Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2 October 2017: Global Hotel Alliance (“GHA”), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, today announced that James Simmonds has been appointed to the newly-created role of Global Head of Development.

In this new role, Simmonds will build and lead a team to source upscale and luxury hotel brand partners to join GHA’s growing portfolio of 35 hotel brands worldwide. This growth objective is a key driver of GHA’s five-year strategic plan, significantly increasing from 110,000 rooms today. 

Simmonds brings a wide range of experience in business development and asset management, having worked for both hotel brands and real estate investors. Prior to joining GHA, Simmonds held senior development roles at Belmond, Rosewood Hotel Group and Mubadala Investment Company, working in London, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi. In these roles, Simmonds has acquired an extensive industry network and is well-positioned to attract new brands to join GHA.

GHA is the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, created to help its members to compete more effectively in the face of the industry consolidation among major hotel companies and the growing marketing power of online travel agencies. Member hotels share an integrated global platform for guest recognition and loyalty rewards, DISCOVERY, which this summer welcomed its 10 millionth member.

“We are delighted that James has joined our senior team; he has an impressive track-record and I am confident in his ability to attract new partners to our family of independent hotel brands,” says Chris Hartley, GHA’s CEO. “GHA’s business has grown considerably in recent years, and now that we have created this new role, we are looking to expand our alliance membership to the next level, competing effectively against the major hotel brands in the loyalty and CRM space, and offering a compelling solution for brands wishing to remain independent.”

Originally from the UK where he graduated with first class honours from the University of Surrey, Simmonds started his career in London at Ernst & Young, before moving to Deloitte’s corporate finance hospitality team.


The scenario is familiar. Your hospitality brand is under attack online from all sides it seems.  Some reviews are thoughtful but most are not, and you’re worried that your brand will suffer, and your business.

What can you do?

According to some new research, the one thing you can do that may make all the difference is to take the time to respond.  According to a forthcoming study in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science, a leading academic marketing journal, management responses can not only lead to higher ratings for businesses, but also more substantive reviews even if they aren’t all positive. 

The study found that online ratings increase - not because consumers are more satisfied with the business - but because unsatisfied customers are less likely to post baseless negative comments. In addition, even negative reviews are improved because they tend to be longer and are more likely to provide substantive, useful feedback. 

The study, “Online Reputation Management: Estimating the Impact of Management Responses on Consumer Reviews,” is authored by researchers from the University of Southern California and Boston University.

The authors examined tens of thousands of hotel reviews and responses from TripAdvisor, which bills itself as “the world's largest travel site.” The practice of responding to reviews is common on TripAdvisor. Roughly one in three consumer reviews receives a response from hotel management, and more and more managers are adopting the practice.

The study finds that when hotels begin to respond, they receive 12 percent more reviews, and their ratings increase by an average of 0.12 stars. While this gain appears modest, ratings tend to vary little over time. Therefore, even a small change in ratings can have a significant impact on how hotels are perceived by consumers and how they are ranked by review platforms. “Our results suggest that signaling to consumers that managers care about their feedback is a good strategy that can boost review volume and ratings,” the researchers said. 

The study also explores why ratings increase when managers start responding.

For example, if the timing of management responses is shortly after hotel renovations it may seem that responding leads to better ratings when the true underlying cause is improvements in hotel quality. So, is it just a coincidence that ratings increase when managers start responding or is there a direct link between responding and improved ratings? 

The study found that in the end, what researchers discovered is that when managers read and respond to reviews, unsatisfied consumers become more hesitant to leave unsubstantiated complaints, directly leading to higher ratings.

But there is a catch, according to the authors. While management responses may discourage some consumers from leaving negative reviews altogether, other consumers may decide to make their negative feedback more substantive when managers are listening. The study finds that while negative reviews become less frequent when managers respond, they also become longer.

“This is an interesting trade-off for managers: fewer negative ratings at the cost of more detailed negative feedback,” concluded the researchers. "While this may hurt in the short run, it is a valuable source of feedback that businesses can act upon to fix problems and avoid future negative reviews.” 


