Ontario snowbird questions large Osoyoos hotels for change in snowbird rate policy

By on February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

Most of the large hotels ( I’m not sure about the motels) here in Osoyoos have changed their snowbird policy for 2017/18 season from a minimum one month stay to a minimum two month stay in order to get the discounted “snowbird rate.”

There are a lot of snowbirds that just come to Osoyoos during the winter months for only one month.

I know my cousin came every year for the month of March. They are now thinking of going to Penticton instead as they can’t get a discount here.

I’ve heard from several others that hotels and motels in Kelowna and Penticton are offering huge discounted rates for snowbirds.

We stayed at a large hotel in Osoyoos with a big two-bedroom suite last year and loved it there.

We came back this year, but couldn’t stay at the same hotel because the snowbird rate ended the end of March and we are staying for more than three months and didn’t plan on returning home until April 9.

We were very lucky as we managed to rent a private condo with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The hotels must realize that this new policy relating to snowbirds is hurting the economy here in Osoyoos.

I have spoken to some of the local businesses and they say the regular amount of snowbirds just aren’t here this year compared to last year and it has been very hard on them.

I believe the hotel owners here are cutting their own throats and in doing so have harmed the local businesses.

I hope they will think over their snowbird policy and change it back.

Do they want us snowbirds or not?

Lauralee Kennedy

Snowbird from Ontario

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  1. Lance

    February 21, 2018 at 9:03 am

    Seeing that my comment was removed, pathetic, life goes on with or without the snowbirds, and I believe I speak for most of the residents of Osoyoos.

  2. Les Dewar

    February 21, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Why would you need a Snowbird rate after the end of March? Winter is long over by then. Also, if people are coming for the winter, then it would make sense that they would have to stay a least 2 months to get the special SB rate. All sounds good to me. I would think that the main season for Snowbirds would be December through February.

  3. Don

    February 22, 2018 at 8:35 am

    I have been involved in accommodating Snowbirds here in Osoyoos for 18 years in two of the large hotels here in town and am involved with the local Destination Marketing Organization and the Hotel and Motel Association. The Snowbird Season with the majority of the hotels and motels in Osoyoos (when the hotels offer drastically reduced nightly rates for minimum 30 day stays) runs from October through to April inclusively. Hotels charge a nightly rate that is as much as 70% or more off of the regular nightly rates to people that stay 30 days or longer. Since 2015, this market segment of retirees from the prairie provinces has increased dramatically causing some peak demand times for monthly stays specifically in the month of March. If there are more people wanting 2 to 3 months of accommodation and you are turning them away because you have sold the month of March out to one month stays, you end up losing that extra month or two from the customer that wanted to stay longer than just one month. Since 2015, the hotel I manage requires a two-month minimum stay if the stay dates include the month of February or March. You can stay one month in October, November, December, January or April, but there is so much demand for the month of March, in order to fill the hotel effectively, it makes sense to put a minimum stay requirement. This is no different than in the busy summer months with hotels requiring a two or three night minimum on a weekend or long weekend or even a 7-day minimum stay required to book. I also sit on the regional tourism association board and know what other towns and cities are doing with hotel accommodations in the winter time and towns like Penticton and Kelowna that offer “drastically discounted” rates for snowbirds will not be any cheaper than what the hotels and motels in Osoyoos have been offering. One of the very important aspects of the Snowbird phenomenon we have here in Osoyoos is we are a small town that they are comfortable with that makes being social with other Snowbirds easy and my guests love the social aspect of staying in our local hotels and resorts. Staying in private rentals or in bigger cities, you lose that social scene the Snowbirds love.

  4. Elaine Taylor

    February 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    I understand all of the comments that Dan has put forth in his write-up but for many of the snowbirds coming here for the first time a two month stay might be just a bit too long and although it has been stated that for business reasons the two month minimum has been implemented you will find that the local hotels will find themselves without the business they have enjoyed if they continue this. I have lived in this community for 42 years, many of them owning a business and in the mid 70’s the lights were turned off and the streets rolled up on the September long weekend…..we don’t want this repeated…..We enjoy every aspect of our visiting snowbirds and hope the hotels will change this ruling.

  5. Michael Bol

    February 26, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    goodbye to tourism in Osoyoos. 2 months? few people stayed that long to begin with, while some do of course not enough and with other towns offering one month snowbird rates, why even come?

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