Serve up your best 

Olympic service providers are already here checking out what’s on offer says Whistler Chamber speaker

By Clare Ogilvie

Businesses and workers should already be putting their best foot forward if they want to capitalize on opportunities from the 2010 Winter Games.

“You never know who you are dealing with today and the influence they will have on the business you get at Games time,” said Felicity Shankar, an Olympic Games specialist with Javelin Europe, a marketing consultant firm.

“You are now on your Olympic journey.”

Shankar, who is based in the UK, will be in Whistler April 17 as part of the Chamber of Commerce speaker series in partnership with the RBC 2010 Legacies Now. (events@whistlerchamber.com)

Her discussion will focus on her experience over the last 11 Olympic Games and will offer suggestions about creating local marketing plans, retail strategies, and making the most of the tourism opportunities.

Businesses often give little consideration, said Shankar, to the fact that the Games bring with it a whole community of service providers. They have already started arriving in Vancouver.

“Increasingly, almost everyday, I get an e-mail from people saying, ‘I am already in Vancouver,’” she said.

“As those people move in they obviously start to use the core facilities and the local resources. There are a number of these people you want to touch through your hospitality and agencies and other business.”

Shankar recalled an experience at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics where she organized hospitality for her sponsor clients every night at two restaurants she had been taken to on her very first trip to the city.

“I had such a great experience that I wanted every guest of ours that came from overseas to have the same experience, because it was truly (representative of) Greece,” said Shankar.

Already 2,200 camera operators, technicians and producers have landed in Vancouver as part of the Olympic Broadcasting Services organization. Over the coming months many more groups will begin to set up a base of operations for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It’s important to realize this, said Shankar, because as the clock ticks down those involved with the operations of the Games will look more and more to those with connections to the event and they will draw on the experiences and contacts they have made in the years leading up to the Games.

“That whole Olympic family network is starting to thrive and breath today,” she said.

“As the heat goes up and there is more and more that needs to be done in the time-frame you become more and more reliant on other people’s experiences and the relationships that they have formed in the local area.”

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