Wednesday 30 December 2020

HOTELS - Summer/Fall News and Notes – 2020

Tips, Observations and COVID Protocols in Two Great Okanagan Hotels

In August I observed two trends during a short driving vacation through British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley with it’s incredible scenery and world-class vineyards.

My wife Linda and I stayed in two very nice hotels, one of which had just opened. It demonstrated surprising new initiatives – but also some inconsistencies relating to Covid 19 protocols.

An Electric Observation

Electric Cars have arrived and both hotels are prepared! We noted the 6-8 electric charging stalls were fully used every night.

Have you seen the Ford electric car ads or heard about the upcoming electric F-150 (The biggest selling pick up in North America)? You and I will soon be driving hybrids or fully electric powered cars. As you know, most hotels, probably including your own are preparing for the future by accommodating this growing need today.

Exponential technological development is happening extremely quickly in this decade and beyond. It’s important to stay on or ahead of the trends.

Notable Changes in Hospitality Services

With summer being the high-revenue period for resort properties, I noticed same day check out, room cleaning and the check-in of new guests as in pre-COVID practice.

At most hotels, for multi-day stays there is no daily room cleaning for guests. Personally, that is what I prefer. That eliminates the possibility of room contamination by an infected staff person.

Linda and I took note of the reduction in the quality of complimentary breakfasts. Previously hotels offered a reasonable breakfast selection that often included a mix of hot and cold serve yourself items.

That has been replaced by a prebagged sub-standard offering.

 Post COVID Questions

As we move back to “normal,” (literally happening in China right now) will hoteliers be able to reduce expenses and pass on some of the savings to guests by offering one of three cleaning regimes?

(i)              Full Daily Cleaning.

(ii)             Periodic clean-up but no linen washing for multi-day guests.

(iii)           No cleaning at all until check-out. 

Similarly, for complimentary breakfasts, although this could likely be more trouble than it’s worth:

(i)             For limited service hotels normal offer – Breakfast included.

(ii)            No Breakfast at a slight reduction in cost.

More COVID Related Thoughts and Observations.

We found most services and amenities were excellent. They combined to make our hotel experiences most enjoyable. However, I noted a few shortcomings starting with arrivals and ending with checkouts. 

1. Mask policy: There was none. However, conveniently placed hand sanitizers were everywhere. While many guests wore masks, hotel staff did not except for food service. 

2.  Elevator protocol:

Property A: No control. Guests used the elevators freely although we all respected physical distancing and waiting for the next elevator. But there was no express protocol.  

Property B: excellent control utilizing your room key. If you were alone, or with a bubble person(s) such as family members, you used the lift. No one else rode with you. 

3.  Common areas such as hallways:

Both properties: No masks - guests simply stayed out of each other’s way as they do in a Canadian Tire or grocery store. It would be impossible to do things differently except with a specific mask policy. 

4. Food and Hotel Restaurants

Property A: This is brand new 2.5 star top flagged hotel which provided a free pre-packaged bag breakfast. The idea was fine, but the “breakfast” was unbelievably bad. At a 2.5 star but top flagged property, we were given a frozen ham and egg wrap. Thawed in the microwave, it became mush! Needless to say, we went out for breakfast.

Also an abundance of fresh fruit is part of the Okanagan Valley Brand. That is what it is known for. We found it curious that the pre-packaged “free” breakfast included a small, partially ripe orange that was imported. Where was the delicious local fresh fruit?

Property B:  No free breakfast but, believe it or not, a buffet? To be fair, patrons had to sanitize their hands. However, none of us had to wear a mask. There wasn’t even a sneeze guard! The only protection for all food offerings? Clamshells! And we fully served ourselves – no staff except coffee.

Further, the food description did not match the offering – creamy scrambled eggs were totally dry. This was the second hotel and thereafter, like the first hotel we ate out for breakfast. Much better quality and literally ½ the price.

The restaurants for our evening meals were up to par and very enjoyable.

5. Checkout – In my December post, with no car I shared how I discovered a valet parking charge of $124 CAD when checking out of a venerated 4-star hotel in Washington DC.

It was déjà vu in the Okanagan. At Property B, I was charged double for our buffet breakfast. The experience served as another reminder to secure and check your bill upon leaving.

As we all know it is important to impress upon staff to take the time to ensure that the patron confirms the charges. In the midst of a speedy check-out, mistakes like these may not be caught by the customer. When discovered, such a mistake may influence his or her decision to return next time.

With business travel, it can be worse. If discovered by a company accountant checking expense charges this seemingly small detail can cause a big problem.

The Best News – Occupancy was certainly up and approaching normal for resorts during the popular summer months.


I’ve just closed on an Alberta hotel sale and there is certainly some interesting “high level” news. I’ll include that in my next blog later this month or in November.

Are you looking to buy a hotel property? Pease call me. Do you need to sell your hotel? Please call me. I have put together the independent Hotel Exchange Group and you can put our experience, industry knowledge and network of buyers and sellers to work for you.

