Slemon Park Hotel and Conference Centre
12 Redwood Avenue, Slemon Park, PEI
It is not every day that you can be offered an aerial tour of your surroundings when you check-in to a hotel.
However, this is exactly what can happen when you check into the Slemon Park Hotel and Conference Centre. This remarkable hotel location is in Summerside, PEI, which is located in a former military air force base.
Facility Manager Kevin Mouflier says that a private air service, located in the former airstrip offers air tours of PEI. To take advantage of this marketing opportunity hotel management made up a room and air tour package for their guests.
This savvy marketing approach, and taking advantage of the local surrounding is a key ingredient in the hotel's sales success.
Surprisingly, Slemon Park Hotel's success formula does not start with the seasonal tourist visitor. Tourists are an important part of their current business volume, but their unique location is their business edge.
The former military base is also home to a nearby police cadet training academy that serves Atlantic Canada. Holland College's police training facility assures a volume of food service and hospitality customers. Then there is the indoor gun training range, which is the leading facility for firearm training in Atlantic Canada. Service features like this bring year around visitors and add food service and overnight volume for Slemon Hotel's room nights.
Kevin says that in addition to these facilities there is a nearby Sports Centre with extensive game facilities. This facility allows the hotel to offer a top-notch fitness area as well to their guests.
The Slemon Hotel offers 88 guest rooms and operates Anson's Restaurant & Bar with seating for 80 patrons. Their Conference Centre accommodates up to 300 attendees, with five meeting room combinations available.
"A motor coach bus will arrive and I often get on the bus and take them on an eight-minute tour of the Park. There is a wonderful heritage area commemorating the valuable military role that this former airbase played in Canada's war history. Guests enjoy hearing about the unique history that they are part of at Slemon Park" says Kevin.
The former Officers’ Mess for CFB Summerside serves as the front desk and conference facility for the Slemon Park Hotel and Conference Centre.
Slemon Park originated in 1940, with the decision to open a base in Prince Edward Island to support the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. During Summerside's military role, residential housing in the area was named Slemon Park in honor of Air Vice Marshall, Roy Slemon.
The actual base was named RCAF Station Summerside in 1941 and became home to No. 9 Service Flying Training School for pilots, No. 53 Air Cadet Squadron and No. 1 General Reconnaissance School for pilots and navigators. In February 1968, the airfield name changed to Canadian Forces Base Summerside and ultimately closed in 1989.
Planes used for training during World War II included the HARVARD and the ANSON." Each of the rooms in our Conference Centre is named after the planes that flew out of this airfield, such as the Argus, and Lancaster and others, says Kevin.
In 1992, the large acreage and runways became the property of the new Slemon Park Corporation, which owns and operates the hotel and conference centre. Kevin is an Alberta native, and was working in the hospitality industry in Charlottetown at the time when he became the manager in 2005.
Kevin says, “our hotel is fortunate to have a steady year around business volume. Our sales volume enables us to retain staff, which is a key ingredient in our success”.
"We use our culinary talent as a draw for local business. We consistently serve a great seafood chowder. We innovate with recipes such as our Lobster Lasagna, and in July this year, Lobster Crepe."
"Another major effort we make is to serve our menu items in the style of a home cooked meal, which our customers appreciate. We make a lot of our own ingredient mixes and recipes onsite, which are very popular with customers, says Kevin. Eric Frenette is our Food and Beverage Manager, and Executive Chef Lori Rice, are a great team that keep our guests happy and coming back for more”.
"We are open 24/7, 365 days a year and we make a point to promote the exceptional quality of our food menu items as our marketing draw. We offer continental breakfast for our room night guests. We employ 25 full-time and another 20 part time for a staff of 45, for our size of an operation."
“We take advantage of everything the area has to offer to help build and maintain our business volume. We offer weekend conference retreats that include a food experience, as part of our effort to keep marketing a value experience to our guests”.
"There is an indoor Paint Ball facility in one of the former military buildings, so we promote around that attraction during the winter months. We offer aerial tours in summer tourist season. As a company we are fortunate in the culinary area, so we promote our menu specials. We offer a Two for One plate special that is so popular around the Island that we get calls every month on what the menu feature special will be next month", says Kevin.
"I appreciate what UNIPCO does for us. We have been a member for seven years, and the buying power is really important to our operation's finances. I also really like that everyone is treated the same way, regardless of their business size. Being a UNIPCO member has been good for us", says Kevin.
I use social media a lot. It is free and very powerful I take care of posting to Facebook while the Chef looks after the Twitter side.
Kevin is finishing a two-year term as President of the Tourism Association of Prince Edward Island, which is the voice of the tourism industry.