Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail Completes Phased Resort Enhancement Project

Four Seasons

The luxury hospitality leader in the Vail Valley, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail will complete its highly anticipated resort enhancement project mid-summer, 2021. The premier year-round property has been completely reimagined, creating a fresh interpretation of the grand alpine resort, with a refined, contemporary finish. The Resort will continue to be the place for both locals and visitors alike seeking the sophistication of the Four Seasons brand while enjoying the legendary setting in Vail Village.

“We are delighted with how the results of our enhancement project – it has truly elevated our Resort and will further position us among the premier luxury mountain resorts in North America,” said Four Seasons Resort and Residences General Manager Meredith Macfarlane. “While the renovations have offered us the opportunity to reimagine our Resort from an aesthetics and design standpoint, the primary element that makes Four Seasons Vail like no other remains our talented team. I am honoured to have an amazing, passionate team who pride themselves on creating memorable experiences for our guests and owners – which truly sets us apart from other mountain resorts the world over.”

The multi-million-dollar complete renovation of Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, phased over the past three years, marks the most significant investment the Resort has undergone since its inception in 2010. Enhancements includes a refresh and remodel of all hotel guest rooms, suites and corridors; conversion and remodeling of several private residences, refreshed meeting space, and a redesigned lobby and all public spaces.

The building’s design elements have transformed the Vail property with a stylish, cool, mountain-chic makeover. The tailored mountain modern design has incorporated clean, contemporary lines; paired with organic textures and colours, complementary of Vail’s breathtaking mountain landscape. Local stone and wood have added mountain-chic touches to all of the fireplaces while nature-inspired carpet, leathers, and textured fabrics have been combined to create a sophisticated resort feel.

In addition to a complete makeover of all guest rooms and suites, many of the individually owned private residences in the Four Seasons branded Private Retreats portfolio have been renovated as well. Boasting twenty-four private residences ranging from two- to six-bedrooms, each uniquely designed and beautifully appointed, Four Seasons Residences Vail is the ideal location for families, multi-generation travel and groups of friends seeking comfortable, luxurious accommodation while enjoying the limitless adventure of Vail Mountain – located in the Resort’s very own backyard.

Located just thirty minutes from Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) and Vail Valley Jet Center, and just under two hours from Denver International Airport (DEN), the Resort is easily accessible for travelers.

Nestled at the base of Vail Mountain in the beautiful Colorado Rockies, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail offers guests the ideal location to take advantage of all the activities and adventure that the Vail Valley have to offer. Combined with award-winning Four Seasons service provided by the knowledgeable, inspirational staff at the Resort, guests find exactly what they’re looking for in this quintessential alpine destination.

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Effective Methods for Engaging with Customers as a Business

Customer engagement

As a business owner, you are constantly thinking of ways that you can improve your company. Day in, day out, you mull over the successes and failures you have endured, contemplating what you can adjust and adapt to do better the next time.  

With a wide variety of factors to consider, we recognize that it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Both internally and externally, there often feels like a million and one things to complete. While that may very well be the case, it is crucial to keep a level head. You are operating the ship, after all.  

Concerning how you engage with customers as a business owner, this takes some time, attention, and focus on getting right. You must spend some time knowing how to do this; you want to ensure you are treating your customers the way they deserve and in a manner that will encourage them to continue coming back to your establishment.  

If you are in a position where you are looking for ideal methods for engaging with your customers, both existing and potential, then you are in the right place! Read on for our tips and tricks and find what works for you.  

 

Build a Community 

This can be done through a wide variety of avenues, but it is the execution that matters the most. While it seems a bit of an odd concept to develop a community for your business, it makes a difference in the long term.  

As a business, it is vital that you give customers ample opportunity to engage with you as a brand. Having their voice heard, opinions and feedback taken on board is essential and could even enable you to find unique ideas for improving and adapting your company.  

However, it is also recommended that you allow your loyal customers to engage amongst themselves as well. Social media platforms are a great way of enabling them to engage with one another and provide a safe space to compare opinions and discuss ongoing industry trends.  

At the same time, social media platforms are not the only way you can build a community. Specifically, if you have a physical store or branch for your business, you could also utilize this as a means of forging a community. The choice is entirely yours, and naturally, is based on your own situation and circumstance.  

