The hurt – and concern – is clear in the tone and content of Ling Pang’s remarks.
The manager of the Chalet Grand-Pre Cottages in Rusticoville feels unfairly under attack.
He has been the face – or at least the printed name – in a heated controversy spurred by The Guardian’s coverage of an elderly couple’s visit to P.E.I. that went awry.
Charles and Jeannie Marcotte of Quebec City said they were shocked when they showed up for a booked three-week stay at the Rusticoville accommodation only to learn that new owners refused to honour their long-standing special rate.
Pang strongly contends Chalet Grand-Pre Cottages did nothing wrong, and, in fact went quite far in trying to offer the couple a generous rate. The couple’s planned August stay was booked in February, just a few months before the business changed hands, and the new owners were not informed of the ongoing special rate the Marcottes had been receiving, noted Pang.
He says the Marcottes were not willing to pay more than $3,000 for the three weeks.
He says the couple were offered three options: stay for 11 days for $2,000 (25 per cent discount); stay for three weeks at $4,000 (20 per cent discount); stay after Sept.3 for three weeks and pay less than $2,000.
“We have tried to be decent, legitimate, honest businessmen,’’ said Pang.
He said coverage of the incident is having a negative impact on business with some tourists saying they will not stay at the Chalet Grand-Pre Cottages due to how the Marcottes were treated.
“We are suffering real financial loss because of it,’’ said Pang.
Tourism Minister Chris Palmer said Wednesday that his staff has reached out to the new owners and had a positive discussion.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with new operators to help them learn about the industry and to assist them with their customer service practices,’’ he said.
Sharalyn Nolan subscribes to the policy of respecting agreed rates and bookings made by former owners of properties.
She has been operating Maplehurst Properties on Panmure Island, a bed-and-breakfast business, for the past two years after taking over from a couple that ran the business for 18 years.
Nolan says coverage of the elderly couple’s soured visit to P.E.I. left her seeking to offer the pair accommodations in a “beautiful suite’’ for three weeks for the $2,000 they had expected to pay in Rusticoville.
“We thought it was the right thing to do and maybe they weren’t treated fairly and we wanted to extend some hospitality,’’ she said.