B.C. hotel industry struggling with labour shortages, increased costs

Prince George’s role as service hub helped maintain demand for hotel rooms during pandemic

Nearly three years after the COVID-19 pandemic delivered a gut-punch to B.C.’s hotel industry, workforce shortages that prevent hotels from operating at capacity still hamper the path to recovery.

The province now has as many as 50,000 job vacancies in tourism and hospitality and federally there’s a shortage of 300,000 workers.

The federal government has adjusted its Temporary Foreign Workers policies to allow the hospitality industry to bring in up to 30 per cent of its workforce from other countries. The program allows them to work while they wait for approval as landed immigrants and that’s helped increase employment numbers, but it’s not enough to fill the thousands of jobs currently available in B.C. hotels.

“Many of the hotels are operating at 70 to 80 per cent capacity because they don’t have people to clean the rooms,” said Ingrid Jarrett, president and CEO of the B.C. Hotel Association. “This is the tightest labour market that we’ve seen and it’s not just our industry, it’s construction, manufacturing, many industries because the baby boomers are retiring and the tech sector is growing.”

Fuelled by megaprojects like the LNG Canada gas terminal, BC Hydro’s Site C dam, Trans Mountain Pipeline and Coastal GasLink pipeline, hotels in the Prince George-Prince Rupert-Fort St. John corridor avoided the precipitous drop in business during the pandemic felt more profoundly in Victoria, Vancouver and the Okanagan, whose economies are more dependent on tourism.

Prince George has significantly increased its hotel room inventory over the past five years to meet the demand for rooms, largely driven by the city’s role as northern B.C. hub for goods and services, health care, and the prevalence of large-scale natural resource projects in the region. 

The new hotels –

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Chicago hotels look to avoid labor union strike amid recovery

Hotel managers may argue they don’t need as many workers to run their properties with the COVID-fueled advent of new practices like mobile check-in and more guests opting out of daily room cleaning. Owners — many of whom are still trying to recoup hefty losses from 2020 and 2021 — may also balk at union pay-hike demands as higher costs of supplies and other goods squeeze their profits.

Net cash flow last year through October at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, for example, was running at just more than half of its 2019 level, while the W Chicago in the Loop posted similar numbers during the 12 months ended in September compared with its full-year 2019 figures, according to Bloomberg data. Spokesmen for both hotels did not respond to requests for comment.

Yet labor leaders will likely negotiate from a position of strength because many hotels still can’t find enough workers for housekeeping and other service-related jobs. A September survey of 200 hotels by the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that 87% of respondents were experiencing a staffing shortage. Many workers left the industry for other jobs when the pandemic shuttered hotels and have not returned.

Unite Here Local 1, the union that led the 2018 strike and represented more than 3,700 Chicago hotel workers as of 2021, will likely have more negotiating leverage to push for higher wages, increased benefits and new workplace rules, says Robert Bruno, a labor studies professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. But after so much upheaval in the hospitality sector over the past three years, both sides will also have to come to an understanding about the post-pandemic Chicago hotel experience for guests, he says.

“Should there be first-class room service? Should there be a full catering staff? Should rooms be cleaned on

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Chinese travelers want luxury travel and hotels, survey shows

Consumers in China plan to pay up when it comes to hotels, a Morgan Stanley survey found in late January.

The research points to growing demand for high-end and luxury hotels in China now that the country has ended domestic travel restrictions — and a Covid wave has passed.

“Consumers appear more willing to increase spending on hotel accommodation for their trips vs. pre-Covid, with 20% citing it as their top travel expense compared to 17% each in 2017 and 2020,” Morgan Stanley analysts said.

The report released Tuesday cited a proprietary survey from Jan. 29 to 31 of about 2,000 consumers across China’s larger cities in 19 provinces.

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The report said that “37% of the consumers prefer higher star-rated hotels, up from 18% in 2020, with higher-income consumers showing even stronger appetites for luxury hotel stays (47% vs. 31% in 2020).”

“Mentions of budget hotels and mid-range hotels fell universally.”

Savings soared

Consumers’ penchant to save soared to record highs during the pandemic. Retail sales lagged overall economic growth in China in the face of uncertainty about future income.

Morgan Stanley said the survey found a similarly muted appetite for shopping, despite it ranking as the top expense for travelers. The shopping budget for travelers was 9,405 yuan ($1,387), slightly higher than in 2020 but still well below the 2017 level of 13,782 yuan, according to surveys over the past few years.

“The majority of the consumers expect to keep their overall spending unchanged in the next six months (70% vs. 73% last month),” the report said.

