Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Jan 28, 2019

Accent Inns adds accolades


Count having fun as a primary pillar of commerce for a successful hotel chain in Western Canada. A unique, personable way of doing business with clients has helped push Accent Inns Inc. of Vancouver onto the fast track for bookings and revenue growth.

The company was recently recognized for these achievements with an award by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC). At the TIAC National Awards 2018, Accent Inns was announced as the winners of its 2018 TIAC Business of the Year Award, presented by Air Canada.

It got there in competition with some very worthy competitors, including tour operators Adventure Canada of Mississauga and Arpin Canoe Restigouche of Kedgwick, NB.

But the Accent story of success in recent years gave it an edge over the others, in terms of business acumen and the resulting revenues performance, plus outstanding customer service and supportive employee relations. “We were stoked about winning this award,” said Mandy Farmer, the president and CEO of the company.

Accent Inns Inc. has been owned and operated by the Farmer family since 1986. But the company has enjoyed an especially prosperous period since 2013, under the leadership of daughter, Mandy. In that time, Accent’s net income has increased some seven-and-a-half times, and the company has attracted a top team of senior leadership.

Mandy Farmer

It has focused on building better employee relations, to generate more employee passion and commitment on the job. This emphasis on employee empowerment has led to customer satisfaction, and ultimately to those impressive business results.

A key part of this empowerment has been the enlisting of employees to help generate ideas for improvements, in terms of services and promotions – even if those are outside of their job specializations. “No one works in isolation from others,” says Farmer, in an interview with Canadian Travel Press. “For instance, our director of finance is involved with marketing strategies.”

Collaborators range from front-line maintenance workers to head office executives. Amongst their concepts is the incorporation of humour in digital message boards and signs and the installation of benches with printed punch lines that deliver unexpected laughs – all to help make guests feel more welcome. Even the head office has been renamed as the “rebel base” to indicate a break with traditional head office relations for employees.

“It’s been my vision to work with amazing people, and build an amazing, fun place to work,” said Farmer. “Our goal is to make the Accent experience better every day, for both employees and guests.”

While she can’t quantify it, the effect of this outlook has been an increase in bookings to Accent properties, she says. “We share these stories, so we know that they are having a positive impact on our customers.”

Accent Inns Inc., which locates its head office in Vancouver, has seven properties. Five of these are Accent Inns, which function as “down to earth,” comfortable, super clean, valued-based hotels. They are located at Vancouver Airport, Burnaby, Victoria, Kamloops, and Kelowna.

The “retro-chique” Hotel Zed, on the other hand, is also affordable, but is presented as a boutique hotel with a rebellious attitude. The two of these are located in Victoria and Kelowna. All the properties, including rooms and public spaces, have been recently renovated.

Both brands provide free WiFi, free parking, free breakfasts and other complimentary services.

“I have a lot of love for both brands,” said Farmer.