhood boasts a personality you can’t find downtown.

Website: St. Augustinesvancouver.com

Phone: 604.569.1911

Address: 2360 Commercial Drive

Ceilis Irish Pub

Ceilis is typical of irish pubs: cheap and cheerful. No matter where your find them, sports and Irish Pubs seem to always be best of friends. Ceilis has all the important aspects covered: a TV in every corner, cheap  drinks and decent food! Get there early on game day as there will be a line out front. If you fail at being timely like myself, I find a cash offering to the bouncer helps even the most parched fan beat the queue. This place is one of my favorites in Vancity to watch our Canucks. Ceilis is three floors of restaurant/pub/club and it seems to grow in size as an afternoon of “hydration” progresses. After the game they pull out the dinning tables and bring out the loud music and “Irish” celebrations! (Yes, I’m talking Guinness and Jameson’s)

Website: Ceilis.com

Phone: 604.697.9199

Address: 670 Smithe Street

Last year we had the freedom of all-ages free viewing areas and it makes me sad that the Vancouver Police have banned all large gatherings. But don’t fret my trusty Vancouver faithful, there are always great places to view our much-loved Canucks win the Stanley Cup!

This weekend felt like one of the first days of summer. ImageI made it a point to wear shorts and a t-shirt for at least a few minutes today, and it was very pleasant considering last weeks temperatures! Capitalizing on this stunning weather, I decided to make snowboarding a must this weekend. It may be the last weekend to enjoy snow before the Van City warms up for the summer. ImageSo I spent the a.m in shorts and the p.m in snowboard gear riding Cypress Mountain! I love this city; the recreational options are endless!

As I said in my last entry… Get out an enjoy the wonders of spring in Vancouver!

Riding In March

Image

That beautiful time of year has come again! Spring is upon us, the sun shines and every Vancouverite remembers the feeling vitamin d has on the soul. March is usually mild. Those residents and tourists who were present during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics can attest to this.  The local city mountains are usually in wrap up mode as March approaches; occupancy is down and the residents of Van City are desperately craving summer. However, this year has been truly magical. Weather has remained cool with patches of snow… Even in the city! Although snow in the city means a nightmare for the daily commuter, on the North Shore Mountains it is a completely different story! Seymour, Grouse and Cypress bowl all are experiencing beautiful spring riding conditions!

Just a few important items of notice:

Mount Seymour in the last 7 days shows 141cm of new “pow” to total 945cm for the 2011/2012 season.

Grouse Mountain has 69cm of fresh white stuff in the past week and over 980cm for the season.

Cypress Bowl has recorded 79cm new snow since March 14 and boasts the most total snowfall of all three local Vancouver Mountains with over 1000cm!Image

All three mountains are open 9 am till 10 pm. Each mountain boasts night skiing for those die-hard skiers or snowboarders coming up after work to escape the daylight queues.

Best part of these impeccable conditions…. All three mountains currently show a temperature of below zero! Furthermore, that beautiful white stuff may stick around till the weekend.

My favourite mountain is Cypress bowl. It is the only Vancouver City Mountain which runs high-speed quads. The mountain maintains the most square feet of usable terrain with over 52 runs. Basically, I am bias. My city mountain riding experience is split between on Cypress Bowl and Seymour Mountain; I know these mountains like my own backyard.

In closing, I sit here in Starbucks writing and outside sits a man, coffee in hand, wearing only jeans and a tee-shirt. This is one of those subtle reminders Vancouverite’s are so proud of. Only in this city can you experience the joy of spring weather in the city and drive 30 min to the mountains and ride fresh snow.  So get up there before it all melts!!Image

