With news of the reinstated hotel rebate from the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce this spring, hoteliers are thrilled. The program offers $100 rebates to everyone from Manitoba, who is 18 years of age or older, for a hotel stay between May 6 and the 16th, with one opportunity per family. Also, 50 per cent off Star Attraction admission costs will be rebated if one chooses to do that instead.

The Microtel Inn Portage Prairie general manager Trent Ward says hotels were grateful this happened previously. 

"Manitoba Tourism did it twice last -- once in the spring break weekend and then again in the summertime. I do believe in late August," says Ward. "Even last year, it was very beneficial to the hotels that participated in it. Basically, it got people out and about to get into hotels again. The hotel industry is one of the hardest hit and first hit to get shut down and it's still one of the last to recover with the pandemic."

He notes they're fortunate that a program like this was created to give people a chance to come out and see their product again. 

"To me, it's a fantastic way for guests that, maybe, don't normally spend a weekend or spend a night in a hotel," continues Ward. "They come on in and look at the product and services that are available. For example, somebody from Winnipeg might drive out to Portage la Prairie and take a look to see what's in our community and spend the night here. To me, it's beneficial to, not just the hotels, but to the area." 

Ward explains it's great for Portagers to take in a night, but those outside of town can take advantage of it and also spend some money to boost our economy while they're here.

"They can come take a look at other facilities in the area, the island, take a look at Stride Place --that sort of stuff -- and enjoy the city," adds Ward. "It's coming at a good time to get the spring fever, get people out and about, and start off the summer, hopefully."

He says there is a definite and tremendous pickup for the area, and all hotels that participated in it saw a significant increase. 

"I do believe the two weekends were pretty much almost sold out, and we did see a lot more traffic in the hotels through that. For the first time they did it in May, I think it was more of a feeler. It wasn't as well advertised as it is now. The second one was a lot more successful than the first one they did. So, I'm hoping that they're probably riding on that, and maybe the third round will even be better than the second time."