STAY Nov/Dec 2021

STAY Magazine is an independently owned trade publication created to share stories, data and pointed trends within Canada's hotel and accommodations industry.

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this at Kelowna Zed and Victoria Zed. Not everything was money-making. At Hotel Zed, we have a fleet of vintage vehicles. Back when kids couldn't have birthday parties, we'd do these party parades and drive our vintage vehicles past the kid's house and play music, honk and make noise. We got no money out of that. We paid our team to do that. But it felt awesome. HOW DID YOU BALANCE YOUR BOOKS DURING THE PANDEMIC? It was knocking on any door. Instead of asking for business, we were asking, 'What can we do to help?' That led us to work with the B.C. Health Authorities (BCHA). If someone comes to the border and doesn't have a good quarantine plan, then they get a two-week stay at one of our hotels. We had room blocks with the BCHA at our Accent Inns in Richmond and Kelowna. That helped to carry us through the pandemic. WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE NEW HOTEL ZED? We were supposed to open in June 2020 but we were delayed to August 2020. It was my first new build, and it's my fantasy hotel. It was absolutely amazing to see my vision come true. That being said, it was also nerve- wracking because in Tofino, you make money during the summer months, and we pretty much missed out on those months. Then we immediately headed to a travel ban. Our property was empty. So, we reached out to the First Nations community. They were at risk of spreading the virus and they were very, very concerned about their health. We opened it up to them, saying, if you are at all concerned, stay with us for free. We had a number of families stay with us and it was lovely. Now we have an amazing relationship with the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR YOUR HOTEL, AND THE HOTEL INDUSTRY IN CANADA? It looks really, really optimistic. I'm so proud of our team. They're amazing. I think our company culture is driving numerous opportunities for us to grow. I think that Canadians are excited to travel again. There's a lot to be grateful for and there are lots of opportunities out there. I think that local leisure travel looks amazing. But we still really need to get the border open and get our international travel back. We need to see conventions come back. Until we see that, it will be challenging. WHAT PANDEMIC-ERA ADAPTATIONS WILL YOU MAKE A PERMANENT PART OF YOUR OPERATIONS? Leading with love, 100 per cent. We will always continue to help people. It's a good way of doing business. Same with putting our people first. I can honestly say that my team is my number one priority. And that's ahead of my customers. I will forevermore operate like that. In 2014, I opened the fi rst Hotel Zed. It's a brand of nostalgic, rebellious motels and hotels that are both renovated and purpose- built. Mandy Farmer November December 2021 | | 41

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