Victoria hotel bookings soar as coronavirus restrictions loosen

Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News

As coronavirus restrictions continue to loosen, hotel bookings in Greater Victoria are on the rise.

According to Destination Greater Victoria, year-to-date 2022 hotel occupancy is up 123 per cent compared to the same period in 2021.

Furthermore, year-to-date 2022 average daily hotel room rate increased 144 per cent compared to the same period in 2021 while year-to-date revenue per available room is 178 per cent higher versus the same period last year.

“We had a busy spring break. But, looking out 120 days and further we have real reason for optimism,” says Paul Nursey, the CEO of Destination Greater Victoria.

Destination Greater Victoria attributes the increase to a variety of factors including pent-up demand for travel, the relaxation of restrictions such as in-person events, and marketing campaigns in a range of cities including Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle and San Francisco. Additionally, Victoria International Airport has seen the return of international flights and the Coho ferry has resumed operations between Victoria and Port Angeles.

“The last two years have been extremely challenging for all of us in the visitor economy. We are delighted to see vibrancy return to the destination, and increased revenue for important business segments. This is an unusually busy spring season, and we could not be happier,” Darlene Hollstein, chair of Destination Greater Victoria said in a press release.

While the news is positive, the organization notes that the Greater Victoria visitor economy continues to face challenges such as significant debt loads, tight labour market conditions, and pressures due to inflation. However, officials note there is a lack of space in our city and the push is on to open more hotels in the capital city.

“There is a need for new hotels, not just for the capacity but also today’s traveller want’s new style amenities,” adds Nursey.

Destination Greater Victoria and industry leaders remain optimistic especially given that cruise ships are slated to return on April 6 and the Seattle-Victoria Clipper V passenger ferry service is expected to resume service on April 15.

“Greater Victoria hoteliers are excited to welcome back travellers. Seeing our book of business build for the coming season is a promising sign and leaves us optimistic for a strong season in the entire sector. Over the past two years the COVID-19 pandemic created many challenges for our industry and for those that earn a living in the visitor economy, but many businesses are now preparing for a busy spring and summer,” said Bill Lewis, chair of the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria.

The Oswego Hotel is one of the many hotels gearing up for the busy season, saying their traffic hasn’t slowed since summer.

“We’re seeing a lot of re-books from 2020, so international, European travellers that couldn’t come over in 2o2o, they’re now re-booking and coming back this summer,” says Erin Banham, Director of Sales and Guest Relations with The Oswego Hotel.


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