Canada has weathered the financial slowdown of 2008-2009 far better than our neighbors to the south. I won’t get into reasons. For that, good starting points are my trusty old friends Google and Wikipedia. The latter for a foundation of research topics and the former to locate educated opinions in prominent economically-slanted journals.
Despite whatever comparative ‘victory’ is implied by this opening statement, Canada is nonetheless wholly dependent on the United States – for trade, for defense and for cultural exchange, to name three. As such, I doubt there’s any rational Canadian who hasn’t watched or discussed the US Presidential Debates and both parties’ leanings within the past few months. The election outcome is as important to us as it is to Americans.
However, our Canadian views will forever be biased by the simple fact that we do not live in the United States (nor am I a dual citizen). Moreover, I live in Toronto. As the home of our nation’s leading, and incredibly solvent, banks and with more construction projects than any other metropolis in North America, Toronto has been in a state of boom for the past few years. Come see for yourself. The skyline is practically unrecognizable from what it was 12 years ago. Barring any imminent condo market crash and with a stroke of divine providence, we have become fairly ‘recession proof’.
Likewise, Toronto’s hospitality industry has also hit pay dirt. Ritz-Carlton, Trump and Shangri-la all now have opulent locales downtown, and a new 52-story Four Seasons stands as a shining blue obelisk just over a mile north. This, and an innumerable supply of extra, and exceedingly occupied, guestrooms spread across new hotel openings and building conversions from other non-household names.
I don’t mean to brag. Rather, I write this with the wish that everyone enjoy the same level of optimism and renewal for your city, town or country, wherever that may be. And I believe it’s possible in the very near future, boom or bust. As the noted pop economics author Thomas L. Friedman puts it, “The world is flat.” Or, at the very least, it’s flattening. With an array of new channels for new travel consumers and hundreds of at-your-fingertips methods to reinvent the status quo, any hotel can thrive in today’s market. All that’s needed is the willpower to work hard and to never stop learning.
What does any of that have to do with the election? Everything and nothing. Looking down from north of the border, the first difference for us is the striking divisiveness between the Republicans and Democrats. I for one feel as though this is borne out of a mercurial combination of love and fear.
Many Americans are afraid of a faltering international hegemony, turbulent manufacturing changes and a host of other exhausting contemporary issues with no clear-cut solution in sight. But, there’s also a lot of love and this will always rule the day. I’ve traveled all over the United States and not once have I come across a group of people who didn’t love their country.
Regardless of who wins the election, every hotel’s fortunes are totally manager-centric. The bold actions you take to continually improve your operations; your experiments with social media tactics, software upgrades or new food recipes; your passionate and prudent mentoring of team members; your scrupulous monitoring of trade publications; your ability to keep an open mind about new styles of management or business opportunities; and the love you give back to your property each and every day will always be the quintessential tools for success.
I love living in Toronto and I love the clients I work with. I’m proud to contribute to this burgeoning city by employing and mentoring other passionate Torontonians. My suggestion to you is to adopt a similar attitude and you can’t go wrong. Love your hotel and love your country. Make both stronger through diligence and hard work.
(Article published in HOTELSmag on November 5, 2012)