The Future of Workforce Camps and Lodging

News & Events
March 12, 2020
On Wednesday, February 26, Rob Wilson, General Manager, Operations spoke to industry colleagues on behalf of Black Diamond Group about some of the growing trends in today’s project camps and lodges at the Canadian Institute’s Camp Logistics & Workforce Accommodation Forum in Calgary.  

Rob discussed how today’s workforce accommodations are far more comfortable than the camps of yesteryear.  Each of our five open lodges in Western Canada – Horn River Lodge, Little Prairie Lodge, Smoky River Lodge, Sunday Creek Lodge and Sunset Prairie Lodge – instead feel like a home away from home.  

Rob has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, which has been instrumental in helping us elevate the guest experience in our lodges. Let’s take a look at five trends Rob discussed that have helped us create a better way in the lodging industry. 

Trend #1: Technology 
The “smart lodge” – much like our smart homes – is on the rise. Today it’s not uncommon to find technology like smart thermostats, Wi-Fi connection, satellite TV and more in every room. Solutions like this allow guests to enjoy these services in the privacy of their own rooms, while lodge managers experience heightened efficiency and even cost savings. Staying connected in remote areas brings a new level of comfort to our lodges. 

Trend #2: Healthy Food Options
Today, whether they face food allergies or other dietary restrictions, lodge guests do not have to worry about what they are going to eat. With an increasing number of requests for healthier and more sustainable foods at our lodges, today’s menus feature a variety of healthy and sustainable food options. A small sampling of dining options available at our lodges include salad bars, fresh fruit and vegetables, steamed, poached and grilled chicken and fish, low-fat yogurt, granola and made-to-order sandwiches This is yet another step towards making our guests feel fully accommodated. 

Trend #3: Exclusive Facilities 
The first thing many people want to do after a long workday is kick their feet up. Rest and relaxation are key to both physical and psychological recovery. We want to keep workers happy, healthy and productive by providing a home away from home – not just a place to sleep after their workday is done. For those who want to experience ultimate relaxation, we have designated yoga areas, massage chairs and theatre facilities.  

Those who relax through physical activity and exercise can also enjoy our fitness centres with weights, strength machines and state-of-the-art cardio machines, recreation rooms and sports fields.  

Trend #4: Personal Touches 
We continuously explore ways to enhance our guests’ experiences by providing both convenience and comfort. Because most lodges are in very remote areas and provide minimal to no access to some of the most basic services, we have started bringing those services to the lodges. Whether a worker feels like playing video games, needs personal protective equipment or uniforms laundered, or needs to file tax returns, we have them covered on site.  For example, barbers visit our lodges on a weekly basis, an onsite counsellor is available for private one-on-one counselling sessions and we broadcast some of the most exciting pay-per-view events in our common areas. We have even introduced express check-in and check-out kiosks to streamline the lodging experience. 

Trend #5: Sustainability 
New-build manufacturing in our industry has declined in the last few years, in response to an oversupply of equipment and inventory. Rather than building new structures, asset owners have shifted toward repurposing or retrofitting existing assets with newer, greener and overall, more sustainable features. For example, the LED lighting we now use is far more efficient, marked by energy savings of around 90%. Our low-flow fixtures have also resulted in approximately 20% less water consumption. These sustainable fixtures and solutions are key in both enhancing comfort and creating a new industry standard.  

Bonus Trend: Drones 
The use of drones for aerial photography is a growing trend, marked by a more than 200% increase year over year in their use. While they are extremely useful for that purpose, drones also help us accomplish so much more. We can use them to map large areas and to produce heat maps, which help us make decisions rapidly and expedite lodge and camp construction. We foresee consistent drone usage in the future to aid in our overall efficiency.