Heavily recommended and loved by Vancouverite burger fanatics, Romers Burger Bar doesn’t disappoint! I took my family there for the Canucks v. Red Wings game on 02.02.12 and was blown away by its brilliance! You buy a burger, then add some fries, a few tasty dips and you have an instant success for you and your besties! The kitchen focuses on gourmet burgers with an eclectic twist. The servers have personality! They are genuine and engaging, which is a massive bonus as most restaurants seem to employ robots disguised as humans. Their menu feature vegetarian burger options as well. The average veggie burger is… How to put this… A bland and tasteless round thing that might have been used as a puck in the World Junior tournament this past Christmas! Although I didn’t try Roamers veggie creations, they look as if a meat lover, may actually be satisfied with one! A private group room is available below the main restaurant where two 40+ inch TVs are ideally set up for a playoff hockey party, avec beer n burgers! Finally, they cook up a mean looking brunch Saturdays, Sundays and holidays!

This is definitely worth a try if you have not already! And if you have, you know what I’m talking about and will be back ASAP!

Blog Reset

Hello world,

I have done some soul-searching and goal setting over this past holiday season. I decided to reset my personal blog and to focus on my tourism development career. To begin with I have decided to focus on linking my passion for Vancouver, BC with my love for travel and tourism. This blog will make use of my Marketing/Hotel Management background in and effort to showcase Vancouver’s personality to the people who love her.

Each month this blog will trend on something very Vancity. The point for this project will be to educate vancouverites and tourists on what makes this city, so very Vancouver.

February will be foodie month!

Chinese New Years @ Vancouver

It seems so long ago when I finished the classroom studies portion of my BAIHM degree at Royal Roads University. 1.5 months later, I feel settled in my flat in the UK and working away at the Four Seasons Hampshire. Life is great here, I am making loads of new friends, and I am beginning to feel a bit more comfortable in my current home town of Fleet.

I have finally mapped out my town; I know where all the essentials are: grocery shop, post office, and most importantly the pubs. ;). Life in England is quite different from what I imagined it to be. England was responsible for Canada’s creation; we base our legal and political systems on the UK and the similarities seem endless at first glance. However, once I looked into the culture of the UK a little closer I found those similarities became more un-similar.  For example, the way its people interact with one another is quite different than that of people back in Canada. I will discuss more about the differences in future blogs, however I will start with the way British people let new comers into their lives is much different. The British are very cautious to let a new person into their life, in relation to Canadians who invite you back to their place for a BBQ within hours of first meeting. Who knew our Multicultural Communication class could be so important. 😛

Its lovely here, yet I do find myself missing home at points. I suppose this is normal, I haven’t completely felt comfortable here yet. I am sure that as I become closer with the people around me, the less I will miss home, and the more I will appreciate England. There will always be a huge spot in my heart for Vancouver, BC, and I do intend to move back at some point in the future. However, for the time being I am very much enjoying Fleet, United Kingdom.

Evan Parliament

Speaker Reflection

“Wild by Nature” is how the District of Sooke illustrates itself (Sooke, 2010). It was brought to my attention, on April 15, 2010, by Evan Parliament, Chief Administrative Officer, that to develop a city’s tourism industry is a complex and patient process. Before I attended Royal Roads University and the International Hotel Management program, I was unaware of the existence of destination marketing. I never thought that a concept like destination marketing could maintain its own department; I always assumed that tourism just happened. This was a big mistake, as I discovered through Mr. Parliament’s presentation. Destination marketing fascinates me and I believe it is an evolving industry with great career potential. Canada is a resource industry country, and it is those resources, which support its economy. However, Canadian fish stocks are shrinking, forestry employment is decreasing, and since 1999, the mining industry has reduced output by 25% (Statistics Canada, 2006).  In my opinion, I think tourism is the future industry of both small and large Canadian cities and it is up to destination marketing organizations (DMO) to secure business.

