Canadian Market Delivers Growth for the All Suites Brands by Hilton

By Adrian Kurre Global Head, Homewood Suites & Home2 Suites by Hilton | December 01, 2019

This article was co-authored by Bhulesh Lodhia, President, JM Hospitality

In recent years, tourism in Canada has increased significantly, creating a wealth of new opportunity for hotel brands, developers and owners.

Spotting this early on, the All Suites brands by Hilton–Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Home2 Suites by Hilton–have charted a course for long term growth in the Canadian market. At the end of 2018, the category reached its 30th property milestone in Canada with the opening of Homewood Suites by Hilton Ottawa Downtown–a dual-branded property with a Hilton Garden-and has plans to continue rapid expansion throughout the country. In fact, currently, more than 20% of Hilton's overall Canadian development pipeline consists of All Suites properties.

This robust pipeline is not only a reflection of savvy owners' and the Hilton development team's ability to recognize and deliver on an unmet demand for all-suite offerings throughout Canada, but a testament to Hilton's and the All Suites brands' overall reputation amongst travelers worldwide. Recognitions like Great Place to Work®'s 2019 Best Workplaces™ in Canada have boosted the All Suites brands' image within the Canadian hospitality industry, served as a powerful recruitment tool for top talent and fueled the healthy pace of growth in the region.

Beyond these factors, there are several circumstances at play that have contributed to the success of the All Suites brands by Hilton in Canada. The following is a review of the current state of affairs in the Canadian hospitality industry and the history of the All Suites brands presence in the region, as well as an examination what's driving continued growth in Canada.

The Canadian Market

Travelers are flocking to Canada like never before and driving up demand for new lodging options in traditional and non-traditional markets throughout the country.

In 2018, Canada received a record-breaking 21.1 million visitors, and total tourism revenues from domestic and international travelers reached $102.1 billion. This travel boom has attracted the attention of hotel companies, owners and developers from across the globe, and has resulted in a quickly escalating hotel development pipeline. According to HVS' 2018 Canadian Hotel Development Cost Survey, by the end of 2018 there were nearly 30,000 new hotel rooms and over 250 projects in development–more developments than any year since 2013–and supply is expected to continue on an upward trajectory.

This heightened global interest in Canada has been especially advantageous for hotel owners. In 2018, the country's RevPAR numbers reached record highs and ADR substantially increased year-over-year from 2017. The availability of competitive debt financing and investors seeking high-yield assets have also helped stimulate hotel development. According to data from STR, by the end of 2019, rates are expected to grow as new supply raises the rate ceiling for the entire country.

So, which Canadian locations are most ripe for development? Ontario and British Columbia are the nation's most popular provinces amongst tourists, and internationally recognized cities like Toronto and Montreal generate the most tourism revenue. This naturally aligns with where the most hotel development has occurred in recent years. In fact, in the past year, both Homewood Suites by Hilton and Embassy Suites by Hilton have opened new locations in Toronto. In 2018, Embassy Suites opened a property minutes from the international airport in Montreal, and there is a Homewood Suites currently under construction in the heart of the city's popular Midtown neighborhood which will open in 2020.

Another Canadian market with great potential for growth are suburban and 'surban' neighborhoods just outside the city center that demonstrate significant promise, especially for Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton. According to Colliers International Hotels' 2019 Canadian Hotels Investment Report, investors demonstrated heightened interest in secondary and tertiary markets in 2018, with the limited service properties, including extended stay hotels, representing the largest proportion of sales volume for the year. These markets have been particularly promising for Home2 Suites by Hilton, which currently has planned hotels in cities like Saskatoon, SK; Moncton, NB; Kitchener, Innisfil, Huntsville and Thunder Bay, ON; and Medicine Hat, AB – all of which are secondary and tertiary zones.

The All Suites Brands' Canadian Growth Story

While the All Suites brands are now helping drive Hilton's expansion in Canada, the entrance of Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton into the region began with a much steadier pace of growth.

Embassy Suites by Hilton opened its first international property in Toronto in 1992, after which the brand continued slowly expanding in Ontario and into Quebec. Homewood Suites by Hilton would not make its first appearance into the market until 10 years later with Homewood Suites by Hilton Mont-Tremblant Resort in Quebec. From there the All Suites brands continued to gradually expand opening a collective 10 properties between 2002 and 2013.

Then about five years ago, which also marked the start of Canada's tourism boom, the All Suites brands development shifted from steady growth to rapid expansion. In 2014 alone, Homewood Suites opened six new properties in major cities like Winnipeg, Calgary and Halifax, and began to fan out to secondary markets like Ajax, Waterloo and Hamilton. Home2 Suites by Hilton also opened its first Canadian property in 2014, Home2 Suites by Hilton West Edmonton, Alberta. Since then, Home2 Suites by Hilton has opened seven locations across the country with eight more that are planned.

