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Edmonton and Calgary hotels struggling, but Alberta resorts thriving

Click to play video: 'Ravaged oil prices resulting in empty Alberta hotel rooms' Ravaged oil prices resulting in empty Alberta hotel rooms
WATCH ABOVE: In some parts of Alberta, finding a hotel room was a difficult thing to do when oil prices were booming. But with the energy sector devastated by low oil prices, many hotels are now struggling just to stay half full. As Tom Vernon reports, the industry is now looking for new ways to fill their rooms – Mar 29, 2016

EDMONTON – The economic downturn in Alberta has hit hotels in the province’s two major cities hard, but resorts are enjoying a surge.

An ATB Financial report shows Edmonton hotels experienced a drop in occupancy in 2015 by seven per cent compared to the previous year, while Calgary had a six per cent decrease during the same period.

Edmonton hotels had a 63 per cent occupancy in 2015, while Calgary’s occupancy rate was 64 per cent.

READ MORE: Edmonton report indicates downtown growth creating desperate need for new hotels

Hotels and motels in Alberta’s two major cities made an effort to reduce the damage by reducing cost. Edmonton’s average room rate in 2015 declined by 1.1 per cent to $135.64 compared to 2014, while Calgary’s dropped by five per cent to $157.47.

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ATB Financial said the decline was caused by a cut in business trips to Alberta’s cities because of a lower loonie.

READ MORE: As Alberta’s economy tanks, oilpatch players eye international forays

It’s a much different story when it comes to Alberta’s resorts and national parks. Resorts’ occupancy rose by 2.5 per cent  in 2015.

Also, the average room rate at resorts jumped by nearly nine per cent to $232.32 per night from the previous year .

ATB Financial said a lower loonie has benefited Alberta’s resorts. It’s brought more international tourists to Alberta, and it’s meant more Albertans have stayed in the province instead of travelling outside of Canada.

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