Beachside Motel is just one of the many motels and hotels in Penticton that are bracing for large monetary losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed)

COVID-19: Penticton hotels facing cancellations, income loss

With recent travel restrictions, local hospitality industry bracing for large financial losses

As the Canadian economy flounders due to the coronavirus pandemic, the hospitality industry is facing the prospect of massive financial losses.

With the recent restrictions on travel, the industry is likely to be hit hard. In fact, motels and hotels in Penticton are already starting to reflect this.

Penticton’s Bowmont Motel will not be offering nightly reservations for the 2020 spring and summer season and all existing reservations will be cancelled.

READ MORE: B.C. announces $5 billion financial relief for COVID-19 pandemic

They motel says they did this to avoid evicting its monthly renters. They are currently home to 43 month-to-month renters. Normally, the motel would switch over from monthly rentals to nightly at the start of May.

The motel, located on Riverside Drive, made the announcement this weekend (March 21) that they would not be taking nightly bookings and all existing bookings would be cancelled.

“We feel that to keep our guests, staff and family safe, this is the most prudent decision,” says the post. “We hope you are all well and that with care and compassion we can all get through this pandemic.”

The motel says that although they are cancelling reservations for the 2020 season, they will honour reservation renewals for the 2021 season and will be reaching out to guests individually in the coming months.

“We will lose a lot of money but we’ll be OK and we’ll be able to keep our monthly’s happy so it was kind of an easy decision,” said the motel’s manager, Samantha Tiesson.

Scott Roberts owns Beachside Motel, Sunny Beach Inn, and Waterfront Inn. He says he’s expecting massive financial losses as spring and summer seasons approach.

Roberts says the bookings for the summer season are still strong, but he’s unsure if that will last as the virus progresses. Spring bookings have already dropped off dramatically.

His three establishments are home to about 30 monthly renters in the winter.

“We do a lot of snowbird rentals,” said Roberts.

He furthered that a “small percentage” of these renters have returned home because of the virus, as well as fears of provincial borders closing.

Roberts’ hotels haven’t yet cancelled any nightly bookings because of the virus.

“Most of our people are returning families who have been coming and staying with us for years, often decades. So we’re not seeing much cancellations for the summer from them just yet.” said Roberts.

“We’re definitely seeing cancellations in large numbers but it’s mostly just in March and April — for now.”

READ MORE: Penticton’s Government St. Liquor Store closes due to COVID-19

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