So, why the spike in activity? In addition to external factors such as Canada's tourism boom, Hilton's strategic development approach and owners looking for high-yielding products helped increase the All Suites brands' presence throughout the country.

Multi-Brand Builds and Flexible Design Spell Success in Canada

The multi-brand method has been a gamechanger for quickly gaining substantial market share in high-barrier-to-entry markets both in the U.S. and abroad. In Canada, JM Hospitality is one such developer that has tapped into the multi-brand development model using All Suites brands by Hilton to anchor in many of its multi-brand properties. The company recently completed a new dual-branded Home2 Suites by Hilton/Hilton Garden Inn in Brampton, and also broke ground on a dual-branded Home2 Suites/Tru by Hilton in Markham – both located in the Greater Toronto Area. JM Hospitality also has plans to begin developing a tri-brand Home2 Suites by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, and a Hampton by Hilton in the Greater Toronto area by 2020.

In addition, the new Homewood Suites by Hilton Ottawa Downtown, located in the capital of Canada, shares a roof with a Hilton Garden Inn, and there are approximately 10 multi-brand properties in Canada, most of which contain an All Suites brand.

The All Suites brands' flexible prototypes have also been helpful in recruiting owners to develop All Suites hotels in Canada. Embassy Suites' Design Option III, for instance, helps keep developers' costs down and enter spaces that once seemed restrictive by utilizing a Kit of Parts approach. Similarly, Homewood Suites by Hilton's latest prototype allows for a mix up to 85% studio suites to give owners more flexibility when building in urban and surban markets. The Home2 Suites by Hilton prototype is also highly adaptable to meet the needs of any given market.

The biggest driver of the All Suites brands' success in Canada, though, has been growing demand from consumers. Regardless of travel segment-long-term, short-term, business, leisure, etc.-the spacious suites and homelike amenities at All Suites properties have become increasingly invaluable to guests, and there has been a major push to educate Canadian travelers about the category's value-added offerings.

Being part of the Hilton engine and the company's marketing tools and vast operational resources is another key benefit for Canadian owners. The Hilton Honors loyalty program has also helped bring a wealth of new travelers to the Canadian market, as well as introduced Canadian residents to the warmth and light of Hilton's unique brand of hospitality. The Hilton Honors app, for instance, provides guests with a suite of digital resources which gives them the ability to customize every aspect of their stay right from their mobile device, such as booking an east-facing room to watch the sunrise through the room selection tool. The Digital Check-in and Digital Key features are especially useful, which allows guests to check-in and out, open their room door and access amenities directly from the app. These features have made a difference in breaking into markets across Canada, particularly areas that are unfamiliar with the all-suite model.

For many years, the all-suites sector in Canada has been a sleeping giant, and now that it has awoken, it's showing no signs of slowing down. The paradigm shift in Canada's tourism industry has spurred the growth of markets throughout the country and has stimulated a plethora of opportunities for hotel brands and developers. This heightened activity in the hospitality sector has even resulted in a new plan by the country's Minister of Tourism to grow Canada's tourism sector 25% ($128 billion) by 2025, which includes dedicated efforts to boost tourism beyond major cities and summer months.

Programs like these will continue to fuel hotel development throughout Canada, creating a diverse environment of lodging options well beyond what's available in the country today. As both international and domestic travelers continue to power Canada's hospitality industry, the need for high-quality hotel options will continue to rise and the All Suites brands by Hilton plan to continue expanding and spreading the light and warmth of hospitality through innovative and unique all-suites lodging experiences.

Mr. Lodhia This article was co-authored by Bhulesh Lodhia. Bhulesh Lodhia is the president of JM Hospitality, a leading owner, developer and operator of premium brand hotels in Canada since 1981. Over the years, Mr. Lodhia has propelled JM Hospitality into a leading Hilton hotelier in the Greater Toronto Area. He has served on the Hilton Garden Inn Owners Advisory Council from 2015 to 2108 and currently serves on the Home2 Suites by Hilton Owners Advisory Council. Mr. Lodhia has been instrumental in shaping the way Hilton designs and develops its leading All Suites brands in Canada.  He immigrated to Canada from South Africa in 1972 and completed his MBA at York University in 1974. Having worked in commercial credit with the TD Bank for a couple years, and inspired by friends who were in the hotel business, in 1981 he began his first hotel venture under JM Hospitality with Branscombe Motor Inn.  The Canadian-grown Journey's End Motels brand, which, in 1993, came under the Choice Hotels Canada banner, played a key role in his evolution as hotel developer and entrepreneur. By 1992, JM Hospitality had developed a total of 18 Choice properties across Ontario and in Quebec, and Mr. Lodhia became one of Canada's largest Franchise owners. Today, JM Hospitality's entire portfolio consists of Hilton brands, and he is one of the largest Hilton owners in the Greater Toronto Area.  

