Vancouver hotel prices rise amid tight supply

The price of real estate isn’t the only thing rising across Metro Vancouver, as hotel rates also increase amid higher demand and tighter supply.

A quick search of for one night in Vancouver shows nothing available below $300 for Tuesday, though rooms in private homes, in hostels, and in some hotels outside the city are listed.

In many cases, hotels in the city itself were listed in the coming weeks for more than you’d pay at a decent hotel in places like San Francisco for a night.

BC Tourism Minister Lana Popham knows the struggle firsthand, as she travels to the mainland from Vancouver Island often as part of her work.

“It’s starting to be a difficult choice on where to stay, for sure. We see these fluctuations seasonally, they happen, but unfortunately, we don’t have any control over those rates,” she explained, adding higher rates are “concerning.”

Thousands of hotel rooms needed in coming years: Destination Vancouver

Popham tells CityNews the issue is on the province’s radar, especially as the government eyes larger events and annual demand from things like cruise ships.

“Hotel rooms are an issue that we’re trying to work on with the association in general. We need more hotel room space. We have a lot of huge events coming, FIFA being one of them, and we need an increase in our hotel room stock,” Popham said.

Destination Vancouver President and CEO Royce Chwin says the organization estimates an additional 5,000 rooms are needed in the city over the next decade to meet increasing demand, as well as to keep the area a desirable destination for visitors and conventions.

“It’s a matter of policy at the city level and moving this along, the labour to build, and, of course, supplies. But it can be done and we’re thinking about 5,000 rooms would be significant over the next decade to help satisfy some of that demand,” he told CityNews.

The idea of losing out on conventions is one that has multiple downsides, Chwin says.

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In many cases, he explains conventions can lead to longer-term business on multiple fronts, as people make connections during such events. However, if those visiting aren’t able to find affordable places to stay while they lose business, they could go elsewhere.

“What people have to know is if a convention comes here and somebody comes to visit Vancouver, the likelihood that they’re going to come back for a leisure trip or the likelihood that they’re going to build a connection here to do longer-term business, we’re at risk of potentially losing that as well,” he said.

Across the Metro Vancouver region, Chwin estimates there’s a need for about 20,000 additional rooms by 2050.

One option to increase supply, he says, would be to convert office buildings.

“Again, the demand is there, so it wouldn’t be an issue of building a hotel property or accommodations and not having people coming here. That’s the easy part,” he explained.

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