Whistler Homeowner Newsletter-January 20, 2005

The weather is wreaking havoc in Whistler. Today, more than 60% of the lifts are closed. Yesterday, only 3 lifts were open. It is raining, mild and the base is at a paltry 124cm. Rainy, mild conditions are expected until Monday.

The news is not all bad though!

Today's newsletter will focus on the weather, how to deal with your disappointed guests and long term rental strategies.

In Today's Issue:

Whistler Weather-Today and Forecasts
How Not to Turn a Short Term Problem into a Long Term Disaster-Guest Relations Strategies
How to Encourage Bookings for the Rest of the Season-'Cause Something is Better than Nothing!
The 2006/2007 Season-How the 2005 Weather Hangover Could Impact Your Business

Whistler Weather-Today and Forecasts

The bottom line is that there is little or no skiing/riding right now. By Monday, things will likely improve. The long term forecast for the rest of the season is predicting more snow. For your convenience, here are some links to the short and long term weather forecasts.

When reading the forecasts, keep in mind the following elevation benchmarks:

7th Heaven-2240 m
Rendezvous-1860 m
Catskinner Chair-1550 m
Roundhouse-1835 m

Short Term Whistler Blackcomb Alpine Forecast
Long Term Weather Forecast from the Farmer's Almanac
Current Live Conditions

How to Not Turn a Short Term Problem into a Long Term Disaster-Strategies you can Adopt Today to Help your Business Tomorrow..

The rest of the season will likely stabilize. The real challenge is therefore how to deal with your current, deeply disappointed guests.

It is no one's fault that the weather is so bad. Your current guests are probably thinking that is is therefore unfair that they should bear 100% of the bad weather costs. Although your current guests are losing in the short term, the biggest long term sufferers will be Whistler Ski Resort and your personal rental businesses.


Because today's guests will not likely return in a hurry for future vacations. Moreover, if they do return, they are going to wait until the last minute to book in order to be confident in the conditions.

Sticking to your hard core cancellation policies are going to help you financially in the short term, but hurt you and Whistler in the long term.

To minimize your guests' disppointment and frustration as much as possible and to lessen the damage this is doing to Whistler and your businesses, I am strongly urging you to take a proactive, long term view on this unfortunate situation.

Here are some strategies and tips to help you cope with unhappy guests:

Give the Guests a Partial Refund Today

If you can, offer some sort of refund to your current guests as a gesture of your regret about the conditions and recognition that it is no one's fault.

No matter how small your refund is, your guests will really appreciate it and I can guarantee that you will be forefront on their minds if they should return to Whistler. Sometimes, the positive emotional impact of a proactive gesture like this is enough to completely neutralize the angst of even the most disappointed guest.

Offer Your Guests a Discount on a Future Booking

If you can't give a partial refund today, consider offering a healthy discount on a 2005/2006 winter or summer booking. Alternatively, give a small refund and a discount on a future booking.

Direct Guests to Alternative Activities

Tourism Whistler released a handy rainy day activity summary. We have posted it on our site for your convenience:

Rainy Day Activities to Improve Your Guests' Moods and Spirits

Send your Guests Out for Dinner

Purchase a gift certificate from your favourite Whistler restaurant by calling them up and giving they your credit card and your guests' name.

Then call your guests and tell them that you have purchased a gift certificate for them at the restaurant and to call and make a reservation.

I have done this on numerous occasions for guests as a token of my personal regret over things that went sideways in my own rental business!

Remember-Everyone is in the Same Boat!

I apologize for the "water" reference :)

Owners are getting cancellations, guests are leaving early, and lift tickets are not being claimed, and therefore being refunded by AlluraDirect.com. Owners, rental managers, AlluraDirect.com, Whistler Blackcomb and other local businesses are in the same situation that you are in.

I take my hat off to Whistler Blackcomb for handling unhappy guests so well. Their job is not easy these days.

The bad weather will leave us soon, and if we all do our part, then so will the bad memory for many of our current guests.

Encouraging Bookings for the Remaining Part of the Season

There is only 1 barrier to booking any remaining dates on your calendar: low guest confidence in snow conditions.

Right now, only a risk-taker would bet on Whistler for a February or March ski vacation, and the only reason they would do it is if the price is right and there are some guarantees.

Here are some strategies to fill up any remaining dates this season:

Implement a Snow Guarantee ASAP

I recommend that you all post a Snow Guarantee into your policies table. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by minimizing risk for future guests.

See sample snow guarantee

If my property were located in Whistler and I had lots of Feb/March availability, I would even go so far as to offer a full refund under those conditions, effective for the remainder of the season.

Lower Your Rates Immediately for any Unbooked Dates

Getting bookings is going to be tougher than ever, in light of the current snow conditions.

Lower your rates while there is still an opportunity to capture guests who are still planning their ski vacation.

Remember-some revenue is better than none!

The 2006/2007 Season-How the 2005 Weather Hangover Could Impact Your Business

The current weather situation is not going to help next season's bookings. It is a well known trend that bad weather in a current year casts its doom upon the next season, irrespective of that season's snow conditions.

Now is the time to set pricing for the 2005/2006 ski season. We encourage you to do so within the context of the current weather situation and how it could negatively impact your business. Aggressive and competitive pricing, together with lots of value-added features are highly recommended.

Hang in there!