Chamber readies businesses for 2010 

New website to connect businesses to Games organizations

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If you’re a commercial tenant and you’ve been approached by an organization looking to book your space during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce has one piece of advice: wait.

At the end of July the chamber will launch a new website to connect local businesses with organizations and sponsors affiliated with the Games, streamlining the process and ensuring that Olympic organizers and the chamber know what’s going on.

“The idea is that the website will be a one-stop shop for all Olympic-related groups, like the Olympic family, NOCs (National Olympic Committees), and the official sponsors,” said chamber president Louise Lundy. “Those groups will be invited to the website by VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games), and will be able to go online and see all the properties and business that are listed. The businesses will provide information, photos of the property, and their contact information, and after that it will be up to the businesses and organizations to negotiate an agreement during the Games.”

According to Lundy, several businesses have already been approached by various companies and organizations looking to book space during the Games, including restaurants, bars, warehouses, and storefronts. So far she says it’s only been a handful of outside businesses and organizations that have been contacting local businesses, but she believes that will change as the Games get closer.

The concern is that companies are going to be engaged in ambush marketing, renting space beside official Olympic sponsors. “They have not paid for the privilege of participating in the Olympics, but are trying to take advantage of the Games by latching on,” explained Lundy.

The website will be password protected, ensuring that only organizations and businesses affiliated with the Games will be able to connect with participating businesses.

At the most recent chamber luncheon, Lundy asked businesses that are interested in renting their space during the Olympics and Paralympics to contact the chamber. To date more than 30 businesses have come forward, and Lundy expects that more will sign on once they are aware of the service and have started to plan their strategy for the Games.

“We want businesses to start thinking about what they might be doing during the Games, and really start to plan,” she said. “We hope that a lot of businesses will remain open, because this is a fantastic opportunity for them, but some business owners want to volunteer or might not think they have anything to offer the Games and are maybe looking to rent their space out.”

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