Boutique Quebec hotel looks forward to greater international exposure through membership in CTC’s program.
The doors are open again for more applications to join the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)’s Signature Experiences Collection® (SEC). It currently has 115 Canadian tourism businesses on the membership list, but is on the lookout for more.
The Collection is creating intrigue both at home and abroad. CTC’s exhaustive research indicates that these quality tourism experiences are just what the travel doctor has ordered for international visitors. That story is being reinforced by first-hand accounts from within Canada’s tourism industry. Here, Michel Couture, principal of L’Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations, tells CTC News what brought the hotel into the Collection and how it should stimulate future business.
The architecture of L’Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations was inspired by Aboriginal longhouses—blending stone, leather and wood in its construction. Surrounded by themed gardens and walking trails, the hotel’s museum evokes the art, culture and history of the Huron-Wendat and other First Nations peoples.
When did you decide to get into the business of tourism? What inspired you?
Opening a hotel in Wendat territory became necessary due to the growing demand for Aboriginal tourism. The hotel opened in March 2008 as part of Québec City’s 400th-anniversary celebrations. The First Nations, including the Huron-Wendat, had been invited by the Quebec government to be part of the anniversary, and the hotel formed a major part. The hotel allows visitors to have a complete Aboriginal experience.
Have you worked with the CTC before? If so, how did that go?
We’ve worked with CTC co-ordinating some familiarization tours and co-op advertising. We were also part of CTC’s LOCALS KNOW [domestic] campaign in 2010.
When did you first hear of the Signature Experiences Collection®?
We first heard that CTC was launching this Collection about a year ago.
Were you familiar with any of the CTC’s free toolkits prior to joining the SEC? If so, which ones (e.g. Brand Toolkit, Experiences Toolkit, EQ Toolkit)?
No, but we talked with Pierre Faucher, owner of La Sucrerie de la Montagne, whose business was on the original list. He told of his experience joining the program, which was very positive, and he thought it was a good idea that we should apply because we have a unique experience in the Québec City region. Not least, most of our staff members are First Nations.
What motivated you to apply?
It was the exposure that membership could bring to the hotel throughout the world. Up to now we’ve been working with the Francophone part of the European market. We knew that being part of the SEC would be very good synergy. We expect that every member of the Collection will be learning from each other and referring customers.
Was the application process straightforward?
We felt comfortable filling it in, finding the good points and highlighting the differences that make our hotel special.
What immediate benefits do you see for your business now that you are part of the Collection?
We should get far better exposure with travel agents straight away.
Are you promoting your membership? If so, how?
We’re still in the planning stages, but at the very least we will take advantage of placing the Collection logo on our website.
Does becoming a member of the SEC give the hotel kudos within the Canadian travel industry?
Yes, for sure. We believe it will be a great help to us through the Canadian tourism industry, especially travel agents.
Are there specific international markets that you can see your business resonating in through the Signature Experiences Collection®?
Definitely in Europe and the US: SEC membership should help us reach out beyond the Francophone markets and grow our client base, particularly in the UK and Germany.