Interview with Kristopher Wekarchuk, General Manager, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec
Hozpitality Interviewed Kristopher Wekarchuk, General Manager, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec
Kristopher is a fun loving and fair hotelier who gets results by remaining approachable, true and ethical.
Graduating from the Quebec Institute of Tourism in Hospitality (ITHQ), he gained his initial experience by working from the bottom up at many different hotels throughout the greater Montreal area in most frontline positions.
For the last 10 years he has been associated with IHG and Holiday Inn, spending 7 years as Front Office Manager at the full service Holiday Inn Montreal-Longueuil which led him to manage his first property for the Groupe Robin, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Saint-Hyacinthe. After a couple years with the company, the opportunity to build and open a new hotel was presented to him – which he immediately jumped on and 2 years later the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Vaudreuil-Dorion was born.
A recent promotion to Director of Hotel Operations has Kristopher focussed not only on his hotel but on support and guidance of IHG sister hotel, new hotel project coordination, construction and openings. Currently IHG is working on their third Holiday Inn Express & Suites hotel in the dynamic city of Trois-Rivières – located between Montreal and Québec city.
Married and father of two young sons (Noah & Jaxson), Kristopher be heading back to school in September to McGIll University to complete a mini-MBA program to gain the necessary tools to better oversee hotel operations.
Hozpitality:- What is the main attraction of your property?
Kristopher :- Our location is absolutely key - being at the intersections of highways, 20, 30 & 40 and a few kilometers from the 401 & 417 (Toronto and Ottawa). We are all things for all people - whether you’re just driving through, here on business or for a leisure stay.
Hozpitality:- What can a tourist at your Hotel get that he will not find anywhere else? What is that one thing which makes this property different?
Kristopher :- For starters, I’ll boast and tell you that our customer service is second to none – we do a whole lot with a small, dedicated team of spirited individuals. Secondly, our hotel is LEED certified for eco-responsible building! Our sister property in Saint-Hyacinthe was the first hotel in Canada to hold this distinguished title, we are the third!
Hozpitality:- What’s your most urgent priority for 2016?
Kristopher :- As a newcomer to the area (and only being one year old) our priority will be to grow awareness of our property outside our local borders. We truly believe that our location is an asset for all.
Hozpitality:- Has your Hotel ever won an award? What was it for?
Kristopher :- We were bestowed IHG’s Developer of the Year Award for 2016 and have picked up TripAdvisor and Hotel.com rewards for Top Performers as well as the TripAdivsor GreenLeader Silver award. We are currently striving to achieve IHG’s Toarchbearer award!
Hozpitality:- How is your Holiday Inn Express different from the other IHG hotels?
Kristopher :- I think we stand out by our design - most guests are truly baffled when they walk in! We worked very closely with IHG to push the limits (within the limits) of what the Holiday Inn Express Brand stands for and have developed a truly unique product with local flair.
Hozpitality:- Are you a family friendly hotel? Tell us more about it.
Kristopher :- Obviously! A gym area and salt-water pool and the main attractions along with our wide-open Great Room that acts a multi-faceted area for guest to get out of their rooms and come play cards or a board game or even order-in a meal and having a communal meal!
Hozpitality:- Tell us something about career development, training and staff motivation at your Hotel.
Kristopher :- As a whole, our ownership (Le Groupe Robin) works very hard at acquiring and retaining top talents as well as motivating people with great new challenges. For example, this hotel was an opportunity for 3 of our top employees from our sister-property to live a once-in-a-lifetime experience of opening a hotel! Furthermore, on-top of the mandatory IHG training credits, we allow employees to follow classes that can be useful for both the hotel and themselves and partially refund par our the tuition. Ultimately, happy employees equal happy guests!
Rapid Fire questions:-
Hozpitality:- If you could be successful in another profession, which would you choose?
Kristopher :- Architect
Hozpitality:- Your wife cooked something for you on a special occasion but you do not like the dish at all, what would you do?
Kristopher :- Eat it. Happy wife, happy life.
Hozpitality:- How long can you (comfortably) go without checking your emails or texts? How do you feel about that?
Kristopher :- 30-40 minutes… I don’t think that’s too too bad?
Hozpitality:- Where + when do you get your BEST IDEAS?
Kristopher :- Mowing the lawn or in the shower.
Interview by Raj Bhatt, CEO- Hozpitality Group, MENA and North America.