 

Email Marketing 

This can go one of two ways. If you get it right, email marketing provides you with an opportunity to engage with your customer while enabling them the chance to develop a connection with you as a brand.  

Flipping this on its head; it could go very wrong and be viewed as irritating if you do not get it right. Take the time to consider what you wish to achieve using email marketing and make detailed plans to do this.  

For the most part, you can use email marketing as a means of establishing what kinds of things your customers engage with the most and using this to your advantage. Email blast campaigns give business owners like yourself an insight into what emails are opened, the rate of click conversions of these emails, and more.  

Using this information, you can tailor what you send to the customer, further nurturing and developing this relationship. Customers will feel valued, for you will know the types of things they want, and you will be making sales from it. A winning situation for all involved if we did say so!  

 

Providing Entertainment Value 

Naturally, as a business owner or company director, you want to keep the content you post online associated and relevant to your business itself, as well as your products or services. While we recognize this is the case, it is well worth considering putting yourself in the position of your customers.  

When authentically engaging with them online, you want to ensure they see content relevant to your business but which they are engaging with generally. Linking back to our previous point about creating a community, you will be allowing discourse to take place in your social media channels by sharing entertaining items of content.  

Furthermore, by posting entertaining and engaging content on your social media platforms and websites, you are significantly contributing to how your business performs and appears to search engines. The more people who engage with your content, the more people it will reach. The more people your content reaches, the more potential customers and sales you will receive. What more could you want!  

Authentically engaging with your customers should be done from the word go. Making a conscious effort to put your customers first and create a level of discourse with them will benefit you and your broader business in the long run.  

Be approachable, receptive, and friendly, and you are sure to be successful in your engagement endeavors both now and in the future!  

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ChainSafe Announces Acquisition of Node Factory

Blockchain

Toronto-based blockchain R&D firm ChainSafe announces the acquisition of Croatian blockchain partner Node Factory.

ChainSafe is a leading blockchain development and engineering solutions firm encompassing top engineering talent from around the world. The company is architecting official client implementations on Ethereum 2.0 (“Lodestar“), Polkadot (“Gossamer“), Filecoin (“Forest”), a Rust implementation of the Mina Protocol, and many more. ChainSafe rounds out their deep Web 3.0 portfolio with undertakings into product development via their privacy-first file storage solution ChainSafe Files, the ChainSafe Gaming SDK, as well as their flagship product ChainBridge. Today, they announce the acquisition of fellow blockchain development firm Node Factory.

“We could not be more excited to have Node Factory join the ChainSafe family. They have been integral partners in helping us build Lodestar for more than a year. Their work is always of the highest, most reliable quality, and above the code sits an even friendlier team. Adding their roster of talented developers into the ChainSafe mix gives us more depth and specific knowledge within the blockchain space. We look forward to building even greater things with Node Factory throughout the multi-chain tomorrow that we have envisioned since we took our first step in this journey,” states Aidan Hyman, CEO and co-founder of ChainSafe.

Node Factory is a blockchain R&D firm based in Zagreb, Croatia. They are a team of experienced developers that have made important contributions to dApp, infrastructure, and tooling development for Web 3.0 and networks such as Polkadot and Filecoin. The company has created products such as ChainGuardian, a desktop application for Eth2 validators, and FilSnap, a plugin for the MetaMask browser wallet enabling users to interact with Filecoin dApps. They have also helped a host of startups launch their own decentralized applications. Marin Petrunic, co-founder and CTO of Node Factory, first got involved with ChainSafe by being an external contributor on Lodestar, ChainSafe’s Eth2 TypeScript implementation. These open source contributions eventually led to conversations about ChainSafe’s acquisition of Node Factory to combine efforts.

“Node Factory’s priorities have always been on delivering quality work on the edge. Joining the larger ChainSafe crew will give our existing portfolio even more development resources to produce even more cutting-edge work, and allow both teams to cross-pollinate our learnings and research to meaningfully grow and build extraordinary things,” states Belma Gutlic, co-founder and CEO at Node Factory.

With ChainSafe intaking the Node Factory roster, it further bolsters their already deep pool of global blockchain developer talent. On the leadership front, Node Factory co-founder and CEO Belma Gutlic will join ChainSafe as Head of Solutions, while Marin Petrunic, co-founder and CTO at Node Factory will join as ChainSafe’s Europe Lead. This announcement is the first of its kind in ChainSafe’s history. Going forward, the organization will likely look to more strategic moves of this kind as their business scales up to include more blockchains and newer product offerings which leverage the same technologies they are helping to build.

