When an economy starts slipping people may still be going out to eat or shop, but the first luxury they cut is travelling.
One of the industries that feels that impact most closely is hotels.
With a lot of news focusing on airlines, hotels appeared to have been largely left out of federal aid until the latter stages of the pandemic.
However, with new national air travel quarantines coming into effect Feb. 22, will this act as a Band-Aid for struggling hotels?
Not every hotel will be eligible
There are pretty specific criteria for hotels to register under the federal quarantine program, starting with proximity.
The hotels understandably need to be located within 10 kilometres of the destination airports (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal).
This will knock out most of the downtown hotels in those urban centres.
It’s been a rough ride for many urban convention hotels, typically located in the core, with little to no business travel in the final three quarters of 2020.
Montreal’s downtown reportedly saw a 90 per cent decrease in RevPAR (revenue per available room) by mid-2020.
No ifs, ands or buts
Hotels which participate in the quarantine process must be prepared to report the daily number of travellers, with all their contact info.
They also must be willing to act as watchdogs to report non-compliant travellers. That means front desks must be manned 24/7 and buildings securely monitored for exit/entry.
An argument I’m not sure many have considered is if all hotels even want to be willing participants.
Long road ahead for many hotels
Any increased bottom line this will hold for hotels is really a drop in the larger bucket.
The hotel industry is going to continue to feel the sting until the tourism and travel industry has recovered.
The rollout of vaccines to the general public will take time and the industry should be planning ahead for the next 12-18 months anticipating what could be the new normal.