Bid Corp seeking rooms for 2010 

Lessons from earlier Games being applied to pricing

Whistler accommodation owners can expect a letter in the mail in the coming weeks as the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid Corporation seeks to secure rooms for the Olympic family during the 2010 Games.

The direct mail campaign, which will go to about 6,400 commercial property owners in Whistler, will solicit commitments in principle for an Olympic room bank.

The commitments must be in place as part of the Olympic Bid Book, which must be submitted to the International Olympic Committee in January 2003 by the bid corporation.

The owners will be asked to guarantee a special rate for the Olympic family, including IOC families, sponsors, media and sporting officials, among others, for up to 12 weeks.

The rate will be the premium market rate in February 2009, plus a five per cent increase.

"It will be a high rate but the international family won't mind paying that," said Terry Wright, vice president of Bid Development, at the last in a series of chamber of commerce meetings on the impact of the 2010 Games in Whistler.

The rate is being set in response to price hikes during hallmark sporting events.

Wright used the example of the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, where a local hotel put its prices up three times higher than their normal rates during the Games.

"The international family has often felt that they were gouged in past events," said Wright to the handful of people at the meeting.

To date, the Bid Corp has about 14,500 Vancouver hotel rooms committed using this formula. They are looking for roughly 18,500 in total.

In Whistler, five properties have agreed to the special rate, including the Chateau. At this point, 700 units have been secured in Whistler.

Wright is hoping to guarantee about 3,000-3,500 rooms, using the direct mail campaign, by the time the Bid Book goes to the IOC.

The Bid Corp will also be asking the hotels not to bump up their prices for additional services, like room service and dry cleaning.

"We will be asking the hotels for a commitment to maintain their pricing," said Wright.

Local retailers have also been concerned about pricing during the Olympics, said Wright.

Their concern is that an exclusive merchandising deal with Roots will make Olympic gear too expensive.

The Bid Corp has since told Roots that they will only grant them a non-exclusive license so that another company, like Boardroom or Wilson, can market Games merchandise too.

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