Tourism Sun Peaks Quarterly e-Newsletter Sun Peaks Resort
FIRST QUARTER 2011 | SPRING ISSUE

From international and regional marketing campaigns to world class culinary events, Tourism Sun Peaks promotes and drives new clients to resort businesses. Check out some of the highlights and successes from the last quarter in this edition!

In this e-Newsletter:
Message from the Chair
Message from the President: Resort marketing adjusts to market conditions
Central Reservations: Winter Package Sales Increase
Sales: Winter Wrap-up and Forward Thinking
Marketing: Summer Brochure Hits Racks Around the Province
Media Relations/Communications: Winter FAMS Wrap-Up as Forward Planning Begins
Events: Summer Events Take Centre Stage
Message from the Chair

Submitted by Marlie Beets, Tourism Sun Peaks Board Chair

Mother Nature generously blessed Sun Peaks with a fantastic snow year this season, but she was not as kind to others in the world. Our sympathy goes out to all those affected by the floods and earthquakes that affected Australia, New Zealand and Japan in recent months.

The Tourism Sun Peaks Board had a busy fall with a significant focus on financial matters. Responding to TSP data in February that revealed accommodation numbers were lower than projected, the Board promptly approved a staff recommendation to apply additional funds to a marketing blitz to stimulate regional business. Heightened activity throughout the resort during March spring break was seen as a positive wrap-up for the winter season.

In preparation for its new fiscal year starting April 1, the Board approved the budget for 2011/2012. It was agreed that in recognition of a continuing tight economy, there should be no increase in home-owner assessments. The new budget maintains TSP's primary focus on marketing and sales, while providing some additional funds for special events to help attract visitors during the summer.

During its annual strategic planning session in coming months, the TSP Board will look at how our work and the resort can improve. In the meantime, we can also reflect on many successes throughout the past winter. We applaud the Sun Peaks business community for efforts to initiate creative projects to attract and entertain visitors, such as this winter's "March Music Madness." And thanks to the generous support of Sun Peaks' many volunteers and local organizers, the myriad of ski and snowboard events all helped bring visitors to the mountain.

The line-up of summer events is already looking promising and we expect to build on the success of last summer's schedule of special attractions.  New details are always available on the TSP portion of the Sun Peaks Resort website and in SPIN Magazine.

On behalf of the TSP Board, I wish you all a happy spring and summer and we hope to see many of you in the resort during the summer season.

Best regards,

Marlie Beets
Tourism Sun Peaks Board Chair
marlie.beets@cablelan.net

Message from the President: Resort marketing adjusts to market conditions

Submitted by Christopher Nicolson, Tourism Sun Peaks President

The global economic climate limited growth at Sun Peaks businesses this winter. Information from the travel trade suggests that Sun Peaks performed at least as well as peer resorts. But it is of little consequence as room rates dropped in the highly competitive market, and consumers spent less on activities, dining, and retail.

Internationally, Sun Peaks performed well in Australia and saw renewed strength out of Washington State. However, it was the significant decrease in visitors from the UK and long-haul USA to Whistler that defined the season. The vacuum of American and British accents turned Whistler's attention to the regional market in full force. Heavily discounted rates in Vancouver and Seattle repositioned a Whistler vacation within the price range normally occupied by interior BC resorts.

Tourism Sun Peaks rallied with its partner businesses throughout the season with new promotions, book-buy offers, a significant social media contest, and many other initiatives outlined in the following reports. While this maintained visitation levels, revenues fell for most businesses, as they did across the province.

There were notable successes this year. Increased group leads, more responses to advertising, and more Central Reservations bookings are some examples. However, the organization is entirely committed to generating more.

Resort businesses and TSP will be meeting in early April to review the season and plan for summer and winter 2011/12. Residents and visitors will notice more events this summer to attract new people and retain them longer. And a critical review of winter marketing strategies and opportunities has commenced to generate greater gains for members despite global challenges.

Cheers,

Christopher Nicolson
President
tsppresident@sunpeaksresort.com

Central Reservations: Winter Package Sales Increase

Submitted by Theresa St. Louis, Central Reservations/Transportation Manager

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Sales pace ahead in nearly all categories
• The winter has proven to be a huge success with sales pacing ahead of 2010 in almost every channel. The number of nights, people and revenue booked has exceeded last season's sales between 15 to 20% each.

New Packages Prove Popular
• The "First Night, First Day Free" promotion and other initiatives have directly resulted in a 60% increase in package sales. New targeted packages, such as family and holiday specials, and a new web layout have also contributed to the growth. 

Online Bookings Increase
• Online accommodation and package sales continue to increase and represent 50% of winter bookings. Adjustments to the website have increased the ease of online bookings and encouraged immediate consumer action.

LOOKING AHEAD

Summer Packages Available Now
• With the summer just around the corner, Central Rservations has summer packages available for booking through the website, including alpine hiking, downhill mountain biking and golf. For more information, contact Central Reservations daily between 9am and 5pm for details at 1-800-807-3257.

Phones Ring for Golf Kamloops
• The Golf Kamloops Call Centre has seen an increase in call volumes and qualified leads as a result of new, bold packages, such as the "4 for 3 Green Fee's All season long." Guests can enjoy a variety of award winning courses with one simple phone call to Central Reservations at 1-888-232-6603. www.golfkamloops.com.

Seasonal Staff Bid Farewell
• As the winter season wraps up, Central Reservations would like to say thank you to all of our seasonal agents that joined our team for the season. Katrine Villager (Transportation), Geoff Lindsay (Reservations), Sheena Kirouac (Reservations) and Chrystal Wenzel (Reservations). Thank you for all of your hard work and commitment over the season and good luck with all your future endeavours.

