Tourism Whistler announces $3.5M renovation to the Conference Centre 

Upgrades are designed to 'create a more sophisticated facility with a consistent look and feel'

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF TOURISM WHISTLER - facility facelift The Whistler Conference Centre, pictured, is set for its first major renovation in 15 years.
  • photo courtesy of tourism whistler
  • facility facelift The Whistler Conference Centre, pictured, is set for its first major renovation in 15 years.

The Whistler Conference Centre is getting a major facelift.

On Tuesday, Oct. 15, Tourism Whistler, which operates the facility, announced plans for a $3.5-million renovation that will include design and technical upgrades, such as new lighting, acoustical treatments, floor and wall coverings, furnishings and artwork.

In an email, Karen Goodwin, Tourism Whistler's vice-president of destination and market development, said the upgrades are needed "to create a more sophisticated facility with a consistent look and feel.

"Last year we renovated all of the conference centre washrooms, which are now bright and contemporary," she added. "This renovation will elevate the rest of the facility to match. The renovation will also have a significant focus on lighting, as the need for improved lighting throughout the facility is the most consistent feedback we get from clients."

The destination marketing organization believes the renovation will help drive group and conference business to the resort.

"We know that having a beautiful, contemporary and functional facility that suits a variety of conference and event needs will inspire meeting planners to book their event in Whistler and will help the resort remain competitive as a meetings destination," Goodwin noted.

One of Tourism Whistler's priorities over the past few years has been to disperse visitation to slower midweek and shoulder season periods, and conference business has been a key element of that strategy.

"High season for group and conference business is the spring and fall, so there is great alignment between Whistler's need periods and when these groups want to meet," said Goodwin, adding that group business makes up 30 per cent of Whistler's total room nights during the spring, summer and fall.

Group business bookings are down for the upcoming months of January, February and March, after "Whistler had a few anomaly groups last winter that are not repeating" next year. The organization did note, however, that "group and conference business is not a key focus for Whistler during those peak winter months," Goodwin explained.

"On the flipside, group business is ahead [year over year] for November, December and April when meetings and conference business is a focus."

Although Tourism Whistler has made certain upgrades to the facility recently, this will be the conference centre's first major renovation since 2003-2004. The facility was built in 1985.

Funds for the renovation will come primarily from Whistler's Municipal and Regional District Tax dollars and conference centre surpluses.

The conference centre will remain closed during renovations, which are slated to begin in January before wrapping up by mid-March 2020.

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