Disney defines the battle on the frontline

"When your staff have your trust, support and the resources to add value, you will have a consumer service operation that drives people and customer loyalty and meets its business objectives..."

The UK's Institute of Customer Service


If he works for you, you work for him.

Japanese Proverb


It's funny how you notice things.

We ski here, hike the woods, run the trails, shop; live like we were living in just any old community in Canada.

But we are not.

We are a number one-rated ski resort and a year-round destination drawing millions of visitors.

We are also in a front-line battle for tourist dollars - a fight for the return customer and the new one.

Most days it's easy to forget that we are living someone else's vacation dream. Then you take that long overdue trip and suddenly you start to notice a few things.

Just before I arrived in the editor's chair the family and I spent a long weekend in California's Disneyland - thought I better get some of the roller-coaster riding out of my system before settling into work.

We stayed in a Disneyland hotel and could walk everywhere - not unlike the experience many visitors enjoy in Whistler.

As the days passed I found I was noticing the same thing all the time - the amazing level of service. From the front desk to the street-garbage collectors and talking garbage cans, to the individual shops of Downtown Disney - they all wanted to make sure that I was having a good time.

I love "staycations" so I have stayed at just about every hotel in Whistler and if anything I would say I have had at least as good, if not better service, here than in Disneyland and its neighbouring hotels, a few of which I have also called home during the holidays.

But when it comes to the day-in day-out contact with servers of all sorts Disney might have us beat.

Oh, I can already see the eye-rolling as you read. Don't I know that Los Angeles County has a labour force of 4.9 million; that Orange County's unemployment rate is 8.9 per cent and California's is at 13 per cent this month?

And what about places to live - thousands to choose from, though rent for a one-bedroom, according to the most recent statistics, is pretty high at US $1,100 (www.city-data.com). Added to that is the fact that staff doesn't turn over all the time with the seasons and the years.

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