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Published on : Friday, May 27, 2016
With the current winter season reporting period coming to a close at the end of May, Tourism Whistler results show that winter 2015/16 will come in as Whistler’s most successful winter on record in terms of paid room nights, eclipsing the next best winter season (2013/ 14) by seven per cent, and outperforming the previous winter season (2014/ 15) by 12 per cent.
This comes on the heels of Whistler’s most successful summer season in terms of paid room nights, with summer 2015 outperforming the previous best summer on record by seven per cent.
The highlights were shared with Tourism Whistler members at this year’s Annual General Meeting, held May 19 at the Whistler Conference Centre.
“The resort is showing record-breaking results, in terms of paid room nights, outperforming not only last year and the previous “best ever” years, but also the 10-year average,” said Barrett Fisher, Tourism Whistler’s President & CEO.
“We are seeing growth in our regional and destination markets with increases in leisure visitors, event participants and meetings and incentive delegates,” Fisher said. “There are a number of reasons for this growth: Tourism Whistler’s targeted marketing and sales efforts have been buoyed by strong international economies, exchange rates favouring the American, UK and European markets and a resurgence of interest in travel.”
Saad Hasan, Chair of Tourism Whistler’s Board of Directors, recognized the results, acknowledging the work of Tourism Whistler.
“Everything was aligned,” Hasan said. “Of course there were many external factors that helped to drive business – from pent up demand for travel, the exchange rates and great weather … but as much as the alignment helped us, the Tourism Whistler team – not missing a beat in delivering impactful, engaging marketing campaigns – was instrumental in propelling these results to the next level.”
Since May 2015, 10 individual months have set the new mark as best ever for paid room nights.
Paid occupancy for the winter 2015/16 season was its highest ever, outperforming the previous record winter by five points. Regional visitors increased by 18 per cent from winter 2014/ 15, while destination visitors increased eight per cent over the previous winter.
Winter 2015/ 16 had the most regional visitors ever and the most destination visitors since 2008, in terms of paid room nights. In addition, winter 2015/ 16 saw the most paid room nights from U.S. visitors in the past 10 years.
“Good weather helped drive summer business last year and early season snowfall and continued significant snowfall throughout this past winter helped to generate excitement and interest in winter,” Fisher said. “The stage was set for Whistler to blow its previous records out of the water and that’s exactly what has happened.”
The Whistler Conference Centre, owned by the Resort Municipality of Whistler and operated by Tourism Whistler, also recorded its best year ever, achieving record-breaking revenue of $4.1 million, topping the previous Whistler Conference Centre record set in 2008 by more than 35 per cent. Business to the Whistler Conference Centre generated approximately 90,000 room nights for the resort in 2015. Much of the growth in conference business in 2015 can be attributed to two large groups: Mozilla, in June, and ADP, in August. These two groups combined for just under $1.3 million of the year’s revenue. In 2015, the Whistler Conference Centre hosted 88 groups. Conference and group business is a significant economic driver for Whistler, typically representing 22 per cent of summer room nights and 11 per cent of winter room nights.
Looking ahead, resort officials are optimistic that summer 2016 will perform well. Bookings for June 1 – August 31 are currently pacing ahead of last year’s record numbers by six per cent.
In addition to the business levels experienced by the resort, Whistler is also enjoying positive customer feedback with visitor satisfaction increasing significantly year over year. Satisfaction for overall experience, overall value and overall customer service were all up from winter 2014/ 15.
“Whistler is an exciting, youthful and vibrant destination that attracts visitors from all over the world,” said Fisher. “The top-rated ski resort in North America, with a world-class mountain bike park, ultimate big mountain golf experience, exciting arts and culture programs and a robust calendar of festivals and events leave Whistler with much to celebrate – and share,” she said.
Both Fisher and Hasan point to strong partnerships with Tourism Whistler members and resort partners like the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb and the Whistler Chamber of Commerce as a key factor in Whistler’s ongoing success.
“In Whistler, it really is about collaboration, and on behalf of Tourism Whistler, I’d like to thank the resort partners and businesses for continually going above and beyond to offer exceptional customer service, ensuring we all deliver the absolute best guest experience,” said Fisher.
“Without these partnerships and the collective efforts of everyone involved, we really would not be where we are today,” added Hasan. “Looking ahead, if we can keep up this momentum and continue to work together, Whistler is poised to do very well.”
Tourism Whistler is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors – seven elected and five appointed. At this year’s AGM, four board positions (Large Single Managed Lodging director, Village Multi-Managed Lodging director, Other Multi-Managed Lodging director and Director at Large) were filled by acclamation.
The current Board of Directors:
• Other Multi-Managed Lodging: Ian Lowe
• Director at Large: Tony Cary-Barnard
• Large Single Managed Lodging: Norman Mastalir
• Small Single Managed Lodging: Saad Hasan (Chair)
• Village Multi-Managed Lodging: Jim Allard
• Benchlands Multi-Managed Lodging: Sue Chappel
• Commercial Director: Roger Soane
• Resort Municipality of Whistler: Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden
• Resort Municipality of Whistler: Mike Furey
• Whistler Blackcomb: Dave Brownlie
• Whistler Blackcomb: Stuart Rempel
• Tourism Whistler: Barrett Fisher
Tags: Tourism Whistler