The Oyster Bay Microtel opened its doors for the first time May 10, 2018. Since then, the hotel has seen sustained success. Hotel Manager Peter Watts plans to build on that success and continue growing the Microtel’s reputation.
“We definitely have been establishing our market place,” Watts said. “Being new into the market last year, people didn’t know who we were, where we were, a lot of that situation. Now, of course, we are definitely becoming more recognized in the area.”
The Microtel has been recognized by various municipal chambers of commerce in the area, and has been recognized by the Nanaimo Hospitality Association. The Microtel has also become a premier destination for travellers to and from the Nanaimo Airport. Distressed passengers, (passengers who have cancelled flights) used to be shuttled to the Coast Bastion in downtown Nanaimo. The Nanaimo Airport is now sending some of those passengers to the Microtel.
“The proximity to the airport is a bonus. A lot of the flights leave at four, five, six o’clock in the morning, so people are coming here to stay for the night, then get a taxi to the airport,” Watts said. “I would say that on a weekly basis I have at least 10-15 people doing that.”
Watts plans to install television screens in the Microtel lobby that display arrival and departure times from the airport.
While business from the airport is popular, the Microtel has seen quite a few families book rooms. They have also gotten business from corporations, including shutdown crews for Catalyst paper. Travel agents come to the hotel, members of the Coast Guard stay when they train at the Western Maritime Institute. The Microtel also features a conference room that can accommodate 60 people.
“The meeting room is booked on average at least once or twice a week,” Watts said.
Tripadvisor played a big role in building the reputation of the Microtel. The Microtel has a 4.5 of 5 rating on the site, and a host of positive comments from guests. Many guests comment on the cleanliness of the hotel, as well as features like the pool and waterslide. Watts said the hotel is in the process of adding an outdoor patio and gazebo to give guests and staff a place to lounge that isn’t the main lobby.
The biggest challenge for the Microtel is that there is no nearby restaurant to service guests. Since weekends are busiest for the Microtel, Watts has scheduled a food truck, the Mexican Food Mafia, to set up outside the hotel on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer.
The Microtel currently employs 19 people, including seasonal workers. It has been a job creation opportunity not only for Stz’uminus, but people from the general area as well.
All signs point toward a successful summer for the Microtel and they are focused on continuing to build their reputation as a destination for Vancouver Island travellers.
“It’s going quite nicely. It’s a little quiet sometimes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, but other than that, we’re doing quite well, ” Watts said.