Tourism Whistler contracts out central reservations to Intrawest 

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"Eighty per cent of the reservations are still coming through travel agencies, tour operators, meeting planners, Tourism BC call centre, Whistler.com, hotels, and so on.

"I think the second point to be made... is that those decisions were made completely in isolation and they were made on a competitive bid level.

"So when the golf bid went out it went out to five properties looking at golf expertise and looking at industry standards… and similarly with RezRez.

"In both cases the decisions were made independently and those two companies had the greatest expertise."

RezRez will start its new operation for Tourism Whistler Sept. 1. The first year will be on a trial basis, said Fisher.

If it is deemed a success the contract will continue for another four years.

RezRez has agreed to pay Tourism Whistler the equivalent or more than they were earning when Tourism Whistler ran central reservations themselves.

When Tourism Whistler first announced that it would be moving its call centre to Vancouver many were worried that it would remove the personal touch local agents gave to each call. The same concerns are being raised again as the call centre moves to RezRez’s North Vancouver location.

"In terms of just the ability to make bookings it is undeniable that RezRez is successful at it," said McKeever.

"However, in terms of product differentiation when you go with a remote call centre I do have a big concern that we have to stand out.

"When someone says ‘how is the snow?’ and the person on the phone says ‘I’ve never been to Whistler,’ that to me is unfortunate."

But that is unlikely to happen said Stan Sprenger, CEO and vice president of RezRez.

"I think with technology and all the information we had we are not running into that challenge, at least our sales haven’t shown that over that last years," he said.

Today technology can put Web-cams, minute by minute weather forecasts and other information at the fingertips of every booking agent. And all agents will receive the same training as those who worked for central reservations for Tourism Whistler.

"I first thought that might be an issue but their staff pick it up quickly," said Patrick McCurdy of Whistler Chalets.

"We have worked with RezRez for the last four years at least and they have done a professional job of marketing and offering Whistler through their staff."

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