BOOKING agent Sarah Wahl finds herself embroiled in a situation that has her scrambling to find hotel rooms at an ever-higher price point.
Sarah, who works as a book agent for a small hotel in St. John’s, Newfoundland, says she is finding herself in an increasingly difficult situation as bookings have skyrocketed at some of the province’s largest hotels.
“We’ve seen the hotel prices go up by $100.00 in just the last few days,” she says.
“We are having to go to the next hotel in the same city or the next one and try to find a hotel for $600.00.”
Sarah is a book writer and book tour guide, and she says bookings are soaring.
(CBC News)In recent months, the number of bookings at Newfoundland hotels has increased by more than 80 per cent, and the price has skyrocketed to more than $900 a night.
Sarah says the situation has become increasingly difficult as the province is grappling with its worst housing affordability crisis in decades.
“It’s a really big deal.
It’s a financial stress.
You can’t get around it,” she said.
“You just have to keep your eye on the price.
It keeps coming down.”
Sarah says many of her clients are struggling to make ends meet, as they’re forced to spend more and more time away from home.
“There’s a lot of people in this situation that have had to go out and have to be there, which they love to do.
They’re happy to be away, but they have to make do with being there,” she added.”
They just need to make sure they’re doing their part.”
While the price increases have been increasing, Sarah says many have not noticed.
She says they’ve been spending less time at home, but she is also finding that her business is suffering as people find it more difficult to book rooms.
“The people that are at the top of the food chain have really had to deal with this and it’s really hard to get through the door,” she explains.
“I’m dealing with this right now, and it is going to get worse.”
I’ve got my wife and I have my kids and there’s nothing I can do.
“Sarah, who is not trying to sell her home, is now trying to find somewhere else to stay.
There are currently four options available for her.
Her next option is to buy a home.
She’s already paid $2,000 for a two-bedroom apartment in St John’s.
The second option is for her to rent a hotel room at a rate of $600 a night for her family of four.
Sarah says she would love to stay in a hotel, but the current situation makes it impossible.
With prices soaring, she has no choice but to find another option, and is considering leaving the province altogether.
On Friday, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced that it would be hiking the hotel occupancy tax rate, from 5.8 per cent to 6 per cent starting in October.
According to a release from the Ministry of Finance, the change will allow hotel occupancy taxes to be collected at the same rate as property taxes.
But Sarah says that’s not enough.”
How much money do I make for being a hotel?” she asked.
So far, Sarah has not found a hotel that she can afford.
She’s also having trouble finding an apartment to rent.
In addition to the hike, Sarah is also concerned about what happens if the occupancy tax is raised again.”
We don’t know how much money we’re going to have to spend on our bills and what happens,” she explained.
As a result, Sarah plans to go back to working part-time and will only rent out her house if her rent increases.
While the occupancy rate is rising, she’s still not finding a hotel to rent for a decent price.
For now, Sarah will be staying at her home.