Royal visit means royal attention for Whistler
"You can't buy that kind of exposure," says WRA
By Chris Woodall
By skiing Whistler's slopes — and having a heck of a time doing it — Princes Charles, William and Harry gave six thumbs up in a way that's worth its royal weight in marketing dollars.
"You can't buy that kind of exposure," says Barrett Fisher, vice-president of marketing for the Whistler Resort Association.
A blizzard of 150 media representing print and broadcast outlets locally, regionally, nationally and internationally descended on Whistler for the March 24-28 visit to give Whistler major headline positioning around the world for an entire week.
"That the Royals chose Whistler (for a ski holiday) is a huge honour for the resort," Fisher says. "Clearly Whistler was on the international stage from a world-wide exposure point of view."
The WRA has been tracking media coverage of the so-called "private holiday," including getting faxes from the United Kingdom of goings-on there.
The kind of important brush with fame the Royals provide by their presence should seed a growth in visitors, Fisher says. "We anticipate the response in key markets like the U.K. will be reflected in the increased awareness of Whistler in visitors' minds."
It's enough that the Royals clearly enjoyed themselves, even extending their stay to get a full ski day on Saturday.
The WRA does not plan to do anything so crass as have advertisements featuring Prince William with cartoon balloons saying something like: "Whistler got me royally higher!"
"In no uncertain terms would we exploit the visit. We feel very strongly we would want to give them the respect we would give any other visitor," Fisher says.
Word from British journalists talking to WRA media relations people was upbeat about Whistler. "They were extremely positive and said that, by all indications, the community showed respect for the Royals by not crowding them," Fisher says.