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Accenture Expands Oracle Capabilities in Canada with Cloudworks Acquisition

Cloud

Accenture has acquired Cloudworks, a leading Toronto-based Oracle Cloud implementation service provider across North America. The deal further enhances Accenture’s capabilities to deliver Oracle solutions to clients on their journeys to the cloud. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Cloudworks, founded in 2016, specializes in strategy, business and technology consulting and has become well known for Oracle Cloud-based solutions in Enterprise Resource Planning, Enterprise Performance Management and Human Capital Management. Cloudworks has leading capabilities in robotic process automation (RPA), data analytics and AI, which help maximize the business value for clients’ investments in Oracle Cloud.

The company supports clients in several industries, including transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, mining, oil & gas, utilities and energy, telecommunications & media, financial services, real estate, public sector, and higher education. The majority of Cloudworks’ 100 employees are located in Toronto, with additional offices in Calgary, and other locations throughout the United States.

“As organizations across Canada continue to accelerate their technology transformation programs, we anticipate the demand for Oracle solutions to grow significantly,” said Jeffrey Russell, president of Accenture in Canada. “By acquiring Cloudworks, we add a highly talented team with industry-specific experience in combining the power of Oracle with the ingenuity of people to unlock new possibilities for clients.”

Jennifer Jackson, Accenture Technology lead for Canada, said, “Cloudworks is a well-known Oracle services provider that has worked with organizations across Canada and across industries. We are thrilled to grow our Technology practice in Canada with the Cloudworks team who strengthen our ability to meet the growing need from Canadian organizations to unleash the power of cloud, data and innovation to create truly future-ready organizations.” 

Samia Tarraf, Accenture Oracle Business Group lead for North America said, “The impact of the Cloudworks team and its experience working with clients in Canada and the U.S. bolsters our entire Oracle business in North America as organizations fast-track their cloud journeys and look to Oracle Cloud applications to create more value and make their businesses more resilient.” 

Jason Nott, cofounder and CEO of Cloudworks, added, “With Accenture’s in-depth capabilities, global scale and experience co-creating and co-developing Oracle solutions, we look forward to delivering greater value for clients, as well as opening up new opportunities for our people. Joining Accenture will also help Cloudworks provide more services to clients through its global team of experts in digital, cloud and robotic process automation.” 

Cloudworks marks the third acquisition for Accenture Canada over the last year. Accenture acquired Avenai, an Ottawa consultancy focused on public service organizations, and Callisto Integration, an Oakville, Ontario provider of consulting and technology services in digital manufacturing in food and beverage, chemicals, utilities and other industries, both in 2020. 

Globally, in 2021, Accenture has announced two Oracle-focused acquisitions: Nell’Armonia, a leading consulting and technology company specialized in enterprise performance management solutions, headquartered in Paris, France, and AppsPro, one of the leading Oracle Cloud implementation service providers in Saudi Arabia. 

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RBC to Become Financial Anchor at Hub350, Canada’s Largest Technology Park

Digital Finance Services

One of Canada’s largest banks is focusing on delivering innovative capital solutions and a global footprint to Hub350

The Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) and Hub350 have announced a collaboration with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) that will see the bank become the anchor financial sponsor for the hub, bringing innovative financial services and expertise to technology entrepreneurs at all stages of their lifecycle.   

With RBC at its helm as anchor financial sponsor, Hub350 will officially launch this fall, creating both a physical gateway for Canada’s largest technology park at 350 Legget Drive, and fostering a collaborative environment where corporate innovation partners, academia, investors and talent from across the country and around the world can connect to Kanata North’s 540 companies immediately.

“RBC’s visionary support for Canada’s entrepreneurs is no secret, and it makes them the perfect financial partner for Hub350,” said Victoria McGlone, Chief Operating Officer at KNBA. “As our unique ecosystem develops strategically to support entrepreneurs in a world-class way, we want to disrupt how our technology companies access capital, and work with partners like RBC to provide out of the box solutions to foster growth and create Canadian success stories.”

RBC will offer a full suite of banking services and knowledge products at HUB350, including RBCx, a market-leading platform to accelerate the entrepreneurial journey at every stage of growth, offering access to capital solutions, innovative financial products and services, and operational expertise to help technology companies scale.

