A recent press release announced the continuation of Tourism Whistler's "outsourcing" of their reservations business to the Intrawest-owned Resort Reservations Network.
As a former manager at one of Whistler's leading hotels, I recall distinctly the concerns that many of my superiors and peers had over the potential for a conflict of interest when this business partnership was initiated. The recent press release indicated that these concerns were taken into account during the proposal and review process(es) and that the level of transparency of the aforementioned process(es) was deemed sufficient to quell those initial concerns.
I was not privy to the negotiation, review(s), or the various proposals put forward, however I tend to agree with Mr. Gord McKeever that a company owning accommodation, selling competing destinations, and managing a supposed "unbiased" reservations source presents the potential for a perceived conflict whether it exists or not.
Case in point: In my current capacity as a manager for a competitor of ResRez (although not of Tourism Whistler we are a member and therefore a "partner". Confusing isn't it!) I ran a couple test reservations this morning to compare rates etc. Pretty standard stuff in the accommodations and reservations industry. Of the dates randomly selected (four different months) on ResRez, the Intrawest-owned First Tracks Lodge appeared in the first position on the lead page three times. In addition, the fourth time it came up in second position, with the Intrawest-owned Legends occupying the sixth (and last) spot on the lead page. Furthermore, with the shifting of ResRez's groups sector to the United States, you now have (aside from a couple unemployed Canadians) a person or persons in Colorado (I confess, that's hearsay) selling Whistler!
In no way am I suggesting that there is conflict here, after all travel agents sell Whistler from a myriad of locales, and of course, we are a small town with limited accommodation during certain dates. Another random set of dates could yield different results. However, when we talk about peoples perceptions, therein lies an opportunity for persons who have not been privy too, nor researched the selection process, to develop an opinion as to how he/she thinks the system works (or doesn't). I am inclined to believe the good folks at Tourism Whistler, however, as mentioned in my introductory paragraph, I fully understand and support Mr. McKeevers statements regarding this issue and I encourage everyone to continue to question any and all actions that impact our amazing resort.
Keep ALR, views intact
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