Montreal (QC), September 11 2017 — In September 2017, Group Germain Hotels will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its Alt banner. Since the opening of Alt Hotel Quartier DIX30 in Brossard in 2007, the banner has become increasingly popular with business and leisure travelers, and today includes seven hotels from the east to the west of Canada. Within a year, this number will increase to 11 with the opening of new Alt Hotels in St. John's, Saskatoon and Calgary, in addition to the Alt+ Hotel that will be located in Brossard. Alt Hotels has several events and promotions planned to mark the occasion and delight their guests!

“Stay unconventional" is the motto at Alt Hotels, but what exactly sets them apart? Here are 10 reasons as original as they are unmatched in the hotel industry:

1.       No set checkout time: Guests who reserve their stay directly by phone or on the website of an Alt Hotel have no set checkout time, a first in the Canadian hotel industry.

2.       Fixed rates:  At Alt, there is no daily fluctuation in the rate, even if a festival or a big event is in full swing.

3.       Eco-responsible features: Alt Hotels use geothermal energy for heating and air conditioning. Alt Hotel Quartier DIX30 was the first hotel in Canada to use this technology. Guests also benefit from charging stations for electric vehicles.

4.       An environment for relaxation and well-being: “Nama-Stay”, a series of online yoga videos that allow guests to do regenerative yoga sessions in the comfort of their room - yoga mat included.

5.       Animal lovers: Well-behaved dogs and pets are welcome in Alt Hotels. A cozy bed and an eating area are also available for pets.

6.       Comfort in style: The ultra-comfortable rooms and meeting spaces are flooded with natural light thanks to their oversized windows. Guests also appreciate the contemporary, intelligent design of the rooms and common areas that invite relaxation and socializing.

7.       An inspiring space: Creative lounges are available for guests in the majority of Alt Hotels to hold informal meetings. There’s nothing better than comfortable sofas, inviting ottomans and a colourful and friendly environment to get the creative juices flowing.

8.       A focus on buying local: Alt Hotels place great importance on buying local. For example, the employees wear clothing designed by Canadian creators, and the works of art hanging in the rooms and common areas are all works by Canadian artists.

9.       Colorful works of art: Altexpo, an impressive mural located in the lobby of each hotel, is a collective work of art made up of thousands of photos from various contests held on Instagram. Guests can contribute and post their photos on the screens of the mural by using the #Altexpo hashtag.

10 years, it’s a celebration!

As for the tenth reason it’s the unconventional way that Alt Hotels are celebrating their anniversary - by pampering their guests! Between September 15 and 21, hotel guests will get to enjoy a number of little surprise touches such as mimosas in the morning, sweet treats and a festive cocktail reception on September 21, the banner’s official birthday. Finally, one guest from each of the seven Alt Hotels will be chosen at random to win one night’s stay at the low price of $10 during the festivities.

“The past 10 years have been very exciting for us," said Christiane Germain, co-president of Group Germain Hotels. "We are proud to welcome a growing number of loyal guests under the Alt banner, which stands out more and more on the Canadian hotel scene. Even better, we are truly pleased to take advantage of this tenth anniversary to pamper our guests in our unconventional way. "


Toronto, ON, September 6 2017: Nestled in Le Germain Hotel, Toronto’s original boutique-hotel in the heart SoKi (South of King), Victor Restaurant has emerged from an extensive makeover. The new concept serves approachable classics while a new cafe and bar complement the offer, in a chic yet warm setting of this neighborhood go-to destination.

“After the 123-hotel guest rooms were beautifully redecorated last year, the time is right for Victor to write a new chapter,” says Hotel General Manager Nicolas Lazarou.

