Is Whistler losing it’s competitive edge? 

This, and other important questions, to be answered at a symposium on sustaining Whistler’s success

After a decade of successive record-breaking seasons, one question has been hanging over Whistler like a black cloud ready to rain on everyone’s parade: "How long can it last?"

With the right plan in place, Tourism Whistler believes the answer to that question could be: Forever.

Tourism may be the world’s third largest industry and number two in B.C. behind forestry, but the market tends fluctuate and change as whimsically as a family debating where to spend their holidays. The ski industry is particularly competitive and further complicated by the fact that fewer kids – prospective Whistler tourists – are taking up the sport than in the past.

The number of summer visits has been steadily growing, as has the convention industry, but neither of these customer bases can be considered a sure thing. Two rainy years in a row could set Whistler back 10 years.

To address the issues facing the future prosperity of Whistler, the Tourism Whistler Board of Directors is hosting a symposium – The Future of Whistler: Sustaining Our Success – to discuss the competitiveness and economic sustainability of Whistler. The symposium is on April 21. All property managers and business owners are encouraged to attend and voice their opinions on two elements that are of highest value to resort guests: price and value.

"We have been analyzing the research and competitiveness studies over recent years and this is an ideal time to conduct a resort-wide dialogue on the subject of our future economic sustainability," says Suzanne Denbak, president and CEO of Tourism Whistler.

"Whistler has experienced phenomenal success in recent years. However, in order for this success to continue, the entire resort must be vigilant in continually improving the guest experience and exceeding guest expectations."

The symposium will provide an opportunity to hear guest speakers discussing visitor perceptions of price, value and service.

Denbak will open the discussion with the topic Is Whistler’s Competitive Edge Disappearing?

Dave Hartvigsen, the senior vice president of lodging for Intrawest will speak on Winning Revenue Management. Hartvigsen is a 23-year veteran of the hospitality industry and is now responsible for operations of all Intrawest accommodations. His knowledge of yield management practices may be valuable for business owners to maximize revenues.

Steven Mulvany, the president and founder of Management Tools Inc., will discuss Service Quality… Edge or Liability?

Management Tools is an international consulting company that has worked with a number of industries, including banks, mining companies and resorts such as Harbour Resorts, Booth Creek Holdings, Vail Resorts, Intrawest and Telluride.

There will be a question period after the information session, and the symposium will be followed by a reception with a cash bar. The symposium will run from 3 to 6 p.m.

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