Housekeeping only on arrival and departure at hotels, more self-serve options at restaurants, and smaller menus.
These are some of the impacts visitors to Kelowna and other tourism destinations in the Thompson-Okanagan should brace for this summer.
“Businesses will be struggling to give you the service they want to give you,” said Ellen Walker-Matthews, Acting President and CEO of Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association. “Just relax and enjoy the moment and understand it might be a little bit of a slower service than you expected in the past.”
“I think there’s been a fair amount of anxiety, especially in the last couple of weeks”, said Arun Subramanian of go2HR. The company helps recruit employees for the tourism industry in the Okanagan. “There’s a huge pent-up demand out there, so they’re going to start seeing visitors coming probably in droves, as the expectation goes, especially in some of the resorts.”
To attract workers, businesses are going to have to get creative.
“Are you offering flexibility for your workforce? You often create work schedules that are beneficial to the business or the employer, but are you creating work schedules that can be a little more beneficial to your employees?” asked Subramanian. “Sometimes it may mean using two employees for one job because it will help you attract people who can work a certain number of hours.”
He also suggests restaurants consider more self-serve options and reducing their menus to take pressure off the kitchen.
Walker-Matthews advises people to be prepared for reduced service. “You might not get housekeeping every day when you’re travelling this year, because it just might not be possible.
The shortages are right across the board. “It’s front-desk, housekeeping, cooks, all the back-of-the-house jobs,” she said. “As well as when we talk to our wine industry, they’re having difficulty in the wine centres getting people to do tasting rooms.”