Prairie Beginnings to a National Presence: Innovative Strategies for Growth and Success
Airline Hotels began as a local business in 1972 and has since created a national footprint. Our keynotes will describe how they have kept their spark over the years by using an effective strategy for growth and how they evaluate opportunities for expansion in a changing market. Airline has faced many barriers to enter into new markets and has managed to achieve success over the years. Keeping a consistent message from corporate office to the front lines can often be skewed, but Airline Hotels has kept strong communication channels with their employees and has brought a true community feel to the guests who stay with them. Overall, we will learn how Airline Hotels has used technology and innovation to stay not only competitive, but an industry leader for guest experience.
Betty Anne Latrace-Henderson
Betty Anne is the President of Airline Hotels and her family the majority shareholders. She stepped into her role as President taking over from her ailing father – the company’s founder in 2000. She brought with her a vision for a much larger enterprise, but one that stayed true to its values and founding roots. As she stepped into this role, she felt the Board starting to break apart. She knew that the Board in its then current form would hinder the achievement of her vision. She began analyzing the company’s needs and weaknesses to put together a matrix of the future Board she needed to help the company live into its potential. She then dismissed nearly the entire company’s Board of Directors - an all-male, aging Board that had been put in place in the 1970’s. With a new Board in place, Betty Anne brought in well-respected industry leaders to help make the vision a reality. Over the course of the next 12 years, Airline purchased eight additional hotels, signed multiple management agreements to operate for other owners and has been recognized and celebrated with countless industry and business awards. Airline’s family is now 900 associates large and Betty Anne is the anchor to the things that matter most in Airline – Respect, Integrity, Teamwork and Entrepreneurship. She is a caring, compassionate leader bringing the spirit of her past accomplishments as a retail entrepreneur and educator to all she does. You can either find Betty Anne riding her bike to work or caught giving a warm hug to one of her many 900 Airline family members – her associates.
Dan is a Chief Operating Officer with Airline Hotels. Dan joined Airline in January 2011 as the Vice President of Finance and quickly became an integral leader in the operation of the entire company. Under Dan’s leadership, Airline evolved from a decentralized method of accounting and finance to a collaborative organization that operates in a much more sophisticated manner. Dan was also instrumental in many of the company’s hotel purchases and now leads the acquisition and development activities. In his co-leading role with Jaret Waddell, Dan is also responsible for all aspects of company operation from Accounting and Finance to Sales and Marketing, Human Resources and Capital improvements. He lead Airline through transformational change in 2015/16 restructuring the entire organization to bring about centralization and regionalization of all major divisions to prepare the company for its next phase of growth and even found time to enjoy the occasional pint. Dan is highly regarded by all of the Airline associates and all of his past colleagues In SaskTel where he worked for 14 years finishing as the Director of Customer Relations. He is a true entrepreneur finding opportunity around every corner and helping others grow. If he’s not at work, you might find Dan at any of his kids many activities, in the curling rink, or on the Golf Course.
Jaret is a Chief Operating Officer with Airline Hotels. Jaret joined Airline back in 2003 as the company had just acquired its second hotel – the Quality Hotel Downtown Saskatoon (now Hilton Garden Inn). After spending time working in both of Airline’s hotels (Hilton Garden Inn and Travelodge Saskatoon), he went on to help form the Corporate Head Office. Working to help lead Airline through it’s next phase of growth, Jaret helped acquire and onboard all of Airline’s next seven properties and management contracts. Jaret has specialized in Revenue Management and franchise negotiations. He was recognized as Canada’s first graduate from the joint Hilton Hotel Corporation and Cornell University School of Hospitality Operations Revenue Management University. Jaret works with Dan Folk in leading all of the company’s operations, focused on Hotel Operations, Information Technology and Revenue Management. Together, they have restructured the organization to prepare it for growth into the future. Having worked his entire career in hotels, Jaret enjoys working with Airline’s 900 associates and still spends time in the hotels connecting with Associates and Guests whenever possible. If he’s not in a hotel or at his desk, you probably won’t see Jaret as he’s either off at one of the kids activities, or if he’s really lucky – fishing.