Products and solutions for all companies, from inception to IPO, include:

  • Innovative financial products, including credit and specialized banking
  • Deep sector expertise in specialized tech verticals, including clean tech and life sciences
  • Offers from industry-leading providers within the RBCx marketplace
  • An inspired network of founders and funders engaged through curated events and content

“We are committed to supporting entrepreneurs – from startup to scale up – who are disrupting business models, industries and sectors,” said Raymond Rashed, Director, RBCx. “We feel we can do this best at Canada’s largest technology park and look forward to helping companies grow their ideas and products so Canadian-led innovation can be front and centre on the world stage.”

Kanata North has been steadily evolving into Canada’s leading hub for cutting-edge tech businesses and knowledge-based industries, having created over 33,000 skilled jobs and contributing over $13 billion to Canada’s GDP every year.

In collaboration with RBC and RBCx, KNBA is confident that connections with venture capitalists and lenders from government and private entities, both nationally and internationally, will be formed. The bank will have naming rights to the 4,000 square feet Finance Quarter at Hub350. RBC’s leadership will support KNBA member companies and help attract new organisations to the tech park. 

“For well over 25 years, RBC has invested in the potential of big ideas and big ambitions by working alongside so many innovators and entrepreneurs in Canada’s Tech Hub,” said Marjolaine Hudon, Regional President, RBC. “This partnership with Hub350 at KNBA builds on RBC’s unwavering support of our vibrant tech and innovation sector, which in turn benefits our community.”   

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Government of Canada Confirms Ambitious New Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Target

Canada CO2

Climate change is the greatest long-term threat that we face as a global community. It also represents an enormous economic opportunity.

Yesterday, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, formally submitted Canada’s enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations, committing Canada to cut its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 40‑45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Canada’s NDC submission outlines a series of investments, regulations and measures that the country is taking in pursuit of its ambitious target. It includes input from provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners. These actions are also detailed in a new publication, entitled Canada’s Climate Actions for a Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy“.

This is Canada’s first emissions reduction target that is enshrined in law under the new Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which received Royal Assent in June 2021.

Canada has joined over 120 countries to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050. Canada’s ambitious new NDC for 2030 keeps the country on course. It builds on a whole-of-government plan, Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment and Healthy Economy”, that includes Canadians in all regions and all economic sectors.

At the same time, the government today confirmed that the minimum price on carbon pollution will increase by $15 per tonne each year starting in 2023 through to 2030. The national stringency standards—the “benchmark”—will be updated to ensure all provincial and territorial pricing systems are comparable in terms of stringency and effectiveness. Provinces and territories will continue to have the flexibility to implement the type of system that makes sense for their circumstances as long as they align with the benchmark.

The past 16 months of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic have shown Canadians how a determined response can address a global crisis. Tackling climate change requires the same focus and commitment. Canada is on a path to exceed its previous 2030 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels in partnership with provinces, territories, and Indigenous partners. By working with the private sector and others, the government is confident Canada can achieve its enhanced 2030 GHG emissions reduction target and build a healthier environment and healthier economy.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change says: “Canada’s ambitious new 2030 emissions target, our Canadian Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act and net-zero goal for 2050 are more than just plans for tackling climate change—as necessary as those are. By rewarding innovation and putting a cost on pollution, we are clearing the path to a cleaner, more competitive economy that benefits our children and grandchildren, and leaves a healthier world for those who follow.”

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Antitrust in the 21st Century – Kudos to Khan

Technology economy

By Dr Richard M. Smith, Berkeley Mathematician and PhD in System Science.

It’s difficult to fathom how big tech has gotten as close as it has to global dominance over the past quarter century, yet here we are.  Today, the five biggest tech companies constitute 22% of the market capitalization of the S&P 500.  That’s right – 1% of the companies in the S&P 500 make up 22% of the total value of the S&P 500.

Regulators, moreover, are struggling to rein in big tech under existing antitrust law as evidenced by the recent decision by a Federal District Court to dismiss a major antitrust suit against Facebook brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well as a parallel suit brought by 48 state attorneys general.   Facebook celebrated by soaring to join Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google in the rarefied air of the $1 trillion dollar market cap club.

