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Summer accommodations on the rise at Queen's

  • In David C. Smith House and Brant House, Queen's offers an improved premium accommodation option for those visiting Kingston or attending a conference on campus during the summer. (Supplied Photo)
    In David C. Smith House and Brant House, Queen's offers an improved premium accommodation option for those visiting Kingston or attending a conference on campus during the summer. (Supplied Photo)
  • The premium accommodation option offers two-bedroom, air-conditioned units, with a private bathroom. Each room comes with its own television and refrigerator. (Supplied Photo)
    The premium accommodation option offers two-bedroom, air-conditioned units, with a private bathroom. Each room comes with its own television and refrigerator. (Supplied Photo)
  • Ban Righ Hall was recently used as the site for the plenary session of a conference hosted by ecommerce platform Shopify. (Supplied Photo)
    Ban Righ Hall was recently used as the site for the plenary session of a conference hosted by ecommerce platform Shopify. (Supplied Photo)
  • Group dining for large conferences and events is held at Leonard Hall during the summer. (Supplied Photo)
    Group dining for large conferences and events is held at Leonard Hall during the summer. (Supplied Photo)

Last summer, when Housing and Ancillary Services introduced an improved premium accommodation option with Queen’s University’s newest residences, David C. Smith House and Brant House, it was clear that they had an excellent product.

What wasn’t certain, however, was how popular the program would be.

For the months of May and June, premium accommodations bookings are up 95 per cent from last year. The foundation of this success is a combination of pricing, quality, convenience, and location, says Nicole Braatz, Sales and Marketing Manager, Event Services.

The premium option offers two-bedroom, air-conditioned units, with a private bathroom, for $109. Each bedroom comes with its own television and refrigerator.

“I think Kingston has become more of a tourism destination. We’re at a very reasonable price point and we offer accommodations that are at hotel standards,” she says. “We’re close to downtown and it’s a quality product in a market that can use rooms during the summer.”

While tourism has been a factor, the driving force behind the increase in numbers is large conferences. The conferences held at Queen’s so far this year include Canadian Higher Education Information Technology (CANHEIT), the High Performance Computing Symposium (HPCS), the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and the Geological Association of Canada/Mineralogical Association of Canada (GAC /MAC). 

For these large conferences Queen’s provides a one-stop-shop service with the plenary space, accommodations and dining services to meet their needs.

“All together there were about 2,000 people at these conferences and they primarily stayed on campus,” says Ms. Braatz. “We provide group dining at Leonard Hall, so it’s a great way to get them out of their plenary and into the group dining environment.  And because we have premium accommodations that are similar to hotels, corporate groups are saying ‘Let’s stay on campus. We’re meeting on campus, let’s eat on campus.’ It’s a whole-campus experience really.”

This ability to meet the needs of large conferences also attracted ecommerce provider Shopify, with 600 attendees, while the Presbyterian Church of Canada held its plenary session at Queen’s with 350 taking part. Also returning was the annual Rideau Lakes Cycling Tour, with close to 1,500 people staying on campus.

This increase in numbers in turn means a lot of work and that requires the support of a number of campus partners.

“We’re attracting a variety of groups and we couldn’t do that without the support of food providers, custodial residence facility staff, front desk staff, Physical Plant Services, as well as Athletics and Recreation,” says Kathy Newstead, Operations Manager, Event Services. “It really is a team effort.”

For more information about accommodations and services, including pricing and booking, visit the Summer Accommodations website.