Empty London hotel rooms underscore COVID-19’s enduring fallout

Article content continued At his hotel, Drummond said bookings are off by 50 to 70 per cent compared to pre-COVID levels. “It’s a huge drop.” Hotels were allowed to reopen after the pandemic’s early shutdowns, but almost all of the normal business drivers in the industry have been derailed by […]

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At his hotel, Drummond said bookings are off by 50 to 70 per cent compared to pre-COVID levels. “It’s a huge drop.”

Hotels were allowed to reopen after the pandemic’s early shutdowns, but almost all of the normal business drivers in the industry have been derailed by lingering coronavirus restrictions.

Summer festivals such as Sunfest switched to an online model.

Concert venues like Budweiser Gardens aren’t bringing big-name acts.

Airline travel has shrunk to a fraction of its usual volume, with only a trickle of business travel.

“Hospitality and tourism were hit first and hit hardest by COVID,” Finn said.

The Delta Armouries on Dundas Street has 220 rooms. Business there is off by as much as 75 per cent, said Gerry Champagne, the hotel’s general manager.

He said the downtown landmark is running at about 20 to 30 per cent occupancy, but to make a go of it, a hotel needs to be in the 65- to 70-per-cent occupancy range each year.

“We go after groups and a lot of conventions and athletics,” Champagne said. “Not a lot of companies are travelling right now. There’s absolutely no sports. Weddings have just stopped.”

General manager Gerry Champagne said the Delta London Armouries is operating at 20 to 30 per cent occupancy. (Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press)

Normally, seasonal business like Christmas parties could help, but that won’t happen on the usual scale this year.

All those hockey tournaments that draw young players and their families to London, where they stay for at least a couple of nights, are also a thing of the past.

“That kind of missed inventory is very hurtful” to the bottom line, Finn noted.

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