Travel Alberta

Tourism Works: CEO Blog

Travel Alberta is committed to providing timely and relevant information related to the business of tourism in Alberta and beyond. On this blog page Travel Alberta’s Chief executive Officer Royce Chwin provides insights as well as revealing statistics related to the industry. Chwin’s objective for this communication tool is to acknowledge some of the questions people involved in Alberta’s tourism industry are asking.

Check back each month for the latest entry in the Tourism Works: CEO Blog, and engage with Travel Alberta through our corporate social media channels:

Tourism Works: CEO Blog

Invest In Your Brand
Invest in your brand through onboarding
Turnover is a reality for any business. When handled right, it becomes an opportunity to make our organizations better by investing in our most important asset – our people.

With Alberta’s summer travel season approaching, many of you are preparing to bring new hires onboard. The first 90 days can be the most important and vulnerable for a new employee and your organization. It’s also a powerful teachable moment.

Thankfully, much has been made of the process of “total onboarding” in the last few years. It’s more than just hiring now, and it’s different than simply learning how to do the job. It’s about building trust between the new hire and the organization.

Done right, onboarding sets the tone for how you want your new team member to live out your brand. It’s a conversation about the values held by the people, culture and organization, aligning expectations and assimilating new hires into your team.

Onboarding is also critical to corporate reputation. First experiences colour how employees speak about your organization to shareholders, peers, customers, neighbors and friends. And companies with great reputations attract more resumes and a higher quality of talent.

Earlier in my career, I worked for two organizations back-to-back in which my onboarding experience was diametrically opposed. In one, they were totally unprepared for my arrival. There was no workspace for me and none of the people I needed to see knew I was coming.

At the second company, I was greeted with a fully functioning office, cell phone and training program. I met the team at a communal event and had a two-week schedule of meetings waiting for me on my first day.

There is no doubt in my mind there was a link between this level of preparedness and the fact the second company had higher organizational morale, lower employee theft and lower non-healthy turnover.

At Travel Alberta, we’re in the process of onboarding our new Vice-President of Global Consumer Marketing. Tannis Gaffney, who comes to us from Graycon II.T., and before that the Calgary Stampede, is the first VP marketing hired from outside our organization.

She is coming into a high-profile role with a high degree of influence and visibility. Tannis will be getting the same care and attention that each new team member at Travel Alberta gets, no matter what their position.

Travel Alberta introduced a robust onboarding program over six years ago. We continue to refine it to ensure we have the best introduction for all parties.

We introduce all new employees to the staff at a team huddle in the morning of their first day. It’s a chance to put a face to the name. Existing team members spend time out of their busy workday to help create a welcoming environment.

The new team member is assigned a “tour guide” who takes them around the office and guides them from meeting to meeting, making introductions along the way. Waiting for them is a functioning workspace and all the tools necessary for their job. We make sure the logistics are as seamless as possible so they don’t get in the way of the experience.

Proper onboarding is a significant investment in time, especially for businesses like ours that are running 100 miles a minute. It can be tempting to cut corners. But be warned, not planning properly for new arrivals will likely result in grief for other employees, supervisors and, ultimately, your customers. In 2016 we were honoured to be named one of Alberta's Top Employers for the fourth time, and that recognition points to the effort of the whole team in creating an environment where people are first.

If you’re not investing in your number one asset – your people – then you have to ask yourself if you are investing in winning conditions for your business. 

We’re here to help. When you’re ready, we’re ready.

Royce Chwin
Travel Alberta Team Member
Chief Executive Officer

Alberta economy
Let’s Respect Ourselves

With Tourism Week in Canada just around the corner (May 28 to June 3) it’s a fitting time to showcase how far we’ve come as an industry. Tourism is finally earning a seat at the adult’s table, respected as a core contributor to the economy alongside agriculture, mining, forestry and technology. That’s something to celebrate. Read more...

What Branding Is
What Branding Is — and Isn’t

When it comes to destination branding, the landscape gets complicated. It’s one thing to brand a product or service, and something far more complex to capture the history, culture, environment and people of a city, region, province or country. But it’s important to get it right. In many cases, branding is a critical solution to your business problem or opportunity. Read more...

Path to Purchase Doesn’t Have to be Complicated

The path to purchase once seemed very straightforward. It’s what we boomers and gen-Xers grew up with. Today, the hype around path to purchase is deafening. New theories about consumer behaviour and buzz words like loyalty loop, advocacy channels and WOM (word of mouth) suggest the path has become radically different. Read more...

CEO Blog
Ask Better Questions: Get Better Results

In the travel industry, we face long to-do lists, the pressure to do more with less, and the imperative to create opportunities where none existed before.

It can feel overwhelming, but it’s invigorating, too, because there is no shortage of opportunities in sight. Read more...

Embrace Change and Stay True to Course
Embrace Change and Stay True to Course

I can remember planning trips after I graduated from high school. I might have been inspired by a TV show like Miami Vice or The Love Boat – am I dating myself?

Perhaps I saw an article in the travel section of the newspaper or came across a brochure in passing. Word of mouth from a friend or relative definitely influenced my decisions. Read more...

Investing in Ourselves for the Future
Investing in Ourselves for the Future

There’s a pattern I’ve observed that when times get tough, the first budgets cut are education, training and coaching. Read more...


Let's Capitalize on the Experience Economy
Let’s Capitalize on the Experience Economy

Not long ago, my wife and I took some visiting friends on a road trip along The Cowboy Trail (Hwy. 22). It was a classic blue-sky Alberta day and we enjoyed the awe-inspiring scenery of the foothills and grasslands as we drove. Read more...

Making your Destination Tourism Ready
Making your Destination Tourism Ready

It is well documented every day that Alberta is going through the most significant economic reset in recent memory. An economy that was built up over time on the energy sector has succumbed to a global excess of oil and gas and a renewed drive and commitment towards environmental responsibility. Read more...

Travel Alberta CEO Presents Travel Alberta's 2016-2018 Business and Marketing Plans
Travel Alberta CEO Presents Travel Alberta's 2016-2018 Business and Marketing Plans

Tourism demonstrates an incredible resiliency in times of uncertainty. Alberta is experiencing one of the toughest economic cycles in decades paired with the devastating fires in the Fort McMurray area. The ground continues to shift beneath our feet. Read more...