Where's a good place to get pizza in Whistler? How do I access the Peak 2 Peak? How do I get to Olympic Plaza?
Spend any time living in Whistler, and you likely know the answers to these questions (or at least where to find them).
But for guests and newcomers, sometimes the resort can be overwhelming to navigate.
Enter Ask Whistler, a new live chat service run by Tourism Whistler (TW).
"We really recognize that the guests coming into the resort are more and more demanding of instant information, and in this day and age of digital technology, they want the answers right here, right now, at their fingertips," said Tory Kargl, TW's director of visitor services and whistler.com, in a presentation to the Committee of the Whole on Feb. 4.
"Likely their source is Google, but we recognize that by providing this service we could elevate that in-resort experience, as well as provide them with this exceptional knowledge, because we are directing them right through to real live people who live and breathe Whistler, and are passionate about it and are incredibly knowledgeable."
The service can be accessed through Facebook Messenger (@GoWhistler) and through text or WhatsApp (1-604-265-9600).
Send a message through Ask Whistler between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (365 days a year), and you're instantly connected with one of two live operators ready to answer all your burning questions.
"These are local individuals aged between 25 and 30, they've lived in Whistler for a number of years, they know super accurate answers to questions, and I think anyone who has tried the service has come back to us often," Kargl said, adding that the team has averaged about 30 chats a day in the first couple of months of operating.
"Our challenge right now is continuing to get the word out," she said.
"But once guests do find us, we know, right now, that they're loving the service."
The service can also be accessed through QR codes that will be situated throughout the resort, and distributed on posters and business cards.
The live chat is well complemented by the free WiFi rolled out by TW and the Resort Municipality of Whistler last year, Kargl added. Current free WiFi locations in Whistler Village include Mountain and Village Squares, Gateway Bus Loop, Village Common, Town Plaza, Whistler Olympic Plaza and the Whistler Conference Centre.
"It looks really neat, and it's very on-brand and it really meets the objectives of the community; the one thing that I would say is maybe missing is that it's not apparent that it's a free service," said Councillor Jen Ford.
"I would just highlight that this is an amazing service that is included in the amazing experience of just walking the village ... but otherwise I think it's great."
The service represents some interesting possibilities from a data collection standpoint, said Coun. Arthur De Jong.
"[It would be interesting] to know where, after a couple of years, where the questions actually originate from, to a point where we can help the signage," De Jong said.
Find more info at whistler.com/chat.