CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The general manager of a Charlottetown hotel is feeling plenty of heat over the business turning potential guests away because they are from Western P.E.I.
“A lot of people are holding me accountable and they should,’’ says Wayne Cotton.
Cotton told The Guardian on Wednesday he has fielded more than a dozen calls, the majority coming from West Prince residents.
The callers – as well as many people who posted on social media – are outraged that a female associate working at the front desk of the Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre told several people on New Year’s Eve that the hotel was not allowed to check people in who live in West Prince — particularly those from Tignish, Alberton, O’Leary and Tyne Valley.
Cotton issued an apology on the hotel’s Facebook site and through the media.
In the posting, he notes he has spoken with the associate who “relayed this incorrect message and this will not occur again.’’
But on Wednesday, Cotton seemed at a loss to explain how the female associate could have sent people from West Prince packing if this was not a policy of the hotel or a directive from higher up.
“People make mistakes,’’ he says.
Cotton adds he appreciates the opinions of people who feel the staff member should be fired.
He again refused to detail what action he took against the employee. In his apology on the hotel’s Facebook page, he writes: “I can only assure everyone this has been dealt with, internally, with stern actions.’’
He concedes the incident has been harmful to the hotel’s image. Many posters have commented that they will never stay at the Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre as a result of what they see as a discriminatory snub.
“People have the right to be upset for a message like that,’’ he says.
“I cannot apologize enough to them.’’
Cotton adds he has not yet come to the point of exploring how to reach out to West Prince residents to encourage them to stay at the Charlottetown Inn in the future.
The former Best Western Charlottetown was rebranded as the Charlottetown Inn and Conference Centre on Dec. 1, 2016.
First Canadian Management Corp., which purchased the hotel in July 2017, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.