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Aphy in the Great White North 🇨🇦
We’re less than a week away to HITEC in Toronto. We’ll be pitching for the Hotel Tech Entrepreneur Award – E20X. To celebrate, this special issue is about all things red, white and maple leaf.
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Lessons from an industry innovator
Toronto is the birthplace of the formidable hotel franchise, Four Seasons. The founder, Isadore Sharp shaped the way hospitality is today and taught us an invaluable lesson. But before we get to it, let’s take a trip down memory lane…
It’s the late 50s. Sharp is a junior architect working for his father. One day while drawing a renovation of his client’s motel, he saw an opportunity. How he coined the idea of making every hotel distinctive yet united by its exceptional service and savoir-faire is not clear. Perhaps travellers’ frustrations 70 years ago are similar to today? Nevertheless, he launched a real estate and hospitality career, raised enough capital, and then invested in the Four Season Motor Inn. The rest is history.
Back to 2023, the Aphy team is packing for Toronto. For most, it’s their first time in Canada. We’re excited, pumped… and nostalgically connecting Sharp’s story with the reason we’re heading to his home city. After all, he made hospitality what it is by treating people the way he’d like to be treated – humanely.
In his memoir, Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy he says: “We can upgrade technical skills with training, but no amount of training can…create responsibility and initiative.” Aphy was built on this principle. While Four Seasons has a skilled, kind workforce to fulfill its promise, outside this top luxury segment hotels face a dilemma: hire more people (and increase cost), or become more efficient. It’s sad that even after Isadore Sharp's vision transformed high-end hospitality, hoteliers still face these problems 62 years later. Empowering hotel teams with responsibility, or having the time to show initiative is still often a foreign concept.
In a recent LinkedIn post, Matthijs Welle – CEO of Mews – highlights how hotels are using outdated processes for just about everything – from check-in at the front-of-house to reconciliation at the back of house. There’s a spreadsheet open for this, a tab open for that. It’s what we call the Messyverse.
The worst part is those processes didn’t exist in the 60s! We’ve overcomplicated things. How can the great people in hospitality show responsibility and initiative when they’re overrun with processes to complete?
Luckily, there are conferences like HITEC. It’s where the global travel tech market helps hoteliers with time-saving automation tech and more. After all, if hotel teams aren’t doing what they do best – hospitality – we’re forgetting the key lesson one of the industry’s most influential leaders taught us!
Events: where to catch us
HITEC Toronto: 26–29 June
If it wasn’t obvious in the first part of this newsletter, it should be now. This special issue of The Perspective is a nod to the Great White North – where we’ll be next week! Meet us at booth D1 of the E20X Innovation Lab. There are no Office Hours in Barcelona this month.
Top picks in Toronto:
🥕 Foodies, stuff you face at the French-inspired Café Boulud. With a seasonal menu, everything is freshly made and magnifique! Like a curry? You’ll LOVE Pukka, an unparalleled Indian restaurant with an Indian culinary team, weighted in awards for their sensational dishes.
🎫 Expand your mind at the Aga Khan museum. Until 1 October, the Rumi exhibition takes you on a visual journey through the life and legacy of Sufi mystic.
🍸 We hear El Catrin makes a mean margarita. Cheers to that!
📻 Jetlag got you beat? Grab a coffee and crank up METZ.
Founded by hoteliers, for hoteliers
No one went to hotel school to sit in front of a screen for 10 hours a day. With Aphy, hotel teams don’t have to. Our tech takes the repetitive, labour-intensive tasks off your hands so your team focusses on what they do best – hospitality. This free newsletter is a celebration of our beloved industry and a way to kick-start conversations. Get involved! Share everything from emerging trends, local events or what automation you’re using. We’re all ears.