By Amy Fendley
The deal is signed, sealed and official. As of Aug. 31, Whistler Chalets is now part of the first "name brand" property management company in North America, ResortQuest International, Inc.
And Whistler Exclusive Property Management Limited is also part of deal, merging resources and management with Whistler Chalets.
By creating an "exclusive property" division, Whistler Chalets merged the rental management contracts for 46 homes and condominiums currently managed by Whistler Exclusive Property Management with Whistler Chalets’ 400 rental units.
In addition, the previous owners of Whistler Exclusive Property Management, Les and Sue Lawther, will join Whistler Chalets’ management team.
Patrick McCurdy, president of Whistler Chalets since it was founded in 1986, will continue in that position, overseeing the entire operation of the merged companies.
"I see this as an exciting opportunity and only natural that the two companies have established a connection," said McCurdy. "With Les and Sue Lawther joining Whistler Chalets, we’re strengthening management, but also the personalized service guests are used to."
Creating a division within Whistler Chalets, called Whistler Exclusive Properties, represents a collection of properties Whistler Chalets previously referred to as its Signature Properties. McCurdy describes the division as similar to Canadian Pacific Hotels’ Entrée Gold rooms. This division will be headed by Les Lawther.
"We’re looking forward to a really good mix of management personnel and management style," said Sue Lawther, front desk and systems manager. "For Les and I it’s a really exciting prospect, to put things altogether to offer the public a very strong, solid, branded presence in the Whistler marketplace that hasn’t been there for private condo owners."
McCurdy says there will be approximately the same number of staff as before, 45, but that they will be "staffing up" for the winter months.
Earlier this year Whistler Chalets became one of the founding companies of ResortQuest International. Through the acquisition of its founding property management companies and subsequent acquisitions, ResortQuest has created a network of more than 11,000 rental homes and condominiums internationally.
If the individual property owners have one concern it is fearing that because of ResortQuest’s size some guests may question the quality of service they are getting. McCurdy says the company is addressing that issue and is being encouraged by ResortQuest to maintain its local culture.
"We are putting a lot of effort so that our customers feel welcome in the change and that their rental results will improve," said McCurdy. "In a conversation with Les and Sue, both dedicated property owners, we discussed that customers would be better served by joining forces. I think my partners share the same philosophy.
"At this point in time Whistler Chalets is a dominant presence. There are other property management companies in Whistler but they are all so different. I’m not sure that we even have a direct competitor... we feel that our product and services are quite unique and that we service a special market niche. We offer a large collection of privately owned townhouses and condominiums in prime locations."
Advertising initiatives will be forthcoming from ResortQuest, which will be co-ordinating data-bases. McCurdy says it looks like it could be a very good winter.
"We’ve got international ratings in our favour and enhanced marketing capability. We have already established on-line bookings."
Whistler Chalets can now offer the opportunity to connect customers and property owners to a much larger marketing network through ResortQuest.
"We are very excited about the whole concept by ResortQuest," said Sue Lawther. "We are creating a North American brand, which will eventually go international. RQI is putting a lot in place... we didn’t have the marketing power that RQI does."