Watch for my next blog!


Tim Anderson B.Comm

Vice - President Hotels 

Hotel Co-Owner
Associate Royal LePage Commercial
Cell/Direct 403-862-4179


Member - SKAL - International Hospitality Organization
Founder - Hotel Exchange Group - Select Specialists - over $350,000,000 Hotel Sales
Principal - Quad.5555 Inc.
President - Calgary West Rotary Club 2019

Tuesday 12 May 2020


Peter Greenberg: Internationally renowned travel consultant and Emmy award winning investigative journalist is an author, produces “The Travel Detective Show” and “Eye on Travel” as well as being a regular contributor to CBS and PBS. (Check him out thru the internet.)

Peter provided a great update regarding travel and tourism with his very recent webinar presentation to Skål. Skål International was started in 1934 and is an international hospitality organization to which I belong.    

I have focused on the highlights of his talk and categorized each sector. First, the ‘Bad News’ followed by his ‘Good News’ section. He did say a lot more than I can cover in this update.

Mr. Greenberg made this interesting observation: 

Everything shut down almost instantly – Everything will reopen carefully and slowly. 

People/consumers will come back but with an abundance of fear and caution. 

Hotels and Motels

Bad News: The guest wants a guarantee that he or she will be safe. This will mean the likelihood of reduced capacity from the point that rooms will have to be left vacant for a day before the cleaning person goes in.

They will also want reassurances that the staff is healthy to ensure the safety of guests. And like airlines, the loyalty programs will be more heavily promoted to get the guests to return. (Good for the public. Mixed blessing for the hotelier.)

Good News: Room Rates will not be set in the same way they were before COVID-19. People will not buy on price. Rather, they will buy on trust. In other words, guests will be prepared to pay more for the reassurance that the property is SANITIZED and SAFE.

The large flagship hotels have all set up and are promoting new cleaning protocols. Hilton has announced a “Clean Stay” program in partnership with Lysol and the Mayo Clinic. Marriott has initiated the Global Cleanliness Council. Wyndham says “Count on Us”. Choice has “Commitment to Clean”. The other flags will or already have done the same. All hotels are being super careful and super clean!!

This is Critical!
Every hotel owner should have this information on their website and on-line booking agencies.

Perhaps the best news for those of us in rural towns and the prairies? Road travel will pick up, especially within a 300-mile radius of a destination. This is a relatively easy 6-7 hour one day drive.

Family trips or just “Let’s get away for a couple of days” vacations will be popular. And, because these cleaning protocols will be much more trusted with hotels and motels, there will be an uptick in reservations that might have gone to AirBnB. Owners of properties booked through AirBnB and similar rental agencies may not necessarily follow cleaning protocols and will not be generally trusted as much at this time. 

Finally, travellers in the US and Canada will vacation within country due to concerns about getting out of the country and then not being allowed back in if showing symptoms of COVID-19.

If returning travelers still face 14 day quarantine requirements, that will also influence international travel restrictions.

Restaurants and Pubs

Bad News: The restructuring of seating will be dramatically changed due to spacing.  Greenberg suggests mid-range dining establishments will be severely affected as tables will be significantly spread out.

2x2  / 2x2 / 2x2 seating will be out. Large rectangles for 4 and circular tables for 6 to ensure enough social distancing. Because of this reduced capacity it follows that revenue will be reduced substantially. The cost of meals could rise by as much as 30-40%.

Of special note, Greenburg forecast that restrooms, which are often close to the kitchen, will no longer be allowed to be there. He suggests bathrooms will be near the entry enabling guests to wash their hands upon entering the restaurants. Buffets will be out!

Good News: Many people, particularly millennials, love to dine out and gather for wine and cheese, beer tasting, tapas and similar events. They enjoy various drinks while in social settings watching sports on TV, live music entertainment or just to visit.

Peter suggests guests will come back in droves and fast food outlets and the high-end dining establishments will survive and move forward.

However, marketing has to change from the kinds of promotions that the industry was known for. Creative content will focus on “discover how sanitized we are” messaging to the public.

Overall the focus will be on, “What are you doing to keep my friends, loved ones and me safe?”


Bad News: Travel is down 95%. Thousands of planes are parked and many won’t be brought  back into service.

A number of LCC’s (low cost carriers) may well go out of business. The greatest concern of travellers is knowing whether they may have problems getting home.

Good News: To bring consumers back, the airlines will actively open up their frequent flyer loyalty programs. In recent years they have upped the number of miles for points redemption because their planes were operating near full capacity (98%).

Because of customer anxiety, lowering the qualifying points to fly will lure passengers into the air again. Greenburg noted there are 23 Trillion unredeemed air miles in their various forms.

Flights will be cheap. A recent flight from Fort Lauderdale – LA return flight? $38 bucks with only 8 people onboard! 
Wrapping it Up

  1. Travel Insurance will undergo a major clarification. Apparently quite a few “cancellation” insurance policies did not cover pandemics. It was in the fine print on page 5! Who reads that?

