A Guild In Transition

It was the directors' unanimous agreement that it was imperative to determine a new direction for the 70's in an effort to keep pace in a rapidly changing industry. A resolve was put into action with the formation of nine new committees: Future Objectives, Finance&Budget, Advertising&Public Relations, Training&Education, Food&Liquor, Transportation&Signs, Membership, Legislation, and Monthly Newsletter.

During the 1970's, the Guild experienced a number of organizational issues. There was a lack of interest in participation by members. In 1976, since it was perceived that the Guild did not represent the entire accommodation industry and that its profile had deteriorated, a membership drive that year showed a 58% drop in listed members. Another 25% did not respond at all. It seemed that many members were disenchanted with the Guild.

A Turning Point

This weak response to the Guild was attributed to the lack of defined goals. It was declared that 1976 would be a "turning point" for the Guild to definitively secure its future. The initial step taken was to clarify the primary issue of operators and thereby determine priorities. They were:

  1. Municipal Taxation
  2. Telephone Utility Charges
  3. Financial Health of Some Members
  4. Transportation Matters
  5. Power Utility Costs
  6. Education & Training

Other problems addressed concerned the lack of regional directors and zone participation, the place of campgrounds, the lack of an integrated industry council, and the myth that tourism is a non-depleting resource. As well, the limited signage on highways, competition from university facilities, development of resort centres, and historic sites were listed.

A cornerstone of the proposal to re-establish the Guild as the primary voice of the accommodation sector in the Province was a Presidential Tour of the Province for June 1976. The intent of the tour was to analyze the problems of each area and demonstrate the Guild's concern.

The formulation of regional chapters to provide a "grass roots" level of support was essential. A consultant had been hired to provide accompanying media coverage to attain a high public profile. The consultant stated' "A key to the success of the Guild in the future will be the exposure of every level through the media and announcements to service clubs and publicity on the whole. This is the face that the industry has, and thus the Guild must undertake positive activity to enhance the industry's representation to the public to create a higher visibility."

The long term recommendations involved:

  1. Using more of the Guild's resources
  2. More frequent area meetings
  3. Utilization of the advice and contributions of the older Guild members
  4. Devising concrete benefits such as group purchasing
  5. Reduced insurance rates

It was also planned to increase the use of Guild symbols to invoke pride and familiarity, even on such items as swizzlesticks and coasters.

A program of continued close government liason with a spokesman and retention of close communication with members was imperative.

Serious action also had to be taken to counterbalance some of the financial problems. A series of money making projects were proposed, including the publishing of a book detailing "Old Inns of Nova Scotia" which would also improve the Guild's public profile.

In 1976 and 77, the Guild took on the Province in a public relations battle that resulted from the government passing an amendment to the Labour Standards Code stating that employees working on holidays must receive time off with pay or be paid double time and a half. In addition there were numerous articles in the Chronicle Herald, including the headlines "Innkeepers Seeking Better Phone Deal", "Innkeepers Set Up A New Branch (in Northumberland Area)", "Owners Blame Regulations For High Price of Hotels", "High Costs Hurting Tourism; Government's Approach Not Unified", and "Government and Industry Must Work Together".

In part, as a result of the Guild's increased public relations, the Department of Tourism made a request for the Guild's input on the main issues in a government sponsored industry conference.