Whistler Chalets has joined 11 other founding partner companies in creating the first "name brand" vacation rental and property management company in North America, ResortQuest International Inc. "I’m very excited," said Patrick McCurdy, president of Whistler Chalets. "When we were identified last fall as one of the leading management companies that was a great honour, but this..." Whistler Chalets will keep its name and local business operations, as well as its current management team and staff. ResortQuest International will provide a national network of marketing resources, including national advertising, an internet web site and a toll-free reservations number. "We have the liquidity of a public company and the horsepower to get the word out," McCurdy said. The 12 founding companies give ResortQuest International a network of more than 10,000 rental homes and condominiums in locations such as Nantucket, Mass., the Outer Banks of North Carolina, St. Simons, Ga., Captiva Island and Sanibel Island, Fla., Aspen, Breckenridge and Telluride, Colo., Park City, Utah, Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii and Whistler. In separate transactions, ResortQuest International acquired all of the common stock and ownership interests of the 12 vacation rental and property management companies, as well as a property management software company. Each company became a founding partner in ResortQuest International, which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last week. McCurdy is a director of the new company. "I think this gives our property owners the feeling that they are part of a very strong brand name," McCurdy said. "The key is that we will continue to do things locally, with class and personal attention. We are in a business that is something other than renting hotel rooms — we’re in the hospitality sector, we’re not just a property management company or renting rooms." Whistler Chalets started operations in November, 1986 with one unit. The company now manages approximately 450 units in Whistler and has 45 full-time employees. David Sullivan, former executive vice president and chief operating officer of Promus Hotel Corporation, is the chairman and chief executive officer of ResortQuest International. Sullivan said in a release: "Our mission is to create a new type of resource in the vacation rental market, by providing one-stop shopping for consumers who want high-quality homes or condominiums in the most desirable resort locations worldwide. Our partner companies represent the leading vacation rental and property management companies in their respective markets, and we plan to leverage their extensive expertise as we build the first brand name in this industry." The U.S. market for vacation property rentals generates more than $10 billion in annual revenues, representing more than 20 million vacation rentals of condominiums, homes and apartments annually. However, the industry is highly fragmented, with more than 3,000 vacation rental and property management companies in the United States alone.