We're Open


Flathead Valley's hospitality industry adjusting to new normal

Hidden Moose Lodge
Posted at 4:35 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 09:17:08-04

KALISPELL — The Flathead Valley's hospitality industry took a hit when the state shut down due to coronavirus concerns.

We spoke with two hotels to see how business has been and what new sanitation methods they're using.

Kent Taylor -- who has owned and operated Hidden Moose Lodge in Whitefish for 20 years -- says that at the beginning of 2020 they had their highest booking rate to date.

But then the coronavirus pandemic hit and completely disrupted the hotel's reservations.

"For the balance of the year into October more than fifty percent of our reservations were wiped out," said Taylor.

He told MTN News that this cost the hotel back hundreds of thousands of dollars, "somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000," he said. "For us, we're a small property, 15 rooms, so that's a big hit."

Taylor says that due to the coronavirus, the staff is taking extra safety precautions explaining that guests are being given "sanitation kits" complete with masks and hand sanitizer.

"We would do daily housekeeping services, we're not doing that, we're not going into rooms while people are here," explained Taylor. "We're just saying if you need anything we'll supply it for them. And then, we go into and disinfect the rooms and do heightened cleaning."

Staff members at the Hidden Moose Lodge are also wearing masks and gloves.

Flathead Lake Lodge brand ambassador Dax VanFossen says their hotel is doing strict health checks with guests and staff.

"The big thing here is that everything is all-inclusive at Flathead Lake Lodge," said VanFossen. "So, not only are temperatures checked at the airport by the National Guard, then they go through a rigid health screening process when they arrive on property, and guests are monitored throughout the course of their stay."

He says the lodge has seen guests from all over the country and guests are required to stay within family groups.

"We normally all eat in the same dining room space in the large lodge," he said. "This year, we've spread that out and we've created extra dining areas and really spread activities thin for guests as well."

Both lodges are grateful the state has reopened and that tourism is picking back up in Northwest Montana.

We're Open
Would you like KPAX to highlight a local business that is going above and beyond during this tough time? Email us....

Coverage of your favorite teams from Montana's Sports Leader