Opus

B.C.'s second Opus hotel is in Richmond

Accommodation forecasts, plus the benefits of taking your team on the road

LAYOVER ALERT: OPUS VERSANTE

Opus was one of the early boutique hotels, opening in Vancouver’s Yaletown in 2002. Next year it will open a sister property, Opus Hotel Versante, at Richmond’s International Trade Centre at Versante, a new business hub close to the airport and Bridgeport station—just down the Canada Line from the original Opus, across from Yaletown-Roundhouse station. Not yet accepting bookings, the second location will be part of the Yoo Hotels & Resorts group, which has properties in Rio de Janeiro, Phuket, the Cotswolds in the U.K. and, now, Vancouver.

ROOM TO MOVE

American Express’s Global Business Travel’s Hotel Monitor 2020 forecasts some pain for business visitors to Vancouver: hotel rates are expected to climb by 3 percent, similar to price increases anticipated in hot-economy North American cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Mexico City and Toronto. The report points to Vancouver’s relatively tight regulation of alternative accommodation platform Airbnb as one reason for rising hotel bills.chart

THE AI-POWERED HOTEL

Hotel Monitor also predicts that artificial intelligence technology will drive new hotel features: the ability to virtually tour room options before booking, facial recognition at check-in and even robo-concierges that respond with voice-activated service. Whether guests will welcome or avoid these data-powered perks—and the privacy-related concerns they raise—is something to sleep on.

Sharma

Fairmont Hot Springs Resort CEO Vivek Sharma sees an uptick in company retreats

TRAVEL INSIDER

With hotel and resort management experience for companies all over the world like Hilton, Oberoi and Sandals, Vivek Sharma knows business travellers–because he is one. “When I check in, or do it through mobile, I want my keys and to get in the room,” says the CEO of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. “It needs to be functional, with quick Internet and a work desk, and a good sleep.” A great bathroom is his other must-have, because when meeting new colleagues and partners, you literally “put your best face forward”–no bad water pressure or poor lighting for shaving or applying makeup allowed.

As a hotelier, Sharma pays attention to the details, like ensuring a fast-scrolling channel guide on guest TVs and at least two charging outlets per guest, preferably bedside. “Check for lamps or clock radios that have USB ports,” he says, a smart retrofit that outlet-deficient hotels have adopted.

Many hotels offer extended conference rates, to encourage business travellers to come early or stay a day or two, a me-time perk he increasingly sees companies encouraging. “Work-life balance and personal well-being are so much more important on companies’ agendas.”

Sharma also sees more executives investing in off-site retreats or events for their teams. A destination resort allows “someone to go lane swimming in the morning, for a run...to the gym, or just sit on their patio drinking a cup of coffee,” he says. “When everyone shows up for the 8:30 a.m. meeting, they’re refreshed in their own way.” Your team will be focused, without the daily stresses and distractions of home, Sharma emphasizes: an outcome most business leaders would say is priceless.