Tourism and hospitality businesses across Metro Vancouver are participating in the social media movement #WeAreTourism. We are supporting each other by sharing these stories of challenge and hope. 

This is one story.

“2020 was supposed to be one of our best years.”

But the year didn’t turn out quite like what Ali Yesilyurt, Manager of Auberge Vancouver Hotel, and his team, expected.

An independent boutique hotel located in the Terminal City Tower, Auberge’s main clientele has been business travellers, conference goers and cruise ship passengers. The COVID-19 pandemic has paused the conference and cruise ship sectors; business travel has also drastically reduced as everyone turned to virtual meetings and working-from-home.

“All these combined have impacted 90% of our business in the summer,” explains Ali.

Since then, Auberge has focused on other markets and explored partnerships with nearby restaurants. More than 95% customers are now domestic leisure travellers with the majority of them from within BC. They have also dedicated one of the floors for international visitors who need long-term accommodations for their 14-day quarantine. With these changes, they have achieved a 30% occupancy rate in September.

Resuming regular housekeeping services has been important to the hotel, to maintain a certain level of guest experience while securing more jobs for the staff. When the hotel reopened, according to Ali, team members were eager to return to work, ready to receive the new training and adapt to the new situation together.

“Without our staff, we can’t function,” comments Ali. He has made sure the team understands that their health and safety always come first.

The hotel has followed the health and safety guidelines of the health authority and recommendations from BC Hotel Association. After check-out, each previously occupied room would remain empty for 24 hours before a housekeeping employee cleans the room. It ultimately reduces the overall room availability of the hotel, but it’s another precaution to protect the team and guests. In addition to the regular cleaning procedures, housekeeping team members also steam clean fabric items that cannot be laundered. Specifically for the quarantine floor, the rooms are stocked with 14 days of supplies prior to guest arrival and contactless delivery is available for additional supplies or meal delivery.

“If we take the necessary steps, it’s achievable to provide good service while making sure that our staff and guests are healthy,” adds Ali. Auberge was recently awarded Travelers’ Choice Award for 2020 by TripAdvisor.

Ali commends Auberge’s Housekeeping Supervisor, Elaine, for her contributions during this trying time. She is responsible for training all the housekeeping staff and ensuring everyone is on the same page and follows the cleaning procedures.

“Our understanding of cleaning has changed drastically,” observes Ali. While business operations may eventually return to “normal”, Ali believes that the overall health and safety standards of the industry have been raised due to the pandemic and will remain at this level in the long run.

And that is one positive outcome from this devastating situation.

ARTICLE BY: Joyce Lam, Kumquat Marketing
PHOTOS BY:  Mark Kinskofer, Vision Event Photography
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT BY: Kelly Liberatore, Creative Contessa Marketing