But 24% of respondents said they planned to spend more to “upgrade their lifestyles” — an attitude that typically results in buying higher quality products. That’s up from 20% a month ago, the report said.

“The increase in the number of

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A few hotel changes to expect

With airline turmoil taking headlines, it’s easy to overlook the fact that you’ll likely spend more on hotels than air tickets in your travels this year. And the main expectations in hotel travel will probably be no surprise: continued inflation, reduced service and more new “brands” from the giant chains. The main saving grace in facing hotel prices is that trading down a bit is easier and less painful than it is with airlines. If your main need is simply a place to get a good sleep, today’s economy hotels o ffer a pretty good value.

That fact is likely behind Hilton’s announcement that it is launching a premium economy brand, the company’s first foray into a marketplace currently dominated by Choice, Wyndham and Best Western. “Spark” will open its first properties this year, priced below Hilton’s former lower-end Hampton brand. As far as I can tell, most initial locations will be conversions of properties previously operating as other brands rather than new builds.

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If you can’t keep all the different hotel “brands” separate in your mind, you’re not alone. Hilton’s new brand brings its total to 19; Choice is up to 13 brands with its new Radisson combination, IHG has 18, Hyatt has 16, and Marriott boasts 30. Some classifications are easy to understand, such as “economy,” “midscale,” “suite” and “extended stay,” but the more recent innovation is “lifestyle” hotels, which, as far as I can tell, are conventional hotels with a thick application of nonsense.

In Europe, giant Accor is focusing on its popular Ibis brand, now divided into at least three price sub-brands. And in the U.K., both midprice giants, Premier Inn and Travelodge, have segmented their offerings into different price levels.

On the price-comparison front, I’m not

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World’s best hotel to be crowned this year in new list

The World’s 50 Best lists are famous for turning restaurants into household names. Take Noma, which went from a little-known Copenhagen restaurant to international phenomenon after it was crowned No. 1 in the world in 2010.

Now the company that has become a kingmaker for the globe’s top restaurants and bars is preparing to do the same for hotels.

The inaugural list of the World’s 50 Best Hotels will be released at a ceremony in September. As usual, the company will do its best to drive the hype: The winners will be revealed during a live countdown, culminating in the announcement of the No. 1 destination.

UK-based William Reed Business Media, which operates the World’s 50 Best rankings, sees an opportunity to fill a gap in the market.

“The hotel awards business has been quite locked up with advertisers/big business predominantly being the deciders of who are the winners,” says Yolanda Edwards, one of the new award’s nine unpaid regional “academy chairs” and the former creative director of Condé Nast Traveler U.S. “To have an independent award list that actually surfaces real favorites can not only bring to light incredible properties that might otherwise go unnoticed, it can also surface best practices that might have incredible impact on larger hospitality groups.”

Various companies publish star ratings or awards for hotels, such as Forbes and Condé Nast. Michelin includes hotels in its guides, which were originally produced to encourage road trips, and in 2021 expanded its hotel program. Countries or regions maintain standards for what they consider to be a 1-star to 5-star hotel.

None of them, arguably, singularly focus the public’s attention quite like a global rankings list that determines the best offering in the world.

And that raises a question: How can you determine that one

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Some Virginia Beach hotels already sold out ahead of Something in the Water 2023

A stay at the Cavalier will run you about $5K that weekend

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Trying to book a hotel room in Virginia Beach for the 2023 Something in the Water Festival? You might not want to wait, as some hotels are already showing they’re booked.

Just hours after Pharrell Williams announced the festival’s return on Wednesday morning, booking data shows several hotels near the festival site from 4th Street to 15th Street had no capacity for a Friday to Monday stay, including the Hampton Inn at 10th and Pacific and the SpringHill Suites at 9th and Atlantic.

Now those are properties right on the beach near the venue, but several hotels further north are also showing no vacancy, including the Comfort Suites Beachfront and Oceanfront Front Inn on 29th and Atlantic. The Holiday Inn Express at 26th and Atlantic meanwhile was showing rates more than double of the next weekend, about $500 per night. That’s more expensive than current rates for the Fourth of July weekend.

Data from an ODU study showed hotel occupancy for the 2019 festival was 90% or higher for the whole city and about 94-96% for the Resort Area. 

John Zirkle, the president of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association, said some hotels may already be officially booked and others may have closed their booking to take inventory and make sure they can accommodate larger groups also expected in the area that weekend for non-festival events.

