Stay local advice benefits Okanagan, Kamloops hotels on Easter long weekend | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Stay local advice benefits Okanagan, Kamloops hotels on Easter long weekend

Hotel Zed in Kelowna, like many hotels in the region, had a fairly busy Easter long weekend.
Image Credit: Submitted/Hotelzed.com
April 05, 2021 - 1:00 PM

Easter weekend turned out to be better than expected for many hotel operators in Kamloops and the Okanagan despite provincial health advice against unnecessary travel.

“We’ve been fairly busy all weekend,” Aaron Johnson, front desk clerk for Kelowna’s Hotel Zed, told iNFOnews.ca. “I’m quite surprised.”

Most guests were from within the Okanagan, with some Kelowna residents enjoying a “staycation” at the downtown hotel.

“This is not the time to for any of us to be travelling for leisure or vacation or get aways outside of our communities,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Thursday, April 1. “Travel is still very high risk for all of us. We see that we take the risk from where we are coming and we take it home from where we have been.”

Dr. Henry did encourage people to get out and enjoy their local communities.

“If you need a break, go to a local campground or stay in a local hotel,” she advised. “Staying local will support local businesses and we all know how important this is right now with the restrictions that we’ve had to put in place this week to try to get our numbers down.”

At Hotel Penticton, about one-third of their reservations were cancelled when Dr. Henry ordered restaurants closed last Monday, but other reservations came in so they ended up being half full over the weekend.

“That’s about average for what we would do for an Easter weekend,” Colin MacDermott, the hotel’s concierge manager said. “But it was at lower rates than we’re normally charging.”

Again, most guests were from Kelowna or the South Okanagan. The one room rented to Alberta residents was because they are building a house in Penticton.

What did suffer was their Bear’s Den Restaurant that would normally have been “crazy busy” on an Easter Weekend.

At the Plaza Hotel in Kamloops, people seemed to be traveling from further afield, heading to Vancouver Island or coming from the Lower Mainland to ski at Sun Peaks Resort, Irene Klossner, who works on the front desk, said.

The hotel was “medium busy” since all rooms could not be rented out as they have a policy to leave at least 24 hours between guests.

They were able to open their patio for food service on Friday and Saturday but guests ordering room service had to head downstairs to pick it up themselves rather than have in-room delivery.

Stephen Dodwell, general manager of Kelowna’s Best Western hotel, said guests are very good about wearing masks and safe distancing.

“People are heeding the message,” he said, noting that, while it was a busy weekend for the hotel, it was nothing like a normal Easter weekend.

And the next few weeks, where the hotel is historically busy with traveling sports teams and business people, don’t look great as those things are not happening right now.

“People are still nervous,” Dodwell said, noting that business in the coming weeks will depend on what restrictions are in place in Alberta and whether foreign travel opens up.

“People are not booking very far ahead,” MacDermott at the Hotel Penticton said. “Most of our booking are within 24 hours of arrival.”


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