Posted By: SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
Interview: Heather Hamilton, National Director, Brand Relations and Integration
Heather started with SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts in our early days as CHIP REIT as Director of Sales with the then Convention Inn Hotel in South Edmonton. Heather’s dedication and leadership lead her to becoming the first Regional Director of Sales for Alberta, based at the then Mayfield Inn & Suites West Edmonton (now the newest DoubleTree by Hilton West Edmonton). In 2000 Heather transferred to Calgary to take on the Southwest region which included Seattle, British Columbia and Southern Alberta as their Regional Director of Sales & Marketing. Heather continued to thrive in this region leading it through many stages and changes over the next 13 years. In addition to her Regional responsibilities Heather also assisted our sales managers and directors by facilitating the Sales Training courses for SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts. In February 2013, Heather embarked on her newest adventure into the new role of Brand Relations and Integration, in this role Heather assists all of our branded hotels and new opening hotels. Heather lives in Calgary with her husband, two daughters and three dogs. In her spare time Heather loves to give back to the community by volunteering for ARF – Animal Rescue Foundation by fostering and rehabilitating animals until they can find a new forever home.
SBHR: What value is most important when you think about your role as National Director, Brand Relations & Integration?
HH: Performance – assisting in the opening of our new hotels as quickly and efficiently as possible.
SBHR: In your role you are working with many different brand and hotel teams. What value do you keep top of mind when juggling these different experiences?
HH: Engagement – every team is different. In this role I need to get to know each team and what makes them motivated. Each team member has different communication styles, motivators and challenges. In order to best assist them in the opening of their hotel and learning all of their hotel brand information I need to engage with them in the way that will best work with each one so we can successfully open their new hotel.
SBHR: what do you “value” the most in your role?
HH: Quality! We believe that our (SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts) hotels are the top of the brand! Quality is critical when creating transitions that are as smooth and effective as possible by ensuring all critical paths, launch plans and preopening documents are detailed and accurate and communicated to the brand, hotel and operations team.
SBHR: You are involved in the transition and opening of our new properties, what value(s) has(ve) been most helpful to you in this process?
HH: I think there are two qualities that have been most helpful performance and quality. It is extremely important that the new property has group and corporate business pre-booked so when the hotel doors open we have customers streaming in. Our sales teams need to perform proactively and sell the benefits of the new hotel in the community and feeder markets. It is my job to ensure this is happening. The “word of mouth” through social media from these first customers is critical so a quality experience is essential to ramp up the business, exceed our guest’s expectations and achieve the goals of the hotel.
SBHR: Of all of our values, which one influences your day to day activities the most?
HH: Engagement. Engagement with the customer is critical. Working with the transition hotels to develop new relationships with our customers and brands will ensure a successful hotel opening. Engaging with our customers is the most important thing we can do day to day. At SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts we are “Guest Obsessed”.
SBHR: What is the most rewarding hotel experience you have encountered?
HH: Wow, tough question. Several of our hotels in transition have shut down for an extended period of time to complete the renovation project. The associates have had to move on to find new jobs, this has been a time of sadness and stress for the teams. Our Human Resources department has done such a great job of keeping in touch with our associates during the closure and bringing them back to SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts when the hotel reopens. The most rewarding experience was the opening of the Residence Inn by Marriott Vancouver Downtown when I had the opportunity to spend a few days with the housekeeping team setting up the guestrooms. We spent the days putting operating stock and equipment in all of the guestrooms. There were boxes and packing supplies everywhere! All of the Housekeeping ladies had come back to SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts, and were so proud of their new hotel, and were most excited to invite the guests back to see the new product. It was so rewarding to see how engaged and proud these associates were and how hard they were willing to work to get the job done. When we actually opened the hotel and welcomed the first guest it was extremely rewarding. There were hugs and high fives all around!