Letters to the Editor 

Whistler.com defends, wetland destruction decried, tennis thanks, and how to be a good host

Work with us as we grow

In reply to Sharon Audley’s letter of May 18th "Why don’t we inspire guests?" I respectfully offer the following comments for consideration.

Whistler.com was designed and built to sell Whistler, and despite a few challenging years, has been successful in doing so. Total sales for this year have increased by $1 million over the previous year, fuelled by an increase in the number of calls taken and higher sales conversion of those calls by our agents. Earlier this year, Tourism Whistler purchased the remaining 49 per cent of whistler.com, making this site a true community asset, owned and operated by locals for the benefit of our guests. Having now spent the last two months with the team, I can tell you that I have been impressed with the level of expertise in the organization and with their sincere desire to be best in class in the call centre and with the website. They work hard each day to introduce Whistler to our visitors and ensure that they have the best possible vacation.

There is a great deal of daily focus on the site supported by sophisticated analytics to determine what draws people in, how they move around the site and the conversion to booking success. Our web designers and marketing team make daily changes to the site based on the stats and client feedback. The one thing I quickly learned is that is doesn’t matter what my opinion of the site optics is; visitors vote with their clicks. The whistler.com site has an extremely low abandon rate of 26 per cent and a respectable conversion rate in the industry, suggesting that we are doing something right. I am not suggesting it is perfect. We recognize that the site needs constant tweaking and changing and will continue to do so. In the months to come the combined web teams of Tourism Whistler and whistler.com will be working on a site which is a hybrid of the two – focusing on both the need to provide information and sell the resort. But make no mistake about it, whistler.com is the sales engine for the majority of accommodation and activity providers in the area and our focus will continue to be on increasing sales into the resort. They expect nothing less.

The top of the site does indeed have a one inch header with our logo and 800 number prominently displayed with the background being grass, depicting the summer season. However, below this and occupying the majority of the top space are rotating scenes of Whistler with beautiful shots of the local lakes, golf courses, river rafting adventures, zip trek scenes, train adventures, and spa experiences. All of these shots are designed to support the local businesses and showcase the variety of options available and have seen good click through numbers.

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