Most of the hotels and guesthouses in Vancouver, British Columbia, are pleased about occupancy rates during the Winter Olympics, although Vancouver’s temporary RV park at Jericho Beach hasn’t had the business it expected, according to the Vancouver Courier.
Instead of 350 RV sites spread across Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks, Duckworth Management Group is operating 110 spots, for $95 a night each, and all located at Jericho Beach. The company operates another 110 spots at Fort Langley. General manager Stan Duckworth says occupancy rates at both parks are at 70%.
“I don’t think the demand was quite what we thought it would be,” Duckworth said. “The average-sized RV park in B.C. is about 70 sites, so the numbers we’re at, they’re not bad.”
But Graham Laxton, vice president of the B.C. Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers Guild, which represents half of the B&Bs in Vancouver, said local guesthouses have been booked for a year. He helped coordinate a group of guild and non-guild operators in Vancouver to accommodate guests.
Based on recommendations of the Vancouver organizing committee for the Games, or VANOC, the guild suggested its members should charge peak season rates plus 25%. Laxton said typical rates for a room that accommodates two range from a low of $220 per night to a high of $350. “We’re in it for the long term, it wasn’t just the two weeks of the Olympics,” Laxton said. “We want people to come back and hope they have a good time and we’re certainly not gouging them.”
Vancouver hotels have a limited number of rooms available, according to Walt Judas, Tourism Vancouver’s head of visitor services and communications.
“It’s pretty typical,” Judas said. “We know, just based on previous Olympics, that that’s what happens. Salt Lake and Park City had between 80% and 85% occupancy, which they, of course, learned about after the Games were over.”
In December, 2,000 rooms were available across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, said Judas. Those included the 1,100 rooms on the canceled Norwegian Star cruise ship, RV sites and rooms in private homes offered by “preferred suppliers.”
Jean-Luc Barone, general manager of The Westin Bayshore, said rooms in three- and four-star hotels in the downtown core typically go for $400 to $600 a night.
Many of the rooms were booked by VANOC in 2003.
Home for the Games, the non-profit society that matches visitors with Metro Vancouver homeowners who agree to give half of their rental income to charities that help the homeless, has 260 homes in its inventory and 150 bookings, most lasting two to three days.
“It’s not bad for six months worth of trying,” said Tracey Axelsson, volunteer acting project manager of the society that launched in August.
Homeowners renting through Home for the Games are charging an average of $150 a night, Axelsson said, and the society’s raised $50,000 for two non-profits.
It also found free accommodation in Whistler for the family of U.S. 2002 silver medal winning bobsledder Billy Schuffenhauer, who, in return, will talk to the youth at Covenant House about his journey from being raised in extreme poverty and foster care to becoming an Olympian.