Sooke has decided to brand itself as an eco-tourism destination and Evan Parliament seems to be the official with the vision. His passion for Sooke’s community was electric, and the moment he began speaking about his experience creating a DMO interested me. As Mr. Parliament explains “Tourism doesn’t just happen, it must be created” and I now understand the importance behind that quote (personal communication, April 15, 2010). I was surprised how simple the ideas were that began Sooke’s tourism industry. “Just bring hoteliers to Sooke, the beauty will do the rest” explained Even Parliament (personal communication, April 15, 2010). Mr. Parliament realised he had an amazing product, furthermore, to build a successful eco-tourism brand, Sooke required the infrastructure to support a tourism population; hotels provide the infrastructure to grow tourism. In the business world, which seems more competitive by the day, it didn’t surprise me how much effort it took for the District of Sooke and Evan Parliament to secure a hotel. First, Mr. Parliament offered hoteliers an all-inclusive trip to Sooke, in an effort to display what the municipality had. Since Sooke was to base tourism on the local natural beauty, Evan Parliament needed to tell the story of Sooke. Marketing Sooke’s eco-toursim industry will base its success on generating customer engagement; hotelier or end-customer there must be a desire to Visit Sooke. Since hotels are needed to accommodate guests, and guests are needed to occupy hotel rooms, these interconnected stakeholders will support each other. Evan Parliament managed to secure Prestige Hotels through illustrating a consumer demand for Sooke’s eco-tourism industry.

Evan Parliament had some amazing ideas, which assisted his development of Sooke as a eco-tourism destination. A hotel conference center, as Mr. Parliament discussed encourages consistent tourism activities. Through additional research, I discovered, conferences actually promote business, and during a recession it remains a steady source of income for the host hotel or city (Conference Bay, 2008). I think that it is a very smart idea to incorporate a conference center in a small city like Sooke. It establishes a reason for companies to visit Sooke during a slow economic time, and provides the individuals who enjoyed Sooke, a reason to return. Furthermore, in the partnership agreement, which the District of Sooke and Prestige Hotels completed, allowed Sooke to entice not-for-profit businesses to book conferences free of charge. This creative way of stimulating business in a small town during a recession amazed me.

In conclusion, I found the dynamic experience of creating a tourism industry very interesting. It opened my eyes to the evolving world of tourism. Furthermore, it illustrated how important tourism is to a small resource based town. In my previous reflection paper, I spoke about how Mr. Walker altered the way I thought about my career and I it would seem that Mr. Parliament had a similar effect on me. It is encouraging to see so much career opportunity in tourism. There are jobs in the tourism industry which don’t focus all their effort on hotel operations. In fact, I think I would like to experience working at a DMO once in my career. I think the experience would expand my experience on social responsibility, additionally, working for a DMO will allow demonstrate my passion for a local community. In my opinion, to be involved in a DMO establishes a legacy in the area, which one works. I think it would be neat to tell someone later in my career that it was my ideas, which helped, assert a community’s tourism industry.

References

Department Contacts.(2009). Retrieved April 16, 2010, from http://www.sooke.ca/EN/main/contacts/feedback.php

Statistics Canada. (2006). Primary Industries. Retrieved April 16, 2010, from http://www41.statcan.ca/2006/1664/ceb1664_000-eng.htm

Conference Bay. (2008). Visiting Conferences during a Recession. Retrieved April 16, 2010, from http://conferencebay.wordpress.com/2008/11/03/visiting-conferences-during-a-recession/

