Sidney lodges are having bother filling vacancies – Victoria Information

It’s good news, bad news for hoteliers.

As COVID-19 infections decline, the percentage of people vaccinated increases, and governments repeal public health protocols, local inns have less and less space.

“We’re excited to see people return,” said Lisa Nordstrom, General Manager of the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa. “It gives everyone a really positive feeling that we are on the right track.”

However, this shift also contributes to a labor shortage in the accommodation sector.

“It’s definitely a challenge for all positions,” said Nordstrom. “As a team, we naturally help in all departments with everything that is needed. That’s exactly the kind of team we are. “

Nick Coates, general manager of the Victoria Airport Travelodge at the other end of Beacon Avenue, can sing the same tune.

“I have a severe labor shortage – too many vacancies and not enough people to fill them,” he said.

Working hours seem particularly tight in the kitchen, a condition that preceded the pandemic. “COVID-19 made it worse,” he said. “We also have vacancies at our reception, in our housekeeping department, in our maintenance department – all of the above. And from conversations with my colleagues, I know that everyone is in the same boat. “

Coates said his hotel began promoting these spots in March in hopes the restrictions would be lifted. “Anyway, if it weren’t for that, we knew business would be a bit busier in summer than in the middle of winter or fall,” he said. “So we’ve been advertising for five months – we couldn’t fill these positions.”

Coates suggests several possible reasons for the labor shortage. “It’s just a theory, but I and many other business leaders believe that government programs like Canada Emergency Response Benefit and Extended Employment Benefits have stopped some people from looking for work.”

The hospitality industry also relies on local post-secondary students, but distance learning has meant that many out-of-town students may have stayed out of town.

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One possible remedy is to attract workers from other parts of Canada or even beyond. “But again, living here on the coast is a daunting proposition for some people just because the cost of living is so much higher out here and it’s directly related to housing,” said Coates.

Local guides have also raised concerns about transportation to the Saanich Peninsula from other parts of the Greater Victoria area in the past.

Coates said the shortage forced the company to work with fewer employees. A free shuttle for visitors who would otherwise run stops and the pub part of the hotel runs at reduced times. “We’re only open six days a week at the moment because I don’t have enough staff to use my full potential.”

Unsurprisingly, he is concerned about what will happen when cross-border travel resumes.

“We are just holding out, and with our significantly reduced workload compared to what we would normally do in the summer,” he said. “When the border opens and a number of American tourists come here, it will be difficult to accommodate them.”

For its part, Nordstrom is unsure how to deal with the labor shortage. “If I knew that, we wouldn’t be in this trouble,” she said.

Ultimately, the shortage will require more flexibility and efficiency, added Nordstorm, “but it was a struggle”.

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Saanich Peninsula

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