Mark Nichols

GM, Greenwood Inn & Suites by Fortis Properties

Mark Nichols

I have been in the Hotel Industry for 28 years.
I have worked in 8 hotels in Canada + Internationally.
My first job/position in the hotel industry was as a General Sales Manager responsible for selling and marketing a 68 unit motor/hotel in small town Renfrew, Ontario.

The number of times I have…
escorted a guest off the property: 10
kept “it” confidential: 10
driven a guest to the hospital: 2
dealt with an “Act of God”: 10
performed Housekeeping Duties (made beds, scrubbed toilets): 10
taken a sick day: 10

What does it take to be a GM?
Patience, understanding, being positive (glass half full or more), able to build and maintain good relationships, an ability to see and communicate clearly the “BIG” picture – with employees and guests.

What’s involved day to day?
Everyday is different; filled with different and often times unique challenges and opportunities. Being focused on “WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A GM” makes most things manageable  enjoyable and fulfilling.

The three things I can’t live without are:
1. My Blackberry
2. Daily interaction with guests and employees.
3. Excel

My caffeine fix: Coffee, 4 – 6 cups per day (prefer Latte’s)

When I wake up, the first thing I think about is, sadly, checking my Blackberry for messages received over-night. Usually, there is nothing too important.

I have been fortunate enough to work for and with many outstanding, inspiring Hotelier’s over my career. To name a few, Peter Howard (former GM at CP Chateau Laurier, Jim McEachern (former DOS&M at CP Chateau Laurier and Delta Pacific Resort & Conference Centre), Victor Burt Jr. (former DOS&M at CP Chateau Laurier and GM Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre), Francisco Gomez (for GM Delta Bow Valley and now GM and Regional VP at Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel), R. Gordon Johnson (for GM Delta Bow Valley and now GM and VP Delta Hotels Western Canada).

My most embarrassing encounter with a hotel guest was when I walked into a room while touring the hotel and a couple were in the midst of some “afternoon delight”. I have never forgotten to knock before entering a room!

My most famous hotel guests were Sidney Sheldon (Author & Playwrite), Lady Mountbatten of Burma, James Garner (Actor), Prime Ministers; Trudeau, Turner, Clark, Mulroney, Campbell, Tommy Lasorda.

Best CANADIAN hotel for a entertaining/fun/dirty/wild weekend: Banff Springs Hotel. There is no other place like it in the World for everything!
Best CANADIAN hotels for a shopping trip: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre & Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (for close proximatey to Robson Street, Granville Island, Granville Street) & The Shops at the Banff Springs Hotel.
Best CANADIAN hotel for business travel: Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel.
Best CANADIAN convention hotels: Fairmont Royal York Hotel & Intercontinental Hotel Front Street Toronto.
Best CANADIAN airport hotel: Fairmont Vancouver Airport.
Best CANADIAN resort: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise & Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

The best advice given to me.
When dealing with employees, “You can care about them but you can’t care for them”.

The Hotel amenity I can’t live without is shampoo.

The worst feeling in the world is waking up in the middle of the night in a strange/unfamiliar hotel room, forgetting where you are, and losing your way to the bathroom. Worse yet, locking yourself out of your guestroom in the middle of the night.

If I could change one thing about the hotel industry, it would it be?
I am mixed on my response to this question. In the ‘ol days, I found that we (I) had more time for “fun” including interaction with guests, employees, being more proactive than reactive. Today, we (I) find that more time is spent reporting on the past, in front of the computer or Blackberry reviewing and responding to often times unnecessary e-mails. It just isn’t as much fun or perhaps it is a different kind of fun becuase I still enjoy getting up and heading to work.

If I could meet one person (alive or dead) it would it be Presidents Clinton and/or Obama.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have become a doctor!

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