September 16, 2005 Features & Images » Feature Story

How can Whistler get its mojo back? 

There’s no magic bullet, but following Dr. Seuss’s advice may help

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Brands are something that take time to develop; they aren’t created overnight. In an attempt to develop Whistler’s image and grow our brand, Tourism Whistler and Whistler/Blackcomb made the decision to work as a team and adopt the same look and feel throughout each other’s marketing campaigns. There is significant benefit to having one coherent message to revive our brand’s sagging fortunes.

Stuart Rempel, Senior VP of Marketing and Sales at Whistler-Blackcomb, knows a thing or two about creating successful brands. In an interview, he explained the strategy: "It’s important that we both take a leadership role to support the resort’s image and work together as a whole to market our brand through different types of communication. By pulling together the resort’s two largest advertisers, it’s not one plus one is two… It’s one plus one equals five. This is way more powerful and a key part of the overall brand strategy."

The power of teamwork

The collective approach taken by Tourism Whistler and Whistler-Blackcomb in creating a one-two marketing punch is a sign that Whistler is headed towards a greater focus on teamwork. And according to Tourism Whistler President Barrett Fisher, it’s only one sign.

At its 2005 board retreat Tourism Whistler identified three strategic priorities: growing room nights; growing partnerships; and engaging members.

For years Tourism Whistler has partnered with organizations like Tourism B.C. the Canadian Tourism Commission, tour operators and airlines to get the most out of finite budgets, and is continuing to do so. "But we looked at how do we take it to the next level," Fisher said. "We have a couple of dozen hotels in Whistler that do marketing, how do we better utilize those partners?

"And we are using our partners and members in new segments: health and wellness, arts and culture, food and wine, and learning and education. Sports and recreation are always going to be big parts of Whistler, but we need to continue to diversify our tourism products. It’s best to do that through members and partners."

A new health and wellness committee, for example, is working on a theme week next year that will involve the local spas, health professionals, alternative health providers and others in the health and wellness field.

Getting individual businesses to work collectively for mutual benefit is one of the main ingredients in Whistler’s recovery strategy, according to business consultant and interim Chamber of Commerce President, Bernie Lalor-Morton.

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