Anike Belanger

GM, Days Inn Berthierville , PQ

Alex & Anike

I have been in the Hotel Industry for 18 years.
I have worked in 8 hotels in Canada + Internationally.

My first job/position in the hotel industry was when I was 15 years old, working weekends as part of the Housekeeping Team. My dad wanted me to learn everything I could in hotel business. Even though I was his daughter, he made me start at the bottom at work my way up. I am grateful for this because I have seen and worked in every department.

The number of times I have…
opened a hotel: 1
renovated a hotel: 2
removed a dead body: 1
escorted a guest off the property: 5
seen a ghost in a hotel: 0
kept “it” confidential: 5
driven a guest to the hospital: 1
dealt with an “Act of God”: 2
performed Housekeeping Duties (made beds, scrubbed toilets): 19
taken a sick day: 0

What does it take to be a GM?
A lot of patience, a touch of humour, a big imagination, a sunshine smile and a drive to be challenged every day.

The three things I can’t live without are:
1-Smiling every day,
2-Achieving a gold standard
3- Lots of coffee 🙂

My caffeine fix: Coffee- way too many cups to say!

When I wake up, the first thing I think about is my cup of coffee.

The people that have inspired me the most are my Dad and Gilles Blais who have worked together for almost 40 years. They have mentored and inspired me to be a good Hotelier and a good person. Even with all the bumps on the road, they trained me with patience, confidence and trust. I am the person and Hotelier today because of them. Most importantly, they showed me how to be a team worker and taught me to surround myself with good people. There is nothing more inspiring than to work with a kind and hard working Father as a Hotelier.

My most embarrassing encounter with a hotel guest was with a sleep walker who came downstairs to get ice, naked.

My most famous hotel guest was Joannie Rochette.

My most bizarre special request was from a staff member who needed to take the rest of the day off because her cat was about to give birth.

My most bizarre special request was from a guest who asked me to stop traffic on the highway, as it was too noisy for him.

Best CANADIAN hotel for a entertaining/fun/dirty/wild weekend: Le Château et Suite Grand-Allée Québec
Best CANADIAN hotel for a shopping trip: Intercontinental Montréal
Best CANADIAN hotel for business travel: Sheraton Calgary
Best CANADIAN convention hotel: Château Frontenac Quebec City
Best CANADIAN airport hotel: The loft Montréal
Best CANADIAN resort: l’Esterel
Best RESTAURANT in a CANADIAN hotel: Le Galopin in Sepia Hotel Québec city and La Fenouillière Best Western Québec City

The best advice given to me- never judge someone by the way they are dressed.

My biggest pet peeve when visiting “other” hotels is when the front desk clerk doesn’t make eye contact, with no smile, or energy, they only stare at their computer while they are checking me in. When this happens, I usually ask if I need to pay to have a smile.

The Hotel amenity I can’t live without is body cream.

The worst feeling in the world is feeling alone.

If I could change one thing about the hotel industry, it would it be the perception people have about hotel workers. A lot of people think front desk clerks, bartenders, and restaurant staff have an easy job. But we are dedicated professionals- not everybody can be a great bartender, server or front desk clerk. We are human beings providing exceptional service, not servants.

If I could meet one person (alive or dead) it would it be Emile Nelligan.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have learned English when I was younger. And that is it 🙂 .  I would not change anything else as I am happy about the person I am today!

I prefer…
Night over Day
Summer over Winter
East Coast over West Coast
Sunrise over Sunset
Loud over Quiet
Rock over Classical Music.

The “best hotel story” of my career.
There are so many stories but the one I still laugh about happened about a year ago. We had a big storm and the power went out, but every so often the power would come back on which made all the electronics go crazy. The main doors kept opening and closing, the elevator went nuts and all the computers kept beeping. While we were installing flash lights and candles everywhere, a guest approached me and asked “There’s no power, but the elevator still works?” .  I answered, “ Yes, of course, a squirrel is there providing service”. I stopped and quickly thought about what I just said to the guest, and we both started laughing!