- April was the first time hotel occupancy in Edmonton shot 53 per cent since 2019.
- Garth Brooks will be playing two highly expected gigs in Edmonton on Friday and Saturday.
- The inflow of people to the city for those shows puts pressure on hotels.
A convergence of significant events like shows returning to the city and staffing shortages puts strain on the Edmonton hotel industry.
Country singer Garth Brooks gets his latest tour to the city with shows tonight and Saturday. The Edmonton Pride Festival also hosts a spectrum of events in the town this weekend.
That provides staffing challenges for hotels that see low booking numbers during the week but undergo surgery on weekends.
“We have to be innovative,” Manendra Sharma, general manager of Sandman Signature Edmonton Downtown, said Friday.
“The feeling of business isn’t there, and there is a shortage in the workforce, mainly in an industry like [hospitality].”
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Staff is being trained in numerous roles, letting them maintain regular hours, Sharma said, adding that it allows filling different positions during events when occupancy skyrockets.
Dave Kaiser, president of the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association, said the industry lost the team due to layoffs in the COVID-19 outbreak, and many are not returning.
“We run to find people to work it,” Kaiser said. “We’re still where occupancy and rates aren’t firm enough.”
Travel Alberta details reveal that April was the first time hotel occupancy struck 53 per cent since 2019.
According to a recent Smith Travel Research news, the national average is 63 percent, nearly seven percent below 2019 levels. That report indicated the lowest occupancy was reported in Edmonton.
Source – cbc.ca