Mr. Kurre Adrian Kurre serves as the global head for Home2 Suites by Hilton; the award-winning brand that is part of Hilton's "All Suites" category. Mr. Kurre is responsible for the overall strategy for the brand, with his primary objectives to diversify and increase revenue, drive brand growth and development, increase consumer loyalty, as well as maintain collaborative relationships with hotel owners and management company representatives to position Home2 Suites as an innovator in the All-Suites category. He also continues to build on the commitment of the brand's award winning customer satisfaction culture. Mr. Kurre is a highly experienced brand leader, with nearly 40 years of hospitality experience. He began his hospitality career as a waiter and bartender and transitioned into restaurant management for Black Angus Restaurants. He then pursued a career in hotel hospitality at Courtyard by Marriott and eventually became Director of Operations. Adrian Kurre can be contacted at 703-883-1000 or adrian.kurre@hilton.com Please visit http://www.hilton.com for more information. Extended Biography

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If you choose to purchase a subscription, member subscription payments can be made in U.S. Dollars, as well as a variety of international currencies. Membership terms are Annual Recurring, and Monthly Recurring. The Annual Recurring subscription is an annual commitment and subscribers will be charged each consecutive billing cycle. Annual Recurring subscriptions can be cancelled after the first billing cycle and within 30-days of the billing date for a full refund. Monthly Recurring subscriptions are ongoing and subscribers will be charged each consecutive monthly billing cycle. Monthly Recurring subscriptions can be cancelled after the first month and within 7 days of the monthly billing cycle for a full refund.

12. PAYMENT AUTHORIZATION

Payment for the services provided to you in, at, through or in association with HotelExecutive may be made by automatic credit card, debit card, direct debit, bankwire or Paypal and other approved payment means offered in, at, through or in association with HotelExecutive, and you hereby authorize HotelExecutive and its agents to transact such payments on your behalf.

You hereby authorize HotelExecutive's Internet Payment Service Provider to charge your credit card to pay for your membership to HotelExecutive. You further authorize HotelExecutive's Internet Payment Service Provider to charge your credit card for any and all purchases of products, services in association with HotelExecutive. You agree to be personally liable for all charges incurred by you in association with your access or other use of any content provided by HotelExecutive or any third party in association with HotelExecutive. You acknowledge and agree that your liability for all such charges shall continue after termination of your access or any type of membership arrangement with HotelExecutive.

In the event that you have chosen to have your membership automatically rebilled, unless and until you notify HotelExecutive that you wish to cancel or terminate your membership to HotelExecutive, you hereby agree and authorize HotelExecutive's Internet Payment Service Provider to automatically renew your membership to HotelExecutive on a continuing basis and to charge your credit card (or other payment means you have selected) to pay for the ongoing cost of your membership. You hereby further authorize HotelExecutive's Internet Payment Service Provider to charge your credit card (or other approved payment means you have selected) for any and all purchases of products, services and entertainment provided to in, at, through or in association with HotelExecutive.

13. PRIVACY POLICY

The following is the Privacy Policy for HotelExecutive

We can be reached via telephone, email, or online at our contact page. When you visit our site we do not log any information regarding your domain or email address. Information Sharing: We do not share user information with any third parties other than via press release distribution as described below.

Hotel Newswire is a newswire service that distributes press releases on behalf of our users. If you decide to submit a press release for distribution through our system we will transmit your entire press release including any personal information therein contained to our media contacts and online distribution points including search engines. This is the only redistribution of your information that we engage in. Your submission of press releases through our system indicates consent with this policy. The information we collect during your registration process is used to notify users about updates to our service and inform users of any special events hosted by Hotel Newswire. This information is not shared with other organizations for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

Cookies: Our system requires the use of cookies to enable the user to log back into our website to access information from the newswire, without having to log in each time using the required username and password.

If you do not want to receive email from us in the future, please let us know by following instructions included in our communication with you. Users who supply us with telephone numbers online may receive telephone contact from us regarding their account, or informing them of new products and services available on the HotelExecutive website. If you do not wish to receive such telephone calls, please edit your account and remove your phone number from your account profile. This can be done from your user account menu.

Ad Servers: We do not partner with or have any relationship with any ad server companies. From time to time, we may use customer information for new uses not previously disclosed in our privacy notice. If our information practices change at any time, we will post the policy changes to our website to notify you of these changes and provide you with the ability to opt out of these new uses. If you are concerned about how your information is used, you should check back at our website periodically.

Upon request we provide site visitors with access to all information (including proprietary information) that we maintain about them. Users can access this information by logging in to their account.

Security: We always use industry-standard encryption technologies while transferring and receiving user data exchanged with our site. We have appropriate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of information that we have collected from you on our site. We do not store credit card information in our systems.

If you feel that this site is not following its stated information policy, you may contact us.

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

W. Don Turner
Marc Stephen Shuster
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Fred B. Roedel, III
Darrell Schuurman
Amy Bair
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Kristi White
Coming up in January 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.