Helping visitors 'live the dream' 

Spirit Learning is start of three-year program to elevate service

The Whistler Chamber of Commerce has rolled out its new look Spirit program, along with a new tag line: “Live it, Give it.”

The idea, said chamber president Louise Lundy, was to capture the idea that locals are here living the dream and we in turn need to make sure visitors get to live the dream too while they are in Whistler.

“That will happen through excellent service,” said Lundy last week at a chamber Spirit breakfast.

That same idea of elevating the level of service in the resort is a driving force behind the re-vamped Spirit program. Now known as Spirit Learning it has a new philosophy centred around three tenets: connect, assist and exceed.

The idea is that every person who goes through the program will commit the philosophy to memory and live it, said Lundy.

That means that workers, indeed anyone living here, will acknowledge, smile and greet guests and be genuinely friendly. They will help guests get what they want or find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently and they will try to exceed the expectations of the guest.

And just in case anyone might forget the philosophy, all Spirit Learning attendees received a wallet-sized laminated information card to hang on their mountain passes with all they need to know printed on it. Chamber staff will be stopping people who are wearing the cards on the mountain and handing them prizes.

“We have to have service to have success,” said Lundy, adding that the chamber wants to increase the ratings the resort gets in leading ski and snowboard magazines for service.

She also wants other resorts to be phoning Whistler to find out how to replicate the town’s service strategy.

In a quick interactive poll at last week’s breakfast, attended by over 200 people, only 8 per cent said they thought service in the resort was “excellent”, another 55 said it was “good” and 32 per cent said it was “satisfactory”.

“We have to do better and we know we can do better,” said Lundy explaining that all these changes are part of a three-year program to reach excellence in service.

During the same poll 55 per cent of those questioned said the biggest barrier to excellent service was finding and keeping employees.

The learning portion of the Spirit program has also been upgraded. Now up to 250 people attend a seminar at Millennium Place, rather than having a series of small group workshops.

“This is probably the biggest change to the program ever,” said Julie Morris, the chamber’s program manager.

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