AHLA members learned about the latest market trends and most recent government activity impacting hotels at the AHLA’s first online Quarterly Innsight meeting. This new, members-only event will give members insight into the market realities that are affecting hotels, and how the AHLA is responding. More than 50 people attended this first session.
Key takeaways from the meeting were:
- Alberta hotels have been greatly challenged by COVID-19, not only because of travel restrictions, but because of the pandemic’s effects on consumer confidence and behavior.
- Although the price of oil has recovered slightly from the slump seen earlier this year, many Alberta junior oil and gas companies have had limited success accessing the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP).
- Recent forecasts suggest that the hotel industry will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2023-24.
How the AHLA has responded to the challenges of COVID-19:
During COVID-19, the AHLA has supported Alberta hotels by:
- Calling on the provincial government for:
- Deferral & abatement of the 4% Tourism Levy, meaning that hotels automatically receive an additional 4% on room revenue to the end of 2020.
- Legislation to extend temporary layoffs to 120, then 180, days, allowing hotels to maintain employment relationships with their staff and delay potentially devastating termination costs. The AHLA continues to work on a long-term solution to this issue.
- Access to the $5,000 Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant for hotels. The application deadline for this grant has been extended to September 30.
- An increase to VLT commissions from 15% to 25%, for which we are currently awaiting a response.
- Developing guides and support materials for Alberta hotels to assist with the challenge of ensuring the health and safety of staff and guests during the pandemic, including:
- Recommended Procedures for Hotels with Self-Isolating Guests
- Resources and templates for staff layoffs, staff recalls, and property closures
- AHLA Staying Safe Guide, which guides hotels as they reopen or ramp up their operations after COVID-19
- AHLA Safe Accommodation Promise (ASAP), which helps hotels assure the health & safety of staff and guests
Advocacy for Tourism Policy
The AHLA continues to be the voice of our industry and we continue to fight for Alberta’s tourism sector. We have made the following requests on behalf of our members:
- Repeal and replace the Tourism Levy Act to ensure 100% dedication of funds to grow tourism
- Expand the mandate for Travel Alberta
- Protect the voluntary Destination Marketing Fee system
Bill 32 – Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act
Recent changes to Alberta labour legislation will benefit hospitality employers and reduce red tape surrounding employment standards in the areas of:
- Termination & layoffs
- Pay & payroll
- Hours of work
- Youth employment
As Alberta hotels continue to be challenged by the economy, some are considering repurposing their properties into affordable housing. The AHLA is working collaboratively with Altus Group to provide information and facilitate opportunities. Interested hotels may be interested in attending “Should I Consider Converting My Property?” at Ascend, the AHLA’s new event for hotel industry leaders and investors, on September 21 & 22. Register for Ascend now
Adapting Our Membership Model
The Board of Directors is reviewing the AHLA’s membership model to ensure membership is fair and affordable, and to ensure that the AHLA can continue to deliver the advocacy, programs, and resources that members need.
The AHLA’s Quarterly Innsight will be a regular event to give members insight into the current challenges of the environment in which they are operating. Mark your calendars for the AHLA’s next Quarterly Innsight meeting on Wednesday, November 18 at 1:00-2:30 p.m.!