(Quebec) All hands to battle, last Monday morning at Hotel Champlain on St. Anne Street in Old Quebec. Three employees missing. And establishing full.
A first simply “forgot” to report to work.
Another ad, without further notice, he goes to work elsewhere.
A third had to run urgently to hospital. His wife is in labor.
“We quickly gathered the troops,” says the owner, Michelle Doré. “We recalled an employee who was on leave. The housekeeper – who normally supervises the work of maids – has the hands-on to help her companions and our maintenance man played the role of housekeeper. ”
Such is life in the hospitality industry!
Thursday morning, when visiting the Sun, there were crowds at the reception of the Hotel Champlain. The dining room was crowded. It rolled smoothly. Customers, mostly American tourists, life was good.
The general manager of the hotel, Thibaut Godicheau, had put on his clothes manager. For a few hours earlier, he had to replace at short notice the valet who did not enter. “In my contract, it’s called other related tasks!” He pushes the joke.
Some time ago, it was the night watchman who is failing at the last minute. Quick, a distress signal to a security agency.
There is also the sudden departure of a cook. Hastily, he was replaced by a Syrian-born chef not knowing a word of French or English.
“We consider ourselves lucky when a worker warns us to say he will not attend for whatever reason. Too often we do not get any sign of life, “says Michelle Doré who sees behind this attitude, a generational phenomenon. “I’m not saying that all young people act this way, but they are likely to do so.”
No thankless task
Michelle Doré, she arrived at the hotel around 7:30. She never knows what to expect. Is everything ready for breakfast? Are there any breaks during the night? ongoing renovation work they progressing?
In addition to the Hotel Champlain, which chairs the Hotel Association of the Quebec City region also owns two other hotels in Old Quebec (Auberge Place d’Armes and Garden St. Anne) with his son Marcus Anthony and Vincent. The family business also runs a restaurant, ice cream parlor and a creperie.
In all, nearly a hundred rooms and up to 120 employees during the summer season.
“Here, you have to be versatile,” says Ms. Doré.
For her, there is no thankless task. Even washing dishes.
“Everyone is looking for the world”
For the need of the shot captured by the photographer from the Sun, Michelle Doré, gives himself airs sordid.
Do not worry. She’s not unhappy, the hospitality of 69. Far from there.
Just very worried about the future of the tourism industry.
“Tourism is an easy way to bring in foreign exchange. We, we do not import a product, but a consumer who is spending money here. ”
It leads also a battle against all Airbnb of this world “deplete” Quebec by not paying their dues to the state, which nevertheless needs of all its revenue to fund schools, hospitals and services social. And it promises to be even more virulent the day she will abandon for good the daily management of its facilities.
His other battle is that of labor. Specifically the shortage of staff in the hospitality industry.
“It’s simple, everyone is looking for the world. There is not a stone we do not turn. We call on the personnel agencies and they do not have a single candidate to offer us. As for educational institutions, they simply can not provide all graduates with industry needs. ”
Internally, Michelle Doré encourages its employees to play headhunters. “If an employee has recommended a new worker and that he is still with us three months later, the employee will receive a bonus.”
Does the industry pays well enough employees including students who are a precious commodity during the summer?
“At $ 12 or $ 12.50 per hour for a young secondary is reasonable in my opinion. That compares to what he would earn for selling clothes at Simons. ”
For the hotel, it must at all costs trades and professions in the industry are showcased and a greater openness to immigration happens.
Not tomorrow. Today.
“It will be a great year”
Just take a ride into town to find that American tourists have taken over the capital.
With a US dollar worth CAN $ 1.29, not surprising to see our southern neighbors come to vacation in La Belle Province.
“Let’s say that with the current exchange rate, Americans are a bargain by coming to us,” says the director of the Office of Tourism Quebec, André Roy.
Another effect of the devaluation of the dollar, Canadians are much less likely to escape to the United States this summer. Our dollar is worth only 77 ¢ US.
“In town, we also see many Ontarians and Quebecers of other regions. Another sign of the influence of the exchange rate on the choice of destination of travelers, “says Roy.
“While the numbers in June are incomplete, I am able to say that the tourist season is in large part to Quebec. It should be much better in 2015, “the Director of the Office of Tourism Quebec.
A view shared by the president of the Hotel Association of Quebec City, Michelle Doré. “Everything is filled in advance. It’ll be a great year. ”
Secure the school calendar
The increase in tourist traffic amplifies the problems experienced by hoteliers to find the necessary staff.
“If you welcome more customers, you need necessarily more employees. The calculation is simple, “says André Roy. “Or find employees, it is not easy. It’s been years that the tourism industry says and repeats it. ”
Furthermore, Mr. Roy explained that it must be 20 years of industry request to the Ministry of Education to secure the school calendar to that of the summer tourist season.
“As of August 15, we lose all our young people who have gone back to school. At this point, we are in the heart of the tourist season. Why not extend the school year in a few weeks? We suggest to the government for ages. Nothing moves, “recalls André Roy.
“When students leave, it’s the worst end of the year for us,” says Michelle Doré. “Our regular employees are notified. They can not take their annual vacation between the second week of August and the second week of September. Everyone should be in position to compensate for the departure of students while our institutions still overflowing with customers. ”