Victor’s new Look

Remodeled by DesignAgency, an award-winning design firm based in Toronto, the team was inspired to create a modern interpretation of the classic, comfortable American-style brasserie. Victor’s highly fluid space now comprises a stunning dining area, an intimate bar, and a coffee-and-breakfast café; each integrates with the other to transition seamlessly with the further-redesigned hotel lobby for a lively feel.

The newly expanded Victor seats 60, with a glass-walled dining room reaching two-storeys high, to complement the open-plan design. The eye-catching 700-square-foot twisted gold metal hanging light fixture and meandering banquettes create an intimate and romantic effect. The restaurant, bar and café are replete with timeless and luxurious details with soft, rich colours, authentic wood and peacock leather. Historic homages come in antique-bronze accents, frosted amber mirrors, playful concrete tiling and soft Salisbury-green table tops. A semi-private table nestled into a discreet alcove is a coveted favourite.

“Victor’s new concept blends the look and flavours of great New York brasseries. It will be the perfect place to have some oysters and a beer before the game, or celebrate good times with friends and family,” adds Michael Sullivan, Director of Food and Beverage and restaurant partner. “Our goal is to make Victor not only a great hotel restaurant for guests, but also make it a cozy and familiar neighbourhood spot to come to any time for a great meal and a drink in a beautiful setting.”

New Menu

The revamped Victor Restaurant menu is relatable and enticing. From festive seafood towers to 36 oz. Tomahawk steaks and award-winning house-ground Victor Burger, Executive Chef Lanny MacLeod’s creations are soulful and rich in nostalgia.

New Victor Bar

With its sophisticated and intimate vibe, the new Victor Bar will delight cocktail enthusiasts, offering a curated wine list and classic cocktails with entertaining names such as ‘The Orange Dictator’ and ‘Mercer Boulevardier’, a nod to the street address. There is even Negroni on tap, a new fun way of serving this all-time favourite cocktail.

New Victor Café

The white wood paneling and pastel colours of the new Victor Café gives the space a cheerful, casual feel. Accessible from the hotel and Mercer Street, the luminous café serves comforting hot beverages and homemade pastries such as lemon tart, dark chocolate cake, and cheesecake by the hotel’s multi-award-winning Pastry Chef Martin Gouthro. Delicious take-away sandwiches and salads are perfect for those on-the-go, while a communal table equipped with convenient power outlets allows locals and hotel guests alike, to work while sipping on high-end fresh roasted coffee.

Bring Victor Home

Responding to popular demand from guests, Chefs Macleod and Gouthro have launched their own home pantry range. Finishing salts made from herbs grown on the hotel's rooftop garden, Macleod’s strawberry sriracha sauce, and Gouthro's homemade jams, marmalades and a variety of granolas are now available for purchase.

For Every Occasion

The new-look Victor is also where breakfast for hotel guests and locals is now served. Perched on the mezzanine, above Victor, ‘The Hatley’ has become a unique event space for up to 100 guests. The versatility of this and other Le Germain Hotel Toronto event spaces enables the hotel to cater receptions large and small.

Photos can be downloaded here



About Le Germain Hotel Toronto

Located at 30 Mercer Street in the heart of the Entertainment District, Le Germain Hotel Toronto and Victor Restaurant is within walking distance of the financial district, the Rogers Centre, the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

About Le Germain Hotels

As the first boutique hotel in Canada, Le Germain believes in the value of staying small and intimate. Whether in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Charlevoix, or soon Ottawa, we ensure that guests are welcomed warmly and continue to enjoy attentive, personalized service throughout their stay. And it all comes wrapped in an elegance matched only by the timeless appeal of our stylish, carefully designed rooms. 

About Group Germain Hotels

Group Germain Hotels is a family-run business that owns and operates Le Germain Hotels and Alt Hotels across Canada. Ranked as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed companies, Group Germain Hotels is renowned for the impeccable warmth and style that characterizes its hotels. Since opening its very first property in 1988, the 1000 staff members of Group Germain Hotels have welcomed a multitude of guests, totaling nearly 4 million overnight stays to date. Visit and


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