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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More recently, Lalor-Morton has been the chair of the Chamber’s Service Strategy Committee. When asked about what measures the committee suggested, she was quick to point to a few measures that could have serious impact.

"Some of the measures the Chamber has taken to support the business community include pursuing a service quality framework that we can bring to the business community. The program will allow businesses to embark on a quality journey where they will review and evaluate their business against a set of criteria. They will then determine a course of action for quality improvement. They will be guided through the process by experts in business development. We will be one of the first communities in Canada to implement a service quality initiative as a community."

Rempel also offered some insights into what Whistler-Blackcomb is doing to improve service immediately. "We are focusing on delivering exceptional value to our guests through significant investments in service. This winter we’ll be offering free mountain-top lessons for our guests as part of certain packages. We believe that our ski school can guide people to a better experience that will keep them coming back not just for lessons, but to the resort. It’s something I hope will be embraced at other resorts as well. We think that strategy will go a long way to retaining skiers in the sport. These aren’t just ski lessons; ski instructors have a bigger impact on the guest’s holiday than any other aspect of their experience."

Conventional wisdom tells us that when business is slow you should take out an ad and have a sale. That type of thinking might boost sales for a while but it’s no way to create long-term sustainable success for the resort. The aforementioned Wanamaker also observed that, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." The reality is that the marketing dollars we spend will result in a higher yield of visits. The difficulty is that we need to live up to the marketers’ message.

The July 26 th edition of the New York Times offered some hope for those bucking conventional wisdom when it featured a Martin Fackler story about Japanese car manufacturers raising prices while American manufacturers offered deep, "employee-pricing" discounts. According to the Times, Toyota "believes that customers will keep coming back if you offer them quality." That self-confidence reflects a company on top of its game. The Times article concluded that, "industry analysts suggest that the price-cutting by the Big Three has failed to erode the Japanese companies' customer base – an apparent affirmation of the Japanese companies' belief that buyers will choose quality and reputation over price."

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