Municipality will test success of project this fall
Whistler will introduce a small interactive information kiosk to guide tourists around town as part of a pilot project this fall.
The kiosk has a digitized version of the village map, listing buildings and businesses in Whistler to help visitors get from place to place.
"Its a pilot project and if its successful then well probably move forward with more," said Bill Barratt, the municipalitys general manager of community services.
"We were not prepared to make a commitment without testing it."
The unit has been developed by a company in the U.S. and will cost about $11,000, plus the software.
It will be paid for by the villages enhancement budget, which is funded by the hotel tax.
If the pilot project is successful, Barratt estimates there could be up to four or five kiosks located in busy spots throughout the village.
FindWhistler.com developed the kiosk software and company principal Gord Clayton calls the kiosk an information platform.
"Its like an advanced mall directory," he said.
The municipality has a joint copyright on the map, and its digital version, with FindWhistler.com
"FindWhistler.com and the RMOW really had a strong synergy together," said Clayton.
He called the partnership "a good fit."
"It was an evolutionary process," said Barratt of the original artists rendering of the village map to the new graphic map which can be easily updated as new building and businesses come and go.
The touch screen kiosks are another way-finding system through the village, he said. Tourists can find out quick information with the simple touch of a screen.
For example, the kiosk will guide people in the right direction to rent ski equipment or will list places to eat around town.
All businesses will be listed on the map, and for a small additional fee they can pay for a linking page which will give details about their store and their products.
As part of the premium package, the portal system will allow businesses to add pages with updated information about sales and products.
"At the end of the day it benefits all the businesses," said Barratt.
He is hoping the test pilot kiosk will be installed before the winter season.
Clayton admits that kiosk strategies in the past have not been successful from a commercial perspective but the intention of these kiosks is to provide an information platform.
"Its not our core business," he said.
"Its a natural growth for our company."