Tourism Whistler close to signing deal with Rez Rez 

Intrawest’s company poised to continue to run the resort’s central reservations bookings

After a lengthy review process Tourism Whistler has once again shortlisted Intrawest’s Resort Reservations Network to run its central booking business.

"We have met with Rez Rez (Resort Reservations Network) and told them that we have accepted their proposal, but now we are just working on the finer details of the contract," said Kevin Toth, who is on the board of directors for Tourism Whistler and led the committee which reviewed the outsourcing of central reservations for the resort.

"Tourism Whistler is negotiating the contract with Rez Rez and the intention is that we will have a contract signed by the end of this month."

Last fall Tourism Whistler’s decision to partner with RezRez came under fire from various sectors of the community because RezRez manages and books properties and services owned by parent company Intrawest – everything from ski rentals to vacations in other resorts.

Some saw that as a direct conflict.

At the time Tourism Whistler said the Intrawest company offered not only the best call centre and on-line technology, RezRez also had a unique understanding of what the resort was all about.

All the same, Tourism Whistler decided to strike a committee to look at the process which led to the partnership with RezRez and investigate what concerns needed to be addressed as the resort moved toward this month’s deadline for the first contract renewal.

The committee headed up by Toth, the general manager of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, and Diane Mombourquette, Tourism Whistler’s vice-president of business development, decided a new request for proposals process should be initiated. A third-party consultant was also hired to help with the development of the RFP.

With that in mind, 103 criteria were drawn up for consideration by companies interested in putting a proposal forward to Tourism Whistler to run central reservations for the resort.

"There was recognition that the process of awarding the contract to Rez Rez was maybe not as transparent as it could have been last time around and one of the components of addressing that was developing a quality RFP and getting community involvement in that development," said Toth.

Several companies showed an interest in the opportunity including estays, Expedia and RezRez.

On site visits were done with the two front-runners.

"(Rez Rez) by far had the most robust technology," said Toth.

"And that was really the clincher."

Other issues such as the perceived conflict with other accommodation and service providers was also addressed said Toth.

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