Independent operators establish Niagara Innkeepers Association

NIAGARA FALLS, ON—In response to an influx of large chain hotel operations in tourism-heavy Niagara Falls, a collection of small innkeepers are banding together to have their voices heard. On June 12 the Niagara Innkeepers Association (NIA) was formed a

NIAGARA FALLS, ON—In response to an influx of large chain
hotel operations in tourism-heavy Niagara Falls, a collection of small
innkeepers are banding together to have their voices heard. On June 12 the
Niagara Innkeepers Association (NIA) was formed and its first appointments
announced.

“The market is the big fish right now,” said Devanshu
Narang, president of the NIA and owner of the Advantage Inn. “We’ll never be
big fish but we can join together to be bigger.”

The organization already has 39 members, with a total of 1,780
rooms under its guard. Narang told CLN
that motels like his own, with less than 100 rooms, are dying out in Niagara
Falls because tourists are drawn to larger hotels downtown.

“Because of our small size, we don’t really get the
benefits,” said Narang. “The goal of the association is to have a unified voice
for all of the small innkeepers who are slowly being pushed out.”

Narang said bargaining and buying power is something that
comes with the strength of numbers. The NIA is in the process of negotiating
with Expedia for an equal fee for its members across the board.

Another factor that Narang said the NIA is diligently
fighting for is revenue-based taxation. With all areas of Niagara Falls equally
taxed, Narang said the small innkeepers outside of the highly-trafficked downtown
area are at a disadvantage. “Our costs are similar, while our revenue is much
less than what you can get at Fallsview,” he said.

He said now, with its membership and room-strength growing,
these issues are garnering some attention and the NIA has begun negotiating
with suppliers.

“People should join together,” said Narang. “We have already
started seeing results here. Nobody was willing to listen to us, now the MPP
[Kim Craitor] has given us a chance to meet next week to talk about the
problems.”

Since an article on the NIA came out in the Niagara Falls Review, the Mayor of
Niagara Falls, Jim Diodati has also contacted Narang for a meeting, he said.
“As a group we definitely do get a stronger voice.”