Victoria Chamber and VIREB Commercial Building Awards For Accent and Hotel Zed in May
VICTORIA – Mandy Farmer and Accents Inns struck double gold this month.
Mandy Farmer, CEO of Accents Inns, received the Community Builder award in the 2021 Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce Awards, which followed their Hotel Zed winning the Hospitality Category in the 14th annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards May 7.
“At Accent Inns Inc. we believe in leading with love and this award means that this principle permeates beyond our buildings into the communities that we work in,” says Farmer. “Here we are always asking ourselves, ‘how can we help?’ And it is my team that finds these amazing opportunities to care for our communities. I am so proud of my team and the big hearts they have.”
Accents Inns’ efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic have been extraordinary, led by positive leadership and their values: “Be Real; Make Everything Better, Have Each Other’s Backs and Have Fun.”
Being pro-active and creative not only helped many others, it resulted in Accent Inns outperforming competitors in Revenue Per Available Room by 2.6 times from March to June, and their occupancy outperformed competitors by 2.5 times.
When the pandemic hit, Accent Inns got a call from a local nurse on the verge of tears because some of her nursing staff were sleeping in their cars to avoid exposing their families to the virus. Accent Inns responded with a rock bottom rate for essential workers to safely isolate and took it to media to spread the word.
Immediately, their phones started ringing off the hook, with community members offering to pay for the stays. Within 24 hours they connected with United Way of Greater Victoria and created the Hotels for Frontline Workers Fund. To date, this fund has raised $120,000 to cover the costs of these stays.
Accent Inns also worked with local schools to initiate a letter-writing campaign where students could thank frontline workers, and the letters were posted in their rooms.
Accent Inns also helped Variety, the Children’s Charity, as they needed help supporting BC families with special needs children. Accent Inns launched the No Ducks Left Behind Campaign, which gave guests an option to donate 25% of their stay to Variety, which raised almost $10,000 on top of Accent Inn’s corporate donations.
Accent Inns also transformed their reservations team into a call centre for Variety’s Boat for Hope event.
Accent Inns has five locations in the province, including Vancouver Airport, Burnaby, Kelowna and Kamloops. Hotel Zed has three: Victoria, Kelowna and Tofino.
The Tofino location opened last year, and has been an instant success.
There were 45 finalists in the VIREB Commercial Building Awards, and Hotel Zed was judged to be one of 11 Award of Excellence Winners.
Hotel Zed transformed the Tofino highway property from a hotel to an experiential travel destination. By expanding the occupancy from 30 rooms to 60 and adding one-of-a-kind amenities, this renovation increased growth potential by 157% year over year while still respecting the natural environment and traditional First Nations guardianship of the land.
Hotel Zed Tofino is the first hotel in the world with a bike-through lobby, which is a “detoured extension” of Tofino’s Multi Use Path that is open to locals and guests alike. Other completely unordinary amenities include a mini-disco with a light-up dance floor and a secret retro arcade that is revealed by a moving wall.
“When opening Hotel Zed in Tofino we became the first accommodations partner to sign on with Tribal Park Allies,” notes Farmer. “As part of this commitment we ask guests to contribute 1 per cent of their bill to the Tribal Parks Allies Program so the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation can continue the restoration and guardianship of their lands.”