By Shannon Gordon
There are many reasons to genuinely welcome resort guests and treat them well. Apart from it being a reflection of ourselves as community members and as human beings, here are two unashamedly economic reasons: one, a happy guest will only tell five people, but an unhappy one will tell 10; and two: it costs five times more to attract a new guest than it does to keep an old one. When you consider that Tourism Whistler alone spends $7.5 million to attract guests, it only makes sense to support that investment.
This winter season it seems that visitor numbers are set to continue the upward trend for the fourth consecutive year. As such, we each have the power and the responsibility to ensure that the more than two million guests who visit this year consider returning next year, and that they each tell five others to holiday in Whistler too. Okay, maybe seven million visitors in a year are too many to accommodate, but it can’t hurt to aim for 100 per cent occupancy year round!
Consistent with the Whistler2020 Visitor Experience Strategy, it’s about everyone providing great guest service all the time. Whether you come across a visitor on the front line or in the backcountry, we can each choose to contribute to Whistler’s economic success, which supports our social objectives — or we can choose to undermine it.
Let’s look more closely at the economic reasons for each of us providing great guest service, and how that translates into direct social and environmental benefits to each of us as community members.
Think of the economy as the engine that supports what we’re really striving for — a happy, healthy lifestyle strengthened by strong social connections, recreation and leisure opportunities, and supported by the basics of food, clothing and shelter. If the core of Whistler’s economic engine is tourism — diversified tourism, but tourism nonetheless — then our guests are what power the engine.
Therefore, without resort guests we wouldn’t enjoy the same quality recreation, arts, cultural and learning opportunities that we do in Whistler. What other community of 10,000 people can offer the skiing, mountain biking, cultural and leisure opportunities that we have here? The things we love about Whistler (apart from the people) exist because of the roughly 2 million guests in our “home” each year. How we treat them is a direct contribution to ensuring that the amenities we love are maintained and renewed into the future.
So next time you walk past a guest who is lost or get impatient with a guest who is making a complaint about something that happened that day, remind yourself that they are the economic engine that makes Whistler a great place to live and work. And then take the time to listen, really hear their problem, ask how you can help, and then take the initiative to fix the problem.
If you were one of the 2,500 community members who attended one of the 27 Spirit Program sessions held in November by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, you’ll have already heard this service message loud and clear.
Developed and coordinated by the Chamber and supported by Whistler-Blackcomb through Spirit Pass discounts, the revamped Spirit Program was unveiled in the fall as part of the learning component within the Chamber’s newly developed Whistler Service Strategy.
Recognizing that our guests are only going to be well served when employees (especially those on the front line) are well taken care of, the Service Strategy also includes components to help ensure happy, satisfied employees. Employee recruitment and retention, marketing and communication of Whistler’s employment opportunities and employee rewards and recognition are as integral to the strategy as the Spirit Program itself.
Moving forward, the Chamber is ramping up its Spirit Program messaging to community members by embarking on a community-wide campaign to remind us that we are all resort ambassadors and that the spirit of Whistler lives in each of us — everyone, all the time.
Thanks to all the community groups, businesses and
individuals who are helping to make Whistler an increasingly sustainable and
To KNOW MORE about other actions that are moving our
community toward Whistler2020, or to find out how we’re performing visit
www.whistler2020.ca. To suggest a story idea, get involved with the
Whistler2020 task force process, or to suggest actions for task force