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Ingrid Jarrett of Kelowna was just appointed to head-up the BC Hotel Association. She has taken on the role just as the industry faces a crisis worse than anyone could have imagined.
We connected with Jarrett via Zoom to talk about the path forward for this beleaguered business.
There are about 12 hundred hotels in BC. The 800 that belong to the association, represent 60 thousand employees. Currently, over 50% are closed, with another 100 closures expected within a week. "It's heartbreaking," said Jarrett
"If we don't save our summer, which is increasingly doubtful," she predicted, "about 30 percent of those businesses will not have the capacity to re-open."
And it's not just big corporations that are feeling the impact. 80% of hotels in BC are small and medium-sized, independently owned. "Many of them are multi-generational," added Jarrett. "And many of them are the centrepiece of a community."
Jarrett said the economic relief measures are very, very welcome, but the margins for many of these businesses are so small, they simply cannot sustain their business.
For those who are around when it comes time to rebuild the industry, she said it will be partnerships and collaborations that will make it possible. "Because when you're facing something like this people open up their hearts and say 'I'm dealing with this right now, are you dealing with it too?' she suggested," and two minds are better than one."
Jarrett said she can already see those partnerships forming, and that's encouraging.