  1. The public will demand much more clarity and transparency.

  1. Deposit money in escrow. Booking agencies and/or airline and/or cruise lines will not be allowed to require deposits that they can spend until they deliver the service. Our travel money will be much more secure. 

Under the heading, Tim’s Hotel-Motel News Bits on my website, I provide these Blog News Pieces on a periodic basis to provide relevant, useful and interesting information to the Hotel-Motel Hospitality industry.

Contact Info
Tim Anderson – Hotel and Motel Specialist & Hotel Co-Owner
Licensed Real Estate Associate – Royal LePage Commercial
403-862-4179  Email:


Posted by Tim Anderson
Calgary Hotel Sales, Banff Hotel Sales, Canmore hospitality sales, hospitality, hotel listings, hotel sales, motel listings, motel sales, Tim Anderson Commercial Real Rstate /

Sunday 29 March 2020

Tims Hotel-Motel News Bits

We are living in difficult times that seriously impact our industry and I am not one to make light of a pandemic or any severe health or economic crisis. However, if you are like me, you still want to read, see or hear some optimistic news on the topic. So, lets start with these comments as we head further into the uncertain future.

The first is a timely analogy from history which is non-disease related but would havebeen just as concerning and fear causing, probably moreso than our current COVID-19 fear and the second is a very short but encouraging reminder from aexperienced hotelier.

1. Historical Analogy: The book The Splendid and The Vile is a recent publicationby a terrific author (*see note) and it deals with what must have beenno what was an unbelievably discouraging time in the very early stages of WW2. The period is June 1940 tJune 1941 which is before the US entered the war. The French who had the strongest army in Europe were teetering on and then did collapse. The English under the newly elected Prime Minister Winston Churchill were supporting the French with whom they had a mutual protection pact. Already that had not been working out well as you may recall or know from the recent movie Dunkirk

Churchill had expected the French to withstand the Germans and both France and England desperately wanted US support. The US electorate were essentially isolationists i.e. let Europe sort itself out  we Americans dont want to be involved. Roosevelt had not decided if he wished to run for an unprecedented third term and was both fully aware of and wary of his country’s citizens anti-involvement desires.

So  to the analogy!
1. Youre Churchill
2. The French have just capitulated to the Germans.
3. The Americans cant be counted on for anything
4. The Germans with their superior troops and technology can set up across the channel for bombing and an invasion. (Only 21 miles or 33 km)
5. You can expect Panzer tanks crashing through Trafalgar Square.
6. You have images of paratroopers landing in your garden.

When one thinks about it  the possibilities are phenomenally disastrous.
No off work self-isolationno quarantine 14 days or more, nhealth test check,
not just yourself to worry about ---- BUT the entire country. Can you imagine the anxiety and fear?

And how did it ultimately work out? Germany was defeated and England and the Allies were victorious. But in the summer of 1940, there was only a blank wall withunbelievable odds and a lot of rampant fear. By comparison the current pandemic issueas serious and frightening as it is and can/will be in the near future its nowhere near the seriousness and frightening as what England was about to go through in 1940.

2. So, to put this in perspective, herethe this too will pass so be careful but not too fearful comment by a hotelier friend to whom Ive sold several properties one of which is in the Rocky Mountains. He has seen his share of crises and heres what hsent me: 

We have experienced and survived (i) SARS, (ii) Swine Flu (H1N1), (iii) Mad Cow Disease, (iv) Y2K (planes falling out of the sky, internet crashing) (vForest Fires, (vithe 2008 US and World Economic Crisis, (vii9/11 and expected terrorism(viiiavalanches (at his mountain hotel) (ix) pipeline disputes and (x) even often upsetting elections
So, of course, we will get through this covid-19 as well.

Final thought. The 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic which hithrough the end of WW1 was followed by what?The Roaring Twenties. I full expect us to have a Roaring Twenties as we recover from this pandemic AND I don’t expect that it will be followed by a 1930s style depression.

So please be careful and use all of the safety measures with your loved ones, your guests and customers and of course yourself. Until the next time.

Tim Anderson 403-862-4179
Member SKÅL - International Hospitality Organization 
Founder/Member  Hotel Exchange Group
Select Specialists  Over $350,000,000 in Hotel Sales
Hotel Co-Owner (minor)

*Author Eric Larsen, the authordoes tremendous research and has a terrificengaging cant put this book down writing style. His books include: Dead Wake about the sinking of the Lusitania, In the Garden of Beasts about Hitlers Germany from 1933-37 thru the eyes of the US Ambassador at the time, among othersall very compelling reads.

Posted by Tim Anderson
Labels: Calgary Hotel Sales, Banff Hotel Sales, Canmore hospitality sales, hospitality, hotel listings, hotel sales, motel listings, motel sales, Tim Anderson Commercial Real Rstate / anderson commercial