Case Study: Accent Inns: Looking After Your Staff Lets Your Business Look After Itself

Accent Inns has turned building business success into a science. The company is a shining example of how far a commitment to family values, combined with the BC spirit, can take you.

Mandy Farmer, President & CEO, Accent Inns

The hotel chain is represented across the province, most recently opening a location in Burnaby. The secret to its success? Community involvement. An increased visibility in the community carries with it an increase in social responsibility, and it has been a core business component that Accent Inns approaches eagerly. By engaging the communities in which it serve, Accent Inns has also created a team of dedicated employees who take pride in their work by making the world a better place.

Through its “Commitment to Community” program, Accent Inns has supported over 230 organizations, from multi-national organizations such as the Salvation Army and United Way to local groups such as the Ucluelet First Nation and BC Children’s Hospital. The company also runs a charitable program called “InnAid” that uses the resources of the hotels, combined with the hard work and good will of its staff, to make a real difference in the surrounding communities. Originally, through the InnAid program each location supported only one charity a year. Due to the growing demand from both the communities and staff, Accent Inns recently expanded this initiative to support more charities. In addition, the InnAid program now also encompasses a public festival event, so charities and non-profit groups can exhibit and raise awareness for their programs. Today, its staff knows that they have the power to recommend and support causes that are dear to them.


“We get our staff involved in the process and work with groups that mean something to them at an individual or community level,” said Mandy Farmer, president and CEO of Accent Inns. “We don’t force participation on them, but they are extremely passionate about it and it shows.”

This level of respect for its staff is the key to Accent Inns’ exceptional record in employee retention. Currently, 35 per cent of its staff has been with the company for at least five years, of which three per cent has worked 20 or more years and 21 per cent between 10 and 20 years.

With such impressive numbers, Accent Inns sought to understand the impact its community relations activities have on its staff. The company added a new metric, Employee Pride, into its annual employee survey to assess how engaged they feel. Eighty five per cent of its employees stated they are “proud to extremely proud” of working at Accent Inns.

“Pride shows enthusiasm, so I personally think it’s phenomenal. But I’d love to see it get even higher this year,” says Mandy.


“Our commitment to staff is important,” said John Espley, Accent Inns’ director of marketing and communications. “We can sit down with them and make a connection. Staff see this and embrace it.”

John is a voice of authority on this matter, having been with Accent Inns for 21 years and now charged with expanding its community relations activities. Over those years, he’s seen firsthand how the company pays attention to its staff and implements their ideas to build staff loyalty and increase retention.

A good example of its attention to its employees is the case of the rubber duck. Accent Inns places one in every bathroom.

“The guests love it, but it was our staff who wanted to know if there were any toxic materials in it,” says Mandy. “To keep with our environmental policy, we checked to make sure that each rubber duck was 100 per cent rubber and not plastic. This engagement keeps us on our toes. We take their suggestions seriously as they are on the frontline and it keeps a good balance for everyone.”

Accent Inns has developed a formula that creates success. By listening to staff, engaging with its surrounding communities and following environmentally friendly practices, Accent Inns has turned it into a lucrative transaction. Mandy concludes, “A happy employee makes for a happy customer, which in turn affects your bottom line.”