However, there don’t appear to be any major concurrent events in the region like there were in 2019, when about 40-50% of rooms were already taken before the festival was announced. Norfolk’s Festevents, which coordinates with other local event organizers to reduce overlap, says

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Hotels tasked with mitigating potential fallout from UK economic situation

The Hawksbill Hotel on Antigua’s west coast is said to be a popular vacation spot for British visitors (Photo cour-tesy

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By Orville Williams

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Hotels in Antigua and Barbuda that could be affected by the current economic situation in the UK have been tasked with addressing any potential fallout, ahead of the upcoming winter tourism season.

While the local tourism sector is anticipating the ‘most normal’ season since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the sliding value of the British pound could affect the plans hoteliers, vendors, taxi and tour operators are looking to put into action, starting in a few months.

The pound sterling hit a record low against the US dollar this week, following an announcement of several fiscal measures including tax reductions, investment incentives and financial support – aimed at avoiding a projected economic slowdown.

 Soon after that announcement, international currency traders started selling the pound in droves in favour of the stronger dollar, less than a month after new Prime Minister Liz Truss and the rest of her government took office.

Now, there are concerns that people in the UK – which is Antigua and Barbuda’s second-largest tourism source market – could be hesitant to spend money on vacations, concerns that do not bode well for the twin island nation.

Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Lionel Hurst, acknowledged those concerns during yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing, and explained that the onus is on the hotels to ensure they continue to attract visitors during this turbulent time.

“We don’t know how long this decline of the pound’s value will last, no one knows it, but what we do know is that the second largest number of people who visit Antigua as tourists come from the UK.

“Therefore, we

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Which hotel discount sites have lowest rates: study

(NEXSTAR) — Considering an end-of-summer vacay? You may be scanning hotel discount sites for the best rate on a quick getaway but a new study by travel site InsureMyTrip shows you may get more bang for your buck on some versus others.

Using data from 1,000 hotels across 20 cities, InsureMyTrip compared rates of three major booking sites to see who offers the cheapest deals on average — in addition to how much and how often. The study also compared discount booking sites with the cost of booking with hotels directly.

Here’s the ranking from most expensive to least expensive, per the study:

4. — Average price (for a double room for 2 people): $250.14. had the cheapest rates about 7% of the time.

3. Booking directly with the hotel — Average price: $222.87. Using a hotel’s website was cheaper than the three other sites about 39% of the time. Direct booking is also about $6 more expensive than the top 2 discount sites.

2. Expedia — Average price: $217.28. Expedia offers potential savings of about $32.87 and was the most affordable option about 579 times (or 58%), according to InsureMyTrip.

1. — Average price: $217.01. The difference between and Expedia is pretty marginal, though had the cheaper rate about 69% of the time.

It’s important to note both Expedia and are owned by the same parent company, Expedia Group, and thus, had similar or identical average rates in many instances. representatives did not immediately respond to Nexstar, however, Managing Director of Asia Pacific Laura Houldsworth told CNBC the company aims to be transparent with customers and that “our property partners are free to set their own prices on

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People are booking in at hotels for the air con today as UK hits record temperatures

18 July 2022, 10:06

Brits are turning to hotels, churches and supermarkets as the country hits 40C today.

People in the UK are turning to hotels, churches and supermarkets during the heatwave.

Hotel bookings have surged this week, with guests booking in just to enjoy air conditioning.

The Met Office recently issued a red weather warning for extreme heat, urging people to stay inside as much as possible.

But with temperatures set to reach 40C in some parts of the country, people are now booking cheap hotels such as Premier Inn and Travelodge so they can sleep with air con.

People are booking into Premier Inn's this week
People are booking into Premier Inn’s this week.


One person admitted on Twitter: “About 10 mins away from booking a hotel so I can sleep with air con.”

Another wrote: “Booking into the Premier Inn as we speak for a few days of air con.”

“Anyone in London want to go halves on a hotel with aircon Mon and Tues night?!,” someone else asked.

While a fourth person said: “We are looking at setting records here in the UK this week. Likely 40°C (104°F). Almost no one has air conditioning and our infrastructure is not designed for this heat. I’ve found a hotel with air con to get me through this. Many can’t afford that. People and pets will die.”

A spokesman for Premier Inn added: “There is high demand for all our rooms at the moment.”

People are seeking relief from the heat
People are seeking relief from the heat.

Getty Images

The booking website,, is even offering its followers the chance to win a one-night stay with air con.

This comes as the Government issued 11 new guidelines as a ‘national emergency’ is officially declared.

The Government’s Level 4 alert says the heat could have impacts

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