Speaker Reflection

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel has an unrivalled history to the community of Oak Bay, Victoria. Kevin Walker, the owner of The Oak Bay Beach Hotel, Walker Hospitality and other similar entrepreneurial ventures, discussed the challenges of associated with renovating a historic icon located in Victoria. I am fascinated by Mr. Walker’s passion for the ventures, which he undertook. He seemed unafraid of failure and welcomes tough decisions in an effort to build his business experience. Nonetheless, it was the story surrounding the importance of the local community to a hotel’s success that resonated with me. Martin Leclerc, the General Manager of the Fairmount Empress spoke about the necessity of engaging a community, and that during hard economic times local business can save the life of a hotel (personal communication, April 14, 2010). I believe that what Mr. Leclerc speaks about should influence businesses during more just hard economic times.  All large hotel chains practice social responsibility; Accent Inns supports community involvement through charity work, Marriott International pursues a philosophy that demonstrates community leadership and connectives. However, hotels rarely get the opportunity to intertwine themselves within the community. Kevin Walker experienced continual obstacles, yet I believe he had the chance to build his Oak Bay Beach Hotel into the local culture of the community. Mr. Walker described his attitude on overcoming community obstacles “When you’re a visionary, you must see past the obstacles in your way – listen but not hear what people have to say” (personal communication, April 14, 2010). I believe that Mr. Walker’s vision would emulate success with or without community engagement, however, his dedication and passion to the community of Oak Bay illustrates to me that this hotel was more important than just a business. His community passion is further is depicted when Mr. Walker, with great expense, managed to reclaim 95% of the original hotel material to be used in the new hotel. In fact, such great care was taken to ensure that the spirit of the original Oak Bay Beach Hotel would live on in the community “a very special place is coming back” to Oak Bay (Journal of Commerce, 2009).

Mr Walker’s entrepreneurial spirit fascinated me; Walker Hospitality seemed to make money out of nothing. He had a constant revenue stream without a tangible business to show for it. “If it is what you want to do, make it happen; don’t be afraid of making a mistake.” (Personal Communication, April 14, 2010). I think it is this attitude that makes an entrepreneur great. It seems that whenever money was short, or there was a risk of failure, Mr. Walker could manufacture a successful business to support his livelihood and the renovation of the hotel. He began Walker Hospitality as a management company and by 2005, he had successfully developed a business plan and management contract for Miraloma, a hotel in Sidney, BC (Walker, 2008). This new venture increased his entrepreneurial success, cash flow and would later provide business knowledge to assist Mr. Walker in rejecting fractional ownership, as a financing option, for the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. Discovery Club is Kevin Walkers baby; I sensed an intense pride for this idea. It is brilliant; the company sells ownership stakes in Discovery Club which entitles members to the use services and amenities of hotels across the world. Discovery Club doesn’t incur any of the ownership costs associated with the properties used, and discovery club members experience all the benefits associated with these properties. In my opinion, the member gets all the benefits of a timeshare, without any of the headache of a timeshare. Nonetheless, I do not completely understand that this concept and I am sure there are aspects to this business venture which are not as positive as they look. However, I think it is incredible that Mr. Walker and this business venture can successfully generate capital during a recession while competing with large industry players like Resort Condominiums International.

The presentation, which Mr. Walker gave April 14, 2010, made me realise that there is so much more to hospitality than just hotels. In fact, this speaker series has taught me to think more towards the outside of the box in regards to my career. When I first walked into class during September 2009, I had a very specific idea of my prospective career after I graduated. During the last 6 months, of course work and the industry speaker sessions, my career prospects are more dynamic and complex than ever before; my mind is a jungle of different career ideas, and directions. I find this lack of career direction a pleasant, which leads me to my last point. I know one thing now more than ever; I want a career, which evolves with my personality.

References

Projects. (2008). Retrieved April 14, 2010, from http://www.walkerhospitality.com/discovery.htm

Journal Of Commerce. (2009). New development at former Oak Bay Beach Hotel site takes green building to heart. Retrieved from http://www.joconl.com/article/id33547/watersewer

Martin Leclerc

Speaker Reflection

The hospitality career of Martin Leclerc, began in Food and Beverage. The, youngest general manager of the Fairmont Empress describes the advent of his career as humble. He began in the restaurant and pub businesses in Montreal, as he discussed, “I worked in some of the best and worst pubs in Quebec” (M. Leclerc, personal communication, April 14, 2010). Throughout our industry speaker sessions, our speakers have all described their humble beginnings and I am beginning to understand that there is not perfect way of navigating life. Life is what a person makes of it, everything is personal and nothing is perfect, nonetheless, a person will get only what they put into their life. Martin Leclerc’s analogy of a person’s favourite wine depicts their personal preference (personal communication, April 14,2010); some people may like a bold and full life of accomplishment and challenge, while others prefer a subtle, soft, and easy life. I believe the same analogy can work for a person’s career.   Throughout Mr. Leclerc’s presentation, he commented on how this industry gives back only to people who work hard and earn their positions. As Mr. Leclerc continued, “just because you have a degree, doesn’t mean you will get a career.” I am beginning to understand that career achievement is dynamic and does not happen once I pass your final exam in university or finish an internship. Through the last 6 months, Royal Roads taught me to think critically about situations and it is with this education that I will be able to evolve my internship and better develop my problem solving skills.

