Debate over discount

Loved Ones Special may harm local businesses

The Loved Ones Special allows friends and family to stay in Victoria Hall for only $32 a night for a single room.
The Loved Ones Special allows friends and family to stay in Victoria Hall for only $32 a night for a single room.
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Kingston businesses are worried that a special discount offered by Queen’s Event Services will negatively affect them this summer. The ‘Loved Ones Special’ lets faculty and staff at both Kingston General Hospital and the University bring their friends and family to stay in residence for as little as $32 per night.

Warren Bennet, owner of the Abbey Manor Inn and Secret Garden Inn said he is definitely unhappy with the situation.

“We can’t compete with these rates; it will definitely have an impact on our business,” he said. “Queen’s should be ashamed; they’re effectively killing the business around them.”

Bennet said that his inns offer a corporate rate to visiting Queen’s alumni and faculty, which is half of the cheapest regular rate of $129 per night at the Secret Garden Inn. Bennet added that his businesses do a lot of work with members of the Queen’s community and gets a lot of referrals from Kingston General Hospital. With accommodation in downtown Kingston’s Bead and Breakfasts costing a minimum of $130 per night in peak season, Queen’s Event Services may be pricing out local businesses. Bruce Griffiths, Director of Queen’s Housing and Hospitality Services said he is unaware of any negative reaction to the Loved Ones Special.

“We don’t compete head to head with anyone in town.” he said. “We’re in no bad standing; we actually send a lot of our business to higher-end Bed and Breakfasts and have strong ties to the tourist industry in the city.” Although other universities offer similar specials, Griffiths said it only impacts a small part of the Queen’s population, and that it’s a very small part of what Event Services does on campus. “It’s really just a nice thing to do for Queen’s staff and faculty,” Griffiths said.

The ‘Loved Ones Special’ allows friends and family to stay in Victoria Hall for only $32 a night for a single room, $42 a night for a double, or in a two-bedroom air-conditioned unit in Leggett Hall for $89 a night.

Marilyn Casselman, Sales and Marketing Manager with Event services said the special is also offered to KGH staff because the hospital is so intertwined with Queen’s research and staff.

Event Services also offers a special for the families of cancer patients who are staying at KGH.

“It’s an obvious benefit to Queen’s staff, and of course it’s a revenue generator. [The special] helps us cover costs that are already in place,” she said.

Event Services offers similar deals to the Loved Ones Special for postsecondary students, but residence accommodation is not available to the general public.

Casselman said she doesn’t feel that the Loved Ones special can compete with local full amenity Bed and Breakfasts that charge upwards of $130 a night. “We feel we’re in no way competition. We are actually in partnership with some of the Kingston hostels.,” she said. “We’re more of a backpackers type stay. We’re not full amenity like some of the local businesses. We’re just a bed.”

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