Occupancy rate in Whistler hotels in the first quarter of 2009 hums around 40%, the lowest level Whistler has seen in decades. It is no surprise with the downturn in the economy, the Whistler tourism market is struggling to fill occupancy in the various hotels and vacation rentals throughout Whistler, BC.
Many owners and property managers of Whistler accommodations are offering some of the best rates seen in a long time as they get more aggressive to fill their occupancy. Hotels too are feeling the affect and offering some sweet discounts to locals.
Whistler accommodation owners who reply on their marketing to attract potential travelers to secure their rental accommodations, have been more aggressive to attain more exposure to fill the vacancies. Like many companies in these tough economic times, owners and property managers are spending their marketing expenses intelligently by diverting a significant portion of their marketing spend online. Marketing over the web offers property owners the fastest and best means to reach their large global audience, down to their local weekend day trippers in Vancouver. A trend has been noticed where these owners of Whistler accommodations are seeking more boutique and highly targeted niche websites to advertise, such as those exclusively focused on the market of Whistler, Canada, versus large diluted online marketplaces as VRBO and HomeAway.
“Results are key. I focus my advertising spends on quality over quantity and I’ve found the accommodation and vacation rental services that cater to a boutique geographic marketplace as Whistler, gets me the results. They may not get the tens of thousands of visitors as the large N.American vacation rental sites, but the quality of traffic and travelers they do receive are highly targeted. It just makes sense. Why advertise to the masses and be a needle in a haystack when you can capture a targeted audience that specifically matches my business needs and interest.” said one property owner on Bamja.com – Whistler Accommodations & Vacation Rentals.
“The problem in todays market is that the typical traffic we’d expect of people interested to rent and visit Whistler has been cut by more than half due to the economy. We’ve found this trend across all places where we market our Whistler accommodation.”
While many owners and property managers of Whistler accommodations are holding their breathe for the economic turnaround, and possible stimulus from the 2010 Whistler Olympic games, this light at the end of the tunnel may not be so bright.
The timing of the Whistler 2010 Olympic games coincides with other major events in the same year such as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Add on top of these major world events the recessionary effect of Canada trailing the US in economic times of 1-2 years, the 2010 Olympics in Whistler may be one of the worst times in the last few decades to host the Olympics. Then again, so were the dismal times of the 1986 Expo and yet this event seemed to lift the economy in the local market….but time will tell.
For now, Whistler accommodations for rent in 2009 may become one of the worst years for the rental business market. Or hedge your bets with an expected economic turn-around in Aug/Sept 2009, it just may be the perfect timing to lift BC out of the recession.