Running a hotel carries with it an inordinate number of challenges — even on the best of days. But when you’re in charge of two branded properties that operate as part of an integrated resort, featuring a casino, seven restaurants and bars, extensive meeting space and a unique outdoor park, the challenges more than multiply. Still, for Marion Harper Treskin, dual GM of the JW Marrriott Parq Vancouver and The Douglas, it’s all in a day’s work.
That might be because the Toronto native comes by hospitality naturally. “My mom owned a summer resort when I was growing up and I started out working for her, so it’s in my blood,” says the graduate of Centennial College’s Hospitality & Tourism Administration program.
Harper Treskin got her start in the industry at the iconic CP Hotels chain, where she worked as a F&B management trainee at the Lodge at Kananaskis in Alberta. Stints followed with Westin Hotels, where she spent 18 years before joining Marriott International to lead the pre-opening team for the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and The Douglas, an Autograph Collection Hotel, almost three years ago. “This is the first resort where I’ve been responsible for two hotels with two different brands. There’s nothing comparable in Canada.”
Harper Treskin oversees a team of 450 associates during peak summer season for both hotels. “We share a “heart-of-house” team and have separate guest-services teams for the JW Marriott Parq (329 rooms) and The Douglas (188 rooms).”
The hotels’ core customer base is a mix of business and leisure travellers, with many of the guests at The Douglas coming from the entertainment, arts and tech fields.
These days Harper Treskin’s biggest challenge is recruitment. “We’re finding it more difficult to keep our departments fully staffed. Running short staffed has become a reality. We all know it’s hard on associates and impacts the level of service provided.”
Harper Treskin has the uncanny ability to focus on the big picture while engaging with each team to drive the small, but critical, details that lead to their success. “I enjoy collaboration and like to rally the team around driving results together,” she says.
Coming up to the hotel’s second anniversary, both brands are still finding their footing. “Continuing to promote these great new additions to the Vancouver landscape is our focus. Attracting new business to Vancouver with both a luxury and lifestyle hotel may help move [the city] closer to the top of people’s bucket lists.” To succeed on this front, she says, the hotels need to “differentiate themselves in a sea of sameness.”
Written by Rosanna Caira