By Nicole Di Tomasso
As a native of Cowichan, B.C., Trina White’s original dream was to work in forestry ― fitting given her upbringing and her passion for the outdoors and environmental stewardship. But, somewhere along the way, her journey veered in a new direction and she landed in the Sales department of the Delta Hotels’ Prairie Regional Office in Calgary.
“I went to Malaspina University for three years to study biology,” says White. She then moved to the Camosun School of Business, where she earned a diploma in Business Administration in Tourism Management, earning a Masters of Tourism Management at Royal Roads University in 2013, where she also teaches in the Tourism and Hospitality Management program, specifically on sustainability.
White has been GM of the Parkside Hotel & Spa in Victoria B.C. since its opening in 2009. “The hotel initially had one tower with the front desk, which is where our current spa is. The entire opening (including two towers) was completed in 2013. This hotel is unique in that it was built from the ground up as a hotel model based on sustainability with exemplary hospitality and welcoming amenities in an urban environment.”
“The Parkside Hotel & Spa leads with a mission of hospitality and a core focus on sustainability. We’re really proud of our physical property, built with sustainability intentions. We’re even prouder of our team ― a collective of warm, inclusive, and caring members. We constantly review our core values, ensuring we provide an authentic experience for our guests while fostering a creative and energetic environment for our associates.”
Her efforts have earned the hotel plaudits as a leader in sustainable hospitality. “As a carbon-neutral, biosphere-certified hotel, we’re the first urban hotel in the world to be members of Beyond Green, a diverse portfolio offering a range of guest experiences in unique locations worldwide, focused on intentional travel.”
Later this month, the hotel will be renovating its pool area change-rooms while also testing a new look in 25 of its rooms. Its core customer group is a mix of leisure and family on the weekend and corporate during mid-week, with many of its customers coming from Vancouver’s lower mainland. The hotel currently boasts an ADR for the year of $240 with a RevPAR at $210.
To stand out from the competition, White says it’s important to “Be authentic and think outside the box. You can keep the classics but have a current, modern twist to it.” She leads with a style she describes as “down-to-earth, approachable, genuine, transparent and honest ― and always with a warm smile. People often comment on my smile and laugh and how welcoming it is.”
After several years in the business, White now measures success differently. “In the early years, it was about placing first ― whether I was rowing competitively or in getting reviews. I had to score high. As I’ve grown, my measurement of success has changed. Now it’s how is my team feeling? Do they feel supported? Do they feel set up for success?”