Pop star Katy Perry played three private shows at the Whistler Conference Centre recently as part of an incentive program for employees of an international business-outsourcing firm.
Roughly 3,500 people were part of the Automatic Data Processing (ADP) trip, coming to Whistler in three waves over a 10-day period. The private Katy Perry concerts were the icing on the cake for the employees, who were treated to a four-night stay in town as well as dinners and activities.
"This was a reward trip," explained Karen Goodwin, Tourism Whistler's vice president of market development, of the incentive program for top-performing ADP employees. "They're not in meetings... They're here to have a great time."
A conservative estimate of the ADP impact in town is upwards of $8 million, according to Goodwin.
"It generated over 10,000 room nights for the resort, all with really good room rates," she said, "They spent a lot of money in this resort."
And it's not just the immediate benefit Whistler hopes to see from this.
"This would raise the profile of Whistler as a great incentive destination to try and attract more of this type of business," said Goodwin.
Depending on how the August numbers shape up, the ADP conference could account for about eight to 10 per cent of room nights in the resort for the month.
ADP was primarily based out of four hotels — the Fairmont, the Four Seasons, the Westin and the Hilton.
Incentive groups are a small portion of Whistler's overall group business, which has been growing of late.
June 2015's record-breaking room nights, which were up 26 per cent over last June — itself the busiest June on record at that time — were due in no small part to group business. It accounted for roughly one-third of June's room nights.
"We don't do a lot of incentive business, but we've just done a huge one and we've done it really well so we're really hoping for a good spin-off effect," said Goodwin.
"We'd like to be known more so as an incentive destination."
ADP was last in the resort in 2004.
Perry played three private gigs at the conference centre on Aug. 8, 12 and 14.
Check out more of Perry singing in Whistler on YouTube.