Calgary Hotel Association considers ancillary fees

Sol Zia, Calgary Hotel Association.

CALGARY — The plexiglas screens, hand sanitizer stations, footprint stickers, personal protective equipment and safety measures required post-pandemic will add costs to running a hotel. Sol Zia, executive director of the Calgary Hotel Association, talked to CLN about ancillary fees to cover these expenses. Some hotels have already implemented this type of fee.

The Calgary Hotel Association sought guidance for all Alberta hotels at a round table held earlier this month. The idea was that hotel could administer ancillary PPE fees that would allow hotels to collect costs related to post-COVID safety measures. The CHA did a poll of its member hotels to understand the costs of personal protective equipment and cleanliness protocols. The survey showed that the impact on Calgary hotels in 2020 would be more than $1 million in unplanned costs.

All of this comes at a time when occupancy and RevPAR are at record lows.

Other ancillary fees could cover housekeeping, with hotels charging an incremental fee for housekeeping requested during stays beyond one day. This would help offset the costs of both guest risk management and employee risk involved in additional housekeeping services. One set of guidelines would require that guests are completely out of the room when the room is being serviced. A few hotels are considering this fee, Zia said.

“We don’t know what the potential fees for personal protective equipment, safety and housekeeping will be,” said Zia. “What will happen with valets and bell service? What are the safety concerns with those jobs? Everything will have to be completely sanitized.

“I don’t have the answer,” he said.

“This year was supposed to be the year of a turnaround in Alberta,” Zia noted. “We have a double whammy. Things are tougher — and there’s no comeback for business because the traveller has been paused by COVID-19.”