Travel Courier
Issue Date: May 24, 2018
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Canada is hot

Rocking it at the Best Western Leisure Travel Summit


(Photo above: Pictured during a break at the 13th Annual Best Western Leisure Travel in Toronto last week are (l-r) Summit moderator Bryson Forbes, Best Western’s Dorothy Dowling, the Hotel Association of Canada’s Susie Grynol and TripAdvisor’s Brad Payea.)

According to three top travel industry executives, there’s no doubt that Canada is a hot – and getting hotter – destination these days.

That was the clear message from Dorothy Dowling, chief marketing officer and senior vice-president from Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Suzie Grynol, president of the Hotel Association of Canada, and Brad Payea, head of industry relations for TripAdvisor during the 13th annual Best Western Leisure Travel Summit in Toronto last week.
The expert trio covered everything from forecasting summer season performance and trends to the importance of travel rewards programs, to Airbnb, to branding, and a whole lot more.
For Best Western’s Dowling, the headline these days is short and sharp: “Canada is rocking it!”
She pointed out that her company’s forward bookings are up 8% over the previous year, and the Canadian economy and a number of other factors are all good.
As for HAC’s Grynol, she told those on hand for the 2018 Summit that the Canadian hotel industry is breaking records, posting a 66% occupancy figure in 2017 – a figure that is expected to continue well into 2018.
Grynol also cited the continuing growth of Canada’s hotel room supply; Canada’s ranking as a top travel destination by a host of internationally well-known media; and the Trudeau effect as positive trends.
All in all, Grynol said, “It’s a great time to be in the hotel business.”
TripAdvisor’s Payea told the gathering that the market is strong and Canadian destinations will continue to see growth this summer.
“Canada,” said Payea, “is a really strong brand.”
In other news from Best Western, 2018 is a big year for the company as it celebrates the 30th anniversary of Best Western Rewards (BWR), which has grown from 180,000 members in 1988 to 32 million members in 2018. Each year, BWR has continued to raise the bar, and today, it offers the industry’s lowest point threshold, free nights with no blackout dates and seasonal promotions. Plus, BWR points earned don’t expire.
To mark the 30th anniversary of BWR, Best Western gifted lifetime Diamond Select Status to close to 3,000 members who have remained a loyal part of the program since its inaugural year.