By Clare Ogilvie
Tourism Vancouver has chosen Tourism Whistler’s central reservation company to handle its booking calls.
“We think strategically it is a good fit between the two communities as we gain momentum toward the 2010 Olympics,” said Stephen Pearce, vice president of leisure travel for Tourism Vancouver.
Whistler.com, the central reservation company owned jointly by Tourism Whistler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, was one of several companies that answered a Tourism Vancouver request for proposals earlier this year.
Pearce said the synergy between the two communities was just one of the reasons whistler.com was chosen.
“We had a number of excellent companies (apply) and one of them was whistler.com and as we further investigated we found we were delighted with the opportunity to work with whistler.com,” said Pearce.
“We think with the folks at whistler.com we can take the level of engagement of our industry to another level. We are looking at another slew of opportunities to engage our accommodation and our non-accommodation members with whistler.com.
“We found the staff and management to be very receptive to our ideas and thoughts with respect to training and new itineraries and products, so it is all very exciting.”
The new partnership will come into effect in January 2007. Consumers looking to book Vancouver accommodation through one of Tourism Vancouver's several new 1-800 lines will reach whistler.com staff. Tourism Vancouver's online bookings, made via tourismvancouver.com, will continue to be managed by its current online provider, TravelSpike.
"This new partnership will allow us to tap into existing synergies and leverage opportunities for cross selling both destinations, particularly as we move closer to co-hosting the 2010 Winter Games," said Diane Mombourquette, vice president of finance and operations for Tourism Whistler.
"Since Whistler and Vancouver are seen as complementary destinations, visitors tend not to choose one instead of the other. They're more likely to visit Vancouver because of Whistler — and vice versa. Ultimately, the new partnership will help drive room nights to both destinations."
Whistler.com Systems Inc. was incorporated and has been operating as a central reservations company in Whistler since 2000. In 2006, Tourism Whistler purchased 49 per cent of the shares of Whistler.com from a private holder and assumed full management and operations of the reservations business and URL.
The financial details of the deal with Tourism Vancouver were not available, said Pearce.
“It is a cost sharing agreement so there is a combination of both revenue that will be generated by the two organizations that will be shared, as well as fee for service,” said Pearce.
“I hope this agreement is one in a series of initiatives we will be announcing in the not too distant future.”