By Alison Taylor
Room night bookings for New Year’s Eve are up a staggering 32
per cent over last year, according to Tourism Whistler.
And that’s not the final tally as there could be more last
minute bookings in the coming days.
It’s clear that the message is out: Whistler is the place to be
if you want to ski.
“Skiers go where the snow is,” said Tourism Whistler’s director
of communications Michele Comeau Thompson.
“We had huge success with our early booking offer as well this
year from all markets, (with) record breaking days of sales leading up to the
mid-November deadline for bookings. So I think all of those things, plus our
unbelievable and record-breaking snow, have just come together. Whistler’s
With unusually warm weather in Europe and in eastern Canada and
no significant snow to speak of on the slopes there, the resort has driven home
the message both regionally and overseas that winter is alive and well in
The UK market was a strong focus in the 2006-07 business plans
for both Tourism Whistler and Whistler-Blackcomb. It’s a significant market
— last season UK guests accounted for 14 per cent of the hotel room
nights during the winter season from November to April.
This year Whistler marketed directly to consumers with splashy
and innovative advertising, rather than just through the tour operators, as was
done previously. And it’s paying off.
“We’re seeing some pretty major increases,” said Christina Moore, manager of public relations and communications at Whistler-Blackcomb. “We haven’t seen all the numbers yet so we don’t have a full understanding of whether they’re booking directly through us and not through their tour operators, but in general we are seeing an increase in UK visitors over last year. And we’re also seeing a lot of last minute bookings, which is pretty exciting and that I think is a result of all the snow messaging that we have hammered out there since the middle of November.”
The snow conditions have worked in Whistler’s favour to support the existing marketing strategy in the UK.
While neither organization has redeployed funds into the
European markets since the record-breaking November snowfall, they’ve been
driving home the message online and through public relations.
“Certainly making sure our word is out online and through the
news and travel media is really the best way to get snow news out there in
those longer haul markets,” said Comeau Thompson.
For the two weeks over the Christmas holidays, room nights are
up 16 per cent over last year (which was up over the previous years) and most
of that is during the coming week.
December’s numbers will not be available until next week. In the meantime, the resort is bracing itself for what it expected to be some of the busiest days of the season.