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Vancouver hotels, rocked by the recession, are continuing to benefit from the 
Olympics afterglow. But for how much longer? It was one of those miserable February days. That gloriously sunny start to the 2010 Winter Games that made the city look so camera-ready (if a little snowless) had turned into classic Vancouver winter: rain, rain and more rain. But with house guests keen to see the city, I – along with my sister and nephew from Calgary – joined the ant line of enthusiastic visitors downtown, marching toward the torch. We came, we saw – and we were soaked. The 10-month-old in tow was not amused. And there, behind us, an oasis. All glass and marble and soaring ceilings, the Fairmont Pacific Rim practically glowed across the street from us. We hesitated, then scuttled in like drowned rats and dried ourselves out over lattes and pastries in the lobby bar. Variations on that scene were repeated throughout the city during those 17 days in February, when an estimated 582,000 people came to Vancouver, many staying in local hotels. And many more, like us – stepping in from the rain in need of a coffee break – grabbed a taste of Vancouver hospitality. “During the Olympics, we saw thousands of visitors and locals just walking through the hotel every day,” says the Pacific Rim’s general manager Randy Zupanski. “For promotion, there’s nothing like it.” For the local hotel industry, the Winter Olympics was a bright spot in an otherwise dark couple of years. For one month in February, hotels in Vancouver boasted 100 per cent occupancy rates and the bonus of premium rates – aside from those guaranteed-rate rooms blocked off for VANOC and sponsors – at a traditionally slow time of year (February 2010 represented a 75 per cent revenue jump over February 2009). But one month in a long bout of low occupancy and diminished room rates does not make for successful business. Add to that the 1,085 rooms in 12 new hotels that have opened in the Lower Mainland since 2008 and some hoteliers are concerned that, in volatile economic times such as these, the hotel business just got a lot tougher. Read full article