Letters To The Editor 

This week's letters

RE: Reservations needs to do better (Pique letters June 9)

In a recent letter to the editor, Judith May outlined concerns she had with the reservations service she received through Tourism Whistler.

Ms. May raised a number of excellent points. We have contacted her to apologize for the unfortunate experience she had, and to thank her for offering her suggestions for improvement.

Tourism Whistler is working with Resort Reservations Network Inc., its outsourced reservations call centre, to address the concerns raised by Ms. May and to ensure the highest standards of customer service are maintained for all visitors who choose to use this service.

Ms. May had suggested Tourism Whistler has a monopoly on tourist reservations; however, this raises an important point of clarification. While Tourism Whistler does provide a central reservations service representing its members, it does not have a monopoly on all tourist reservations. In fact, visitors may book accommodations through a wide variety of channels, including local, regional, national and international reservations providers (e.g. Whistler.com, Whistler Blackcomb, Allura Direct, HelloBC, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Destina, to name a few). This list does not include the leisure reservations made through tour operators, travel agents and hotels direct.

As pointed out in Ms. May's letter, there are challenges presented by the lack of front desk services offered by some Whistler accommodations, due to the large number of condominium-style properties.

To help address this, a number of resort-wide initiatives have been launched to ensure visitors are well informed about the services offered at their chosen accommodation. Tourism Whistler developed a Whistler-specific rating system the "Whistler Peaks Rating System" to provide visitors with standardized comparisons of accommodations – based on the extent and quality of facilities, amenities and services offered to the guest. One of the services listed is whether or not a front desk is located on site.

Other initiatives being investigated through the Whistler Welcome Strategy include a centralized check-in desk, key pick-up service with extended hours of service, and property management representation of off-site single property owners.

We would like to thank Ms. May for sharing her concerns and comments with us. Through positive dialogue with visitors and community members, Whistler can continue to learn and improve in an effort to set the standard as the world's year-round mountain resort of choice.

Barrett Fisher

President, Tourism Whistler

The myth of city pricing

I have avoided publicly wading into the London Drugs discussion as I feel there is a perceived conflict.

I am one of the business owners who will definitely be affected by the "village" location proposed by London Drugs. I own and operate a business known as Whistler One Hour Photo, which was started 20 years ago in the original Nancy Greene’s Lodge. We now operate in two locations under the name of Whistler Foto Source and this change in identity is because we joined a national buying group. We joined a buying group of independent photography stores to become price competitive and knowledgeable in order to offer our customers "city pricing" in a small town, high service environment.

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