Hotels Hurting

Manitoba Post StaffNews

WINNIPEG – An impact analysis of Manitoba’s hotels by accountancy firm MNP is painting a bleak picture of the industry’s future. The study, commissioned by the Manitoba Hotel Association (MHA), has revealed that most hotel occupancy, employment, revenue, and profit took a nosedive in the spring as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions, and the numbers haven’t bounced back to anywhere near normal. It received analysis from 90 MHA members across the province, and discovered that all of them had been severely impacted, with conference hotels seeing an 89 per cent drop in profits, and an 80 per cent workforce reduction in the second quarter of 2020. MHA President and CEO Scott Jocelyn says their members are absolutely devastated and are in need of some kind of help to keep their doors open.

MHA says, with the recent introduction of critical and restricted-level public health orders, hotels are facing the same economic devastation they felt in the spring. The study by MNP (previously Meyers Norris Penny) found that hotels had already been taking steps to save money, like cutting non-essential expenses, making major staffing changes, cancelling upgrades they had planned, and holding off on long-term debt payment.

“This is an industry in crisis,” Jocelyn says. “We need help if (we) are going to continue to be here to contribute to Manitoba’s economy when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”

Nearly 45,000 Manitobans have provided feedback on COVID-19 public health protection measures within the first week of the provincial government’s public engagement program involving surveys and telephone town halls.

The hotel industry has been seeking tax relief since tighter restrictions were previously put into effect on October 19.