Hotels Will Be Ready: HAC Boss Says

The Hotel Association of Canada is calling on governments to remove restrictions on province-to-province travel, saying doing so would be a boost to the country’s struggling lodging industry and could be done in a manner that wouldn’t lead to a further spread of coronavirus.

HAC president Susie Grynol told the Wednesday Baxter Media TravelWebcast that the hotel industry is doing better in some parts of the country than others, and cited travel restrictions as one of the reasons for the uneven performance.

Canada is one of only a few countries with such domestic travel barriers, said Grynol, who said she believed governments should at “least open up” Canada to Canadians, something she believes can be done safely.

Grynol said during the TravelWebcast — the second of three during Baxter Media’s Travel Webcast Week — that the hotel industry “hit rock bottom in March” but is now seeing “a slow, turtle-like crawl upwards” and her association is “cautiously optimistic” that much of the normally busy summer season can be saved.

The association recognizes that having consumers confident that they can have a safe hotel stay is key to a major hotel industry recovery, and Grynol said hotels are making “sizeable” investments in technology that provides an enhanced sanitary environment and improved cleaning. “When people are comfortable (about travel) … hotels will be ready,” she stated.

Grynol said hotels are easily able to ensure that new safety protocols are carried out by staff, something she says isn’t the case with the short-term rental industry, such as AirBNB.

She said she wouldn’t book her family into a short-term rental unit as she would have “no idea who stayed there before and how it was cleaned.”

The TravelWebcast was also told by Julie Owens of Small Luxury Hotels of the World  that its members should look attractive to those concerned about whether they’ll be able to practice social distancing on vacation  because of the properties’ smallish sizes.

“I do believe the luxury market will have a quick comeback,” she said.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World has over 500 members worldwide.

Owens said it views travel agents as “extremely important” and works to support them “in any way we can.”

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Today’s Baxter Media TravelWebcast is about packaging and selling Canada and participants include Tourism Industry Association of Canada president Charlotte Bell.