The Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association’s 98th Annual Convention and Trade Show was an absolute success, with over 200 properties in attendance, and so many exciting programs and events that it’s hard to even keep track! It kicked off with the only accommodation industry trade show in Alberta, where attendees discovered new products, met new potential suppliers, and witnessed the latest technology available on the market.

This year’s Opening Keynote, sponsored by Western Financial Group, focused on leading talent development with speaker Michael Timms. Delegates learned key elements that set industry-leading companies apart from their competitors, and how to turn their properties into a “talent magnet”. Michael Timms teaches that the biggest difference between industry-leading organizations and mediocre ones is the ability to consistently develop their employees. Delegates left knowing the strategies that a world-class leadership and talent development program uses, and the necessary steps to implement one of these strategies themselves.

Following that, the sessions were informative and thought-provoking as always. This year featured sessions where experts discussed workplace culture, the upcoming legalization of marijuana, employment law, and many more hot industry topics.


“It is always a pleasure to see old friends and meet new people. Seeing new products and services and attending informational sessions reinvigorates and motivates our team.”

– Barbara Koziak, Chateau Louis Hotel & Conference Centre


A stand-out session was “Insight on Government”, offering an insider’s view of what is driving Alberta’s politics and government decision making. Attendees gained significant knowledge on how hotels can influence government actions as our political landscape continues to evolve. The “Room for Accessibility” session, in partnership with the Voice of Albertans with Disabilities (VAD), was both educational and engaging.

The Housekeeping Awards Gala is an event that many look forward to, where attendees join together to recognize the hard working housekeepers who deliver the highest level of cleanliness to visitors. Front line staff from all over Alberta celebrated the hard work and attention to detail that goes into achieving the coveted Housekeeping Award at this legendary industry event. The Minister of Culture and Tourism, the Honourable Ricardo Miranda, presented the award enthusiastically to each and every recipient, adding to the excitement of the evening.

The next morning, delegates headed into more business sessions, this time highlighted by the “Alberta Accommodation Outlook” where a panel from CBRE presented market intelligence on the state of Alberta’s lodging sector, current existing economic and market conditions, and projected hotel supply and demand.

The AHLA’s Gold Key Award celebrates employees at all levels who exemplify the attitude and dedication needed to serve guests and promote Alberta’s tourism industry. Recipients were awarded a certificate and gold lapel pin to recognize their commitment to the hospitality industry at the Gold Key Luncheon on Tuesday. It was wonderful to celebrate with the employees who have committed themselves to Alberta’s tourism & hospitality industry!

Michael Timms took the stage once again for the Closing Session, where he switched gears and spoke on legendary leadership. Michael says that all leaders, even bad ones, are always teaching, and that people are constantly watching their leaders for cues on how to behave or what to do. The difference between true leaders, and those who merely occupy leadership positions, is that leaders regularly ask themselves “what am I teaching?” followed by “what do I want to be teaching?” They then establish simple practices to become the type of leader that others want to follow.

Everyone can (and should) be a leader. This session was not only beneficial for managers, but for anyone who wants to be intentional about the impact they have on others. Michael Timms showed our delegates how to be a leader whose influence goes beyond personal reach, lasting for generations.

Finally, the convention ended with the glamourous Chairman’s Dinner, where Perry Batke, outgoing Chair of the AHLA’s Board of Directors, honoured the properties that achieved the 2017 Employer of Choice designation. As a special treat, delegates headed outside after the Chairman’s Dinner for a bonfire complete with hot chocolate and s’mores, a first for the convention and an event unique to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

The convention was incredible from start to finish, and next year’s promises to be superb as the AHLA celebrates their centennial year at the Fairmont Banff Springs April 14-16, 2019. See you there!