Letters to the editor 

Hotels and competitive advantage

It is my understanding that there is still one hotel site left in Whistler on the Hyatt lands that does not have a current Development Permit. From a hotel industry perspective it makes no sense to encourage more hotels in Whistler. Likewise from a community standpoint more capacity means more peak visitors, more staff and more housing pressure. What is needed is a partnership that will maintain Whistler's competitive advantage and the competitive advantage of the local accommodation industry.

Michael Porter, one of the foremost business gurus and frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, quite often states that increasing barriers to entry for an industry will sustain profitability of those companies already taking part in the industry. Many of his articles also state that increased growth isn’t always a good thing, and that securing unique competences through design and employees will be crucial to secure a competitive advantage.

For the accommodation industry in Whistler there are four certain entries into the market that have the potential to erode current market share: The Four Seasons, The Pan Pacific, Nita Lake Lodge and the future IROC development. These projects have all been accepted by municipal planners and are set to be developed in the next three years. Nothing can be done to stop that. But…

Would it potentially make sense for the current accommodation sector in Whistler to purchase the Hyatt lands to create a barrier to entry for new competitors?

From a municipal standpoint could it potentially make sense to restrict the development of the hotel units and therefore reduce demand on employee housing and municipal services?

Perhaps the municipality and local hotel industry could partner together, with hotels purchasing the land for their employees and the municipality restricting hotel development for resident housing. What would be the costs vs. the benefits of this project? I don’t have specifics of the purchasing costs, but hotels would gain by not losing market share and by ensuring a reliable supply of happy employees, and the entire community would gain by having less housing pressure, happy residents and happy visitors. Perhaps the potential for a win-win situation and a long-term competitive advantage for the hotels and our community.

Dan Wilson

Whistler

The Resort Municipality of Whistler would like to thank the hundreds of involved citizens, employees, second home-owners, business managers and other stakeholders who participated in Phase 2 of Whistler. It's our Future , the program to develop the comprehensive sustainability plan.

During November: 993 printed workbooks were distributed, the Web site received 147,118 hits and more than 5,000 unique visits, 610 workbooks and comprehensive backgrounder files were downloaded, several hundred people stopped by the open house on Nov. 15, and we received more than 800 responses to the questionnaire, along with numerous meaningful comments and suggestions. This significant level of involvement is another example of commitment to sustainability in this community.

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