By Lethbridge Herald on September 26, 2020.
In the Sept. 17 Lethbridge Herald, guest columnist Sylvain Charlebois, in noting the importance of restaurants and hotels to the economy and particularly to tourism and recovery of the economy, stated “if we use restaurants and hotels as bait, consumers will buy more than just a meal or a hotel stay — boosting the overall economy.” Sadly, this concept is often forgotten, losing the importance of the hospitality industry in marketing a destination.
Summer 2020 has been a challenge for hotels, due to travel restrictions and the pandemic’s effects on consumer confidence and behaviour. Recent forecasts published by Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association suggest that the hotel industry will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2023-24. The Lethbridge Lodging Association (LLA), consisting of accommodation properties that voluntarily invest in Lethbridge to attract and increase visitors that stay overnight, took the lead in destination marketing this past summer through its Free to Explore integrated, multi-media campaign, which provided incentives to overnight visitors to enjoy local and regional tourist attractions and dine at local restaurants.
Hotels/motels are vital to Lethbridge. Tourism Lethbridge calculated that in 2018, the total accommodations industry in Lethbridge resulted in nearly $42 million worth of revenues, and this number does not consider the economic impact of guests spending on food, retail, tourist attractions and recreation. Each year, LLA invests hundreds of thousands of dollars to Lethbridge events such as PBR, Jazz and Blues Festival, Ag Expo, U of L Men’s Hockey UCup, Paradise Canyon Open, and Nikka Yuko Winter Lights — and many more. In addition to investing in our community, hotels/motels pay over $2.1 million in property taxes to the City of Lethbridge. The viability of hotels/motels is crucial to the local and regional economy and as an important stakeholder in tourism, must be included in the concept of destination marketing.
Lethbridge Lodging Association