Ann asked me to submit to our Blog – EEEK but I don’t blog! After avoiding the subject for several weeks Ann pinned me down. For those of you who know Ann you will appreciate it’s just so hard to say no to Ann.
I was asked to join the LE in 2004 and it was almost a year before I said yes. It took me that long to consider leaving the world of branded hotels where someone else is really calling all the shots on the hotels identity. From corporate speak to what kind of carpet gets laid. I had honed my career to working within and for the brand. I had become the brand in order for me and the hotels I managed to be successful within the company and more importantly within their perspective markets. I am sure many of you understand that you must work the system to maximize the outcomes.
There were so many factors to consider moving to a truly independent hotel. Was the hotel still relevant to its market? Was ownership committed to providing the resources required to the redevelopment of the property? Was ownership in it for the long haul? Would I be given the autonomy I will require to make the necessary organizational changes to transition into a market leader? Can an independent hotel break through the glass ceiling and compete head on with the big branded machines that have consistently dominated the market. After doing my homework I was convinced the LE was a sleeping giant. Nevertheless there are never guarantees. Success is not a given. So the question was did I have the confidence to leave the safety of the brands where I had crafted a very safe career for myself or was it time to take a real risk and leverage all my experience, knowledge, skills and tenacity to lead the LE into the future. For me it was a paradigm shift. No one to fall back on but myself and those I would work with. What a challenge how exciting!
Wow have we broken through the glass ceiling. We truly do compete head on with all of the branded hotels and their corporate machines that support them. In October of 2014 the hotel was recognized as the Star Property of the year by Ottawa Tourism. The Award is given to the hotel that has been recognized by its patrons as the best hotel in the city. Additionally we were recognized by Trip Advisor with a Certificate of Excellence in 2014 and 2015. In every sense of the word we are now considered a leading hotel in the Ottawa Market. We have in a sense created our very own LE brand. One which our associates and guests have come to love.
I am so very, very lucky to be at the helm of the Lord Elgin Hotel where we have created something very special for the associates and most importantly for the guests. There is not a day that goes by where I say gee I wish I was working for a branded hotel. I am so proud of the fact that we are Canadian owned and operated by a truly professional committed Canadian team.
from David Smythe, C.H.A