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Keep Olympic expectations realistic warns Park City

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Keep Olympic expectations realistic warns Park City’s Chamber of Commerce manager

Expectations of profit from the 2010 Olympic Games should not be Olympic in proportion.

Those words of wisdom and many more were offered last week by Bill Malone, manager of the Chamber of Commerce and Resort Associations in Park City, Utah, which hosted several events of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

"Keep your expectations realistic," he told over 20 people at meetings hosted by the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation.

Those business people who offered space at a fair price were treated fairly by companies coming to town, Malone said. But people who tried to gouge others usually lost out in the end.

Malone shared the story of one international company, which offered to rent a large luxury ski in/ski out home for corporate entertaining for $65,000, for the duration of the Games.

The property management company turned it down saying they wanted twice that much.

"That property sat empty for the Games," said Malone.

"It is a matter of pricing correctly. People experienced with the Games were very willing to pay premium prices. They just weren’t willing to pay stupid prices."

Malone said prices were high as the Games moved closer and closer to their start date.

But as the final months approached prices began to drop as people realized they had to be more realistic in what they could expect.

Few Park City landlords evicted their tenants either. On the one hand landlords were worried about how they would find tenants after the Games and on the other hand few companies wanted a reputation for kicking out the little guy.

"Nobody wanted to be the corporation that leased out space used for years by the ‘mom and pop’ store on Main Street," said Malone.

"That just wouldn’t look good in the media."

Months out it was mostly corporations looking for space to entertain and advertise. But as the final days drew near it was mostly small groups or individual event-goers looking for accommodation or space and they would only pay affordable prices.

"Many people were willing to wait until the last minute in terms of their bookings," said Malone, adding that tickets were available for just about every event, even the sold-out ones.

There was also concern in town about how the labour force would be affected by the Games.

Malone said those involved with the Games decided not to legislate on the issue, preferring instead to educate landlords and tenants alike in the hopes of protecting everyone’s rights.

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