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TW restructured in wake of 2010 Games

CEO Barrett Fisher makes a leaner organization to reflect changing world



Tourism Whistler's CEO has streamlined the organization recently, cutting positions and restructuring her team to meet the challenges of today's changing times.

After careful consideration in the aftermath of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Barrett Fisher made significant changes to her team, reducing Tourism Whistler's workforce by about 10 per cent over last year and putting the savings from that back into marketing and sales.

It means that seven positions at Tourism Whistler have been eliminated, some through natural attrition, some were the end of contract positions and there were some layoffs too.

That frees up hundreds of thousands of dollars for marketing and sales.

"The savings from that will certainly be reinvested back into marketing and sales programs to continue to leverage the Games-time afterglow and to really maximize on the opportunity that was put before us," said Fisher this week.

She cautioned, however, that the restructuring was not just a financial issue. It was also about adapting to the changing times.

"It's actually about being current and reflecting the environment," she said.

So, in addition to making the labour pool leaner, she also did things like eliminate close to 90 per cent of Tourism Whistler's brochures.

The savings from that will be replaced with online digital updates and video content.

There are also plans to re-launch the website, keeping it current with the best content and video clips and with engaging tools for users.

"At any given point in time it's important to continue to re-evaluate an organization: is it set up for success? Does it have the right people in the right positions to most effectively execute the work that we've been challenged to do?" said Fisher.

She will be touching on these changes at Tourism Whistler's annual general meeting on Thursday, May 27 at 2 p.m. at the Whistler Conference Centre.

In addition to Fisher's key highlights, there will also be an overview of the 2009 audited financial statements and the election for the Director at Large position. Running for that position are incumbent Dave Davenport and challenger Trevor Graham.

Already 140 members have cast their votes online. That's up significantly from the 21 members who voted online last year. Tourism Whistler simplified the online voting tool this year. Members will still have the chance to cast their vote at the AGM, where the winner will be announced.

Guest speaker Rachel Dodds, director of Sustaining Tourism, will also speak at the AGM.

Some of the questions she will be answering in her presentation are: are Europeans going to stop flying? Do travellers ask or expect businesses to be 'green'? Is the environmental trend evident in tourism or only in other industries?

"This presentation will answer these questions by looking at sustainability trends in the industry as well as discern who today's travellers are," said Dodds.

Fisher also said that Tourism Whistler will be hosting three to four "listening sessions" with its members in early June in the lead up to the board retreat on June 8-9. The idea is to get feedback from members.

There will also be an online survey to garner input and to engage membership.