Just take a look at this shocking list from companiesmarketcap.com as of 7/6/2021:

These 5 tech titans are simply taking over the economy.  Meanwhile, sixth on the list is Tesla (another aspiring tech titan) and seventh on the list is Berkshire Hathaway where 40% of the portfolio consists of Apple stock!  It’s sobering indeed.

President Biden has taken a significant step in the right direction by appointing a new young gun to head the FTC – Lina Khan.  Ms. Khan may turn out to be to big tech what Ida Tarbell was to big oil back a century ago – only Ms. Khan is armed with a J.D. from Yale Law School.

In her groundbreaking 100 page “Note” published in the Yale Law Journal back in 2017 she focused her sights on Amazon and had this to say about Amazon’s market dominance:

It is as if Bezos charted the company’s growth by first drawing a map of antitrust laws, and then devising routes to smoothly bypass them. 

Ms. Khan is onto something here and her appointment to be the head of the FTC has put big tech on notice that this time may well be different.  Big tech has indeed taken notice.  Amazon even went so far as to ask that Ms. Khan be recused from overseeing Amazon given her “long track record of detailed pronouncements about Amazon, and her repeated proclamations that Amazon has violated the antitrust laws, a reasonable observer would conclude that she no longer can consider the company’s antitrust defenses with an open mind.”

Sorry Amazon, her “long track record of detailed pronouncements” is exactly why she was appointed to head the FTC.

For too long now, big tech has been playing with regulators much like someone with a laser can play with a kitten.  Big tech dazzles and obfuscates and then hides under the pretense of “lowering prices for consumers” and “giving consumers the convenience they crave.”  Meanwhile, the burden of proof is on the regulators to prove that things like predatory pricing (i.e., lowering prices to crush competition long enough to establish dominance) is harming consumers in ways seen and unseen.  After all, what could be wrong with lower prices?

For the past 50 years now, antitrust law in the United States has centered around the notion of “consumer welfare” with the primary measurement of “consumer welfare” being measured by prices of goods and services.  No one, at the time, imagined that a company like Amazon would come along and game the system by systematically leveraging predatory pricing for nearly two decades to establish dominance.  Such is the genius of Bezos and company.

Finally, we have someone at the FTC that gets it.  The so-called “consumer welfare” standard of current antitrust law is not up to the challenge of taking on the titans of tech.  Ms. Khan correctly points out that the original foundation of U.S. antitrust law wasn’t just about pricing power – it was about process and structure and “excessive concentration of economic power.” 

Authentic antitrust regulation is about more than just constantly lower prices.  To quote Ms. Khan again it should promote “a variety of aims, including the preservation of open markets, the protection of producers and consumers from monopoly abuse and the dispersion of political and economic control.”

She goes on to say that focusing exclusively on consumer welfare, “disregards the host of other ways that excessive concentration can harm us – enabling firms to squeeze suppliers and producers, endangering systems stability (for instance, by allowing companies to become too big to fail), or undermining media diversity, to name a few.”

If you spend any time on the Internet, you know that avoiding Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google is not easy. Almost every click puts money in their pockets, from ad views to purchases to video streams.

They are everywhere. And that’s not even what’s most alarming! It’s the amount of data that comes from each click. Just by living our lives in the 21st century, we surrender a huge amount of our privacy to a few immense corporations. Until recently, it was an unchallenged opinion that personal data should remain personal. Today, that seems like the distant past.

The “free” services that dominate the digital landscape have made privacy obsolete. Data is the most valuable commodity in the world right now, and we hand it over every day to the biggest tech companies, in exchange for basic services like email and search.

The oil and steel companies of old were considered monopolies because they were inescapable, stifling competition and providing no real alternative for the consumer. Is there any more apt equivalent today than the data-powered juggernauts now under fire?

If you find the tradeoff of data for convenience a fair exchange, realize that the next step — what’s actually done with our data — is almost completely hidden from us.

The result is a casino-like imbalance of power. The whole game is tipped in favor of the “house,” who write and rewrite the rules as they go. The algorithms that determine so much of how we live our lives are, quite literally, trying to think for us. The tech giants understand the rules (because they write them), and we don’t.

There are few things today in the United States that inspire bipartisan support at the Federal level.  Big tech antitrust regulations and legislation is one of them.  We should wish Chairwoman Khan all the best in her new role and we shouldn’t worry too much if a few eggs get broken in the overdue process of restoring true competition and innovation in the technology economy.

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