The Early Years

The Guild was incorporated in April 1939, operating under a low profile during WWII. In 1948, a full scale re-activation was commenced. The two priorities were to increase membership to strengthen the organization, and to acquire licensing sell beer, wine, and spirits in hotel dining rooms to generate revenue, to be used to upgrade facilities which had grown shabby during the War.

In its early relationship with the Provincial Government, the Guild was instrumental in lobbying the Government to establish a loans system to encourage the industry to build cabins, and to establish a series of short courses in all phases of the tourism business.

In 1954, " the motel", a new type of accommodation was being built in Nova Scotia. Due to the increasing number of motels, rumor had it, that the motel sector was about to establish their own association. Motels were not permitted to join the Innkeepers' Guild since they did not serve meals, a prerequisite for membership.

The establishment of a sepatate association for motels had the potential of weakening the voice of innkeepers in the province. To avoid this outcome The Guild directors were prompted to make a key change in the Guild's bylaws and structure. Following is the rationale:

  1. Another accommodation association could be redundant and might work at cross purposes to the Guild's objectives.
  2. This would fractionalize the accommodation industry and lesson the Guild's strength in lobbying the government.
  3. Due to the fluctuating business conditions in the industry, it would be wiser for all operations to be mutually supportive and work together.
  4. Due to the loss of a sizable grant (Dominion Brewers), the Guild was feeling financial strain. This loss of revenue created the need to campaign for an increased membership. The loss of the new operations which were becoming a substantial proportion of the industry, was to be avoided.

The Directors opted to change the bylaws to allow the inclusion of motels, which was a major change in the composite of members of the Guild and the definition of the duties of an innkeeper.

The Guild developed an extremely beneficial liason in May 1955, when it invited the Hotel Association of Canada to hold its annual convention in Nova Scotia. This was the first time since the Association's inception in 1928 that it had held a convention in the Atlantic Provinces.

In late 1957, the Guild developed an interesting "in-house" project called the "Prepaid Reservation Service", which was a connecting system of establishments providing a reservation system to the public. A guest would pay an operator to make a reservation, and would be issues a receipt. The operator would then reimburse the second operator with a cheque.

The reservation system only lasted until the 60's due to the tremendous amount of paperwork involved. Not only was this concept innovative, but it was the forerunner of the reservation service company, Check Inns Ltd., that was a joint venture of government and industry established in 1978.

In 1960, there were no province wide standards governing eating establishments, as they were under the auspices of regional Boards of Health. The Guild worked with the Government to establish a sanitary code, and to provide food preparation courses.

In 1961, the Premier of Nova Scotia, the Right Honourable Robert L. Stanfield, praised the Guild's continued maintenance of high standards of excellence, as the work of building the Nova Scotian tourism industry was a massive challenge and could reach the $100 million mark in several years.

The awareness of the critical economic situation of the hotel industry had fostered several key implications for the Guild and the industry in 1961.

First, it forced the government to realize the necessity of closer co-operation between the private and public sectors to develop their valuable resources. This was evidenced by the Premier's invitation to the Guild to discuss the liquor issue and other areas of concern. The government invited the Guild (along with the Canadian Restaurant Association, and the Dietitians Association) to have representatives on the newly formed government sponsored Nova Scotia Food Services Council.

Second, the government invited the Guild's input on a continuing "ground-level" basis in devising curriculum and legislation. This was a departure from the former ad hoc basis which the government previously used in eliciting information.

In May 1961, after ten years of lobbying on behalf of the Guild, Chapter 155 of the Liquor Control Act (1954) was amended to establish a Liquor Licensing Board.

As far back as the 60's, the Guild recognized the importance of fair competition in the marketplace. In March 1963, the Guild sent a delegation to Ottawa to visit the Deputy Minister of Finance to proclaim that if tax-exempt organizations go into business, they should pay income tax. At the time, the IRS (in the United States) ruled that any organization would lose its tax exempt status if it competes on a recurring basis. The Guild's position was that it was not against these organizations having functions for their members... only against those times when they advertised their food and accommodation services to the public.

In 1963, the Guild also lobbied the Mayor and Council of Halifax City regarding "Overbuilding". There was a proposal for a new 450 room hotel in Halifax, and the Guild felt that Halifax already had too many rooms with the additions to the Hotel Nova Scotian and the Lord Nelson, and the building of the Dresden Arms, which had provided 284 additional rooms since 1960. At the time, it was calculated that the break-even point for hotels was 70% occupancy and the Guild had established that Halifax's occupancy level between July 1960 and July 1963 was 76%. Through their presentations, the guild was able to defer the proposal for the new hotel.