September 11, 2001 changed the way hotels did business. Martin Leclerc explained the revenue losses associated with unstable travel numbers, and paranoia for air travel lead to a very dim economic outlook for tourism. Although I was only in high school when this event happened, I do remember the impact it had on travel. Nonetheless, I was young and did not grasp the full magnitude of this event. In a press release on September 24, 2001 the World Travel and Tourism Council stated that there would be a decrease of 1.7% in the global tourism GDP (Wayne, 2001). It was this widespread economic effect, which I did not understand in high school, which forced the hotel industry to revaluate its business model. Martin Leclerc spoke about “restructuring with dignity” and I believe this is something of value (personal communication, April 14, 2010.) It is easy to, in my opinion, for a hotel to drop all reason and cut prices to meet occupancy targets, however this only increases the timeframe of negative impact the hotels are trying to reduce with low rates. Hoteliers must be smarter, and not degrade hotel price integrity. In the wake of September 11, 2001, hoteliers had to be creative to reduce the impact of travel cutbacks on their bottom line. It is a very similar situation through today’s economy, and I believe that the importance of price integrity is still misunderstood in the hotel industry. Restructuring with dignity can only be successful if the hotel general manager can stay calm and plan long term. Price integrity is a tool, I believe, that can limit the clean up associated with an economic collapse like September 11 or the recession of 2009.

Community involvement is something I believe to be very important. I was very interested in Martin Leclerc’s attitude on this subject as I find that community involvement, by any large business, is often overlooked in the quest for a positive bottom line. Mr. Leclerc spoke about his experience in Moncton, New Brunswick, how he involved the community in the hotel’s activities. The hotel had four different general managers in two years, and none had engaged the locals in the operations of the hotel. It seems like hotels forget about local demographics in their quest to secure large, international business accounts. However, during a slow economic downturn, similar to the one Canada’s economy is currently experiencing, it is essential to attract local markets and capitalize on local business accounts. Furthermore, community involvement is a feel good activity; it brings people in the local area together and creates community cohesion. In a time when international visitors is decreased and tourism spending per capita is reduced, local business has the ability to bolster a hotel’s bottom line. As the World Tourism Organization explains, global tourism arrivals are estimated to have fallen by four percent in 2009 (World Tourism Organization (WTO), 2010).  Business professionals often manage REVPAR, occupancy rates, and revenue management to increase revenues. However, it is evident through Mr. Leclerc’s presentation that sometimes creative community engagement is all it takes. Regardless of whether it is the middle of winter or the middle of a economic slowdown, a hotel must get creative and utilize its local population to pick up the “tourism slack” that was left by the reduction of international visitors. Before today’s presentation with Martin Leclerc, I did not fully understand the importance of using the local community to increase sales. At Royal Roads University social responsibility is encouraged from its students in a attempt to illiterate how important it is for a business to utilize its local community to increase business. If an hotelier can build community involvement and engage this market, the local community can prove a very positive alternative to international arrivals.

References

Wayne, S. (2001, September 11). Decrease in Tourism Demand Signals Lost of Millions of Jobs Worldwide. World Travel and Tourism Council. Retrieved from http://www.geog.nau.edu/courses/alew/ggr346/wtc/wtc4b.html

International Tourism on Track for a Rebound after an Exceptionally Challenging 2009. (2010). Retrieved April 14, 2010, from http://www.unwto.org/media/news/en/press_det.php?id=5361