March break provides lift for P.E.I. hotels

In a year with few bright spots last week was a busy one for P.E.I. hotels.

‘People tend to forget the impact it has on our people’

John Cudmore says it was a busy week at his Holman Grand Hotel in Charlottetown. (CBC)

In a year with few bright spots last week was a busy one for P.E.I. hotels.

"The city was alive," John Cudmore, president of the Hotel Association of P.E.I., said of Charlottetown.

"We weren't sharing the travel with the Caribbean or Florida or these places. Most operators were enjoying a very good March break."

A hockey tournament and ice city events in Charlottetown helped business, and the captive audience helped businesses across the Island, he said. It was a needed boost, said Cudmore, with revenues down 70 to 80 per cent in the 12 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Man wearing glasses, suit jacket and dress shirt stands in a hotel corridor.
Hotel operators and staff have needed to be prepared to change plans quickly, says John Cudmore. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

The year has been hard on staff. Managers have had to look ahead with two or three plans depending on how conditions might change, and staff have needed to be flexible.

[They] pivot at the drop of a hat. We're opening, we're closing, we're opening for the summer, we're opening for the Atlantic bubble," said Cudmore.

"People tend to forget the impact it has on our people."

Hotels are looking forward to the opening of the Atlantic bubble next month, and the possibility of the Island opening up to the rest of the country at some point this summer.

While that opening is not a certainty, Cudmore said many operators are accepting reservations from outside of Atlantic Canada, and some are relaxing their cancellation policies to accommodate people in uncertain times.

People are trying to make plans, he said, and hotel operators on P.E.I. are pleased they are including the Island in those plans.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from CBC News: Compass


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