Sincerely,

Theresa St. Louis
Central Reservations/Transportation Manager
crezmanager@sunpeaksresort.com

Sales: Winter Wrap-up and Forward Thinking

Submitted by Colin Brost, International Sales Manager

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Winter Familiarization Visits a Success
• Tourism Sun Peaks' sales team has hosted 22 separate sales FAM's this winter season including over 80 individuals from around the globe. Sales FAM's represent industry personal, travel agents, tour operators and group coordinators who have elected to visit us to learn more about our resort for future business opportunities and more knowledge for those that already sell Sun Peaks to consumers.
• Last year during the same time period Tourism Sun Peaks had hosted 16 FAM's with a total of 67 guests so we're happy to report the increase and thank the resort partners who have supported this proven sales strategy.
• "Sun Peaks exceeded my expectations in many ways - I really enjoyed my time there and look forward to returning soon." Chris (Ontario Tour Operator).

Regional Efforts Produce Results
• A recent sales trip to into Alberta by our regional sales manager, Louise Bermudez, has already produced results. Mark your calendars for our first Vintage Car Club event in Sun Peaks, September 23 to 25. A successful sales meeting resulted in immediate approval by the Vintage Car Club Association to host their 2011 "Drive" to include a two night stay in Sun Peaks.
• Continued efforts in our key regional markets are underway as TSP is joining the upcoming Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's first "Showcase Road Show." We will be promoting the resort to: meeting, event and wedding planners, top retail travel agents, tour operators as well as trade media in Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle and Vancouver.

LOOKING AHEAD

2011-2012 Winter Season already underway
• TSP is attending Skitops, a North American ski trade show, and Mountain Travel Symposium, with an international focus, in April. A total of 52 scheduled appointments have been confirmed and requests for an additional 12 more have been made.
• These two trade shows are the kick off for the 2011-12 winter sales and marketing cycle.

Australia Consumer Shows
• TSP has been working diligently in coordinating the upcoming ski show season in Australia. Sun Peaks representatives will attend more than 13 consumer and travel agent shows over the month of May.

Cheers,

Colin Brost
International Sales Manager
salesdirector@sunpeaksresort.com

Marketing: Summer Brochure Hits Racks Around the Province

Submitted by Christina Antoniak, Destination Marketing Manager

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Winter Advertising Performance
• Consumer advertising campaigns in Canada and Washington state continued to show an increasing trend toward online vacation package shopping and booking, versus traditional telephone calls to Central Reservations.
• The most successful campaign was online video pre-roll advertising, designed to target skiers and snowboarders based on internet browsing habits. A 15 second video commercial ran before internet users watched their intended online video. This medium delivered 1,700,000 impressions and 3,500 intentional clicks to the Sun Peaks website. These results are above average industry response rates. Given the success, a subsequent campaign ran in March.
• Contesting with Ski Canada Magazine and WestJet’s UP! Magazine provided thousands of names for the resort database.
• 10 radio contests in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton in conjunction with media buys provided added value and engagement with listeners in those markets.
• A comprehensive Google Ad Word campaign in partnership with Sun Peaks Resort Corporation resulted in over 6000 direct visits to www.sunpeaksresort.com.
• Print continues to provide targeted distribution channels for branding and messaging.

Snow Bum 2: The Snapshot
• This season’s contest generated strong social media presence for Sun Peaks, including 3000 Facebook "likes" of contest entries which translates into tens of thousands of messages on Facebook user's news feeds.
• The contest website saw 23,000 unique visitors over the campaign period of mid-November to the end of February, with the most visitation from within Canada.
• The "Most Votes" winner from Calgary sparked a noon new broadcast of the "Best Photo" announcement live on-air at CTV Calgary with TSP's Media Relations Specialist Melanie Simmons. "Best Photo" winner Brandy Rogers from Washington State visited Sun Peaks at the end of March and spent a day filming with videographer Kevin Hagell.

Canada e-Connect Conference
• Led by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, this annual conference looks at online and web-based trends, tools and technology specific to the tourism sector.
• What was reinforced at this conference in February was that social media channels are more than ever being deemed necessary communication tools with consumers. However, businesses and resorts need to resist speaking to the audience with marketing lingo, but rather engage with the audience in an effort to build brand trust and brand ambassadors.
• TSP is developing a social media strategy based on an internal review of current social media activities and key learnings from this conference and other industry events.

Summer Brochure: A new look and more content
• The new 2011 summer brochure hit in-resort racks at Sun Peaks during Spring Break. Doubled in size, the brochure provides a comprehensive overview of the resort's summer activity products, events and festivals listings, the Summer Experience culinary products and a cross-promotion for weddings, meetings and conferences
• The brochure showcases an aggressive "2-for-1" promotion along with the Stay & Play packages. The "2-for-1" is: a two person activity and two nights’ accommodation all for the price of one. 
• The "2-for-1" is promoted on copies of the brochure that are distributed in Visitor Information Centres throughout BC, on the BC Ferries routes, and in-resort only during the winter season. The intent is to motivate rubber tire traffic to visit the resort. 
• Copies of the brochure without the “2-for-1” will be racked in the resort during the summer and are available for other purposes.

LOOKING AHEAD

• Planning for the summer media buy begins in April. To-date, booked summer advertising activities include:
- destination partnership with Barriere and Wells Gray in the form of a Spring TV campaign in Kelowna and Kamloops to promote the North Thompson Valley
- full page ad in the BC/Alberta RV Guide; a Spring/Fall guide that is distributed in 6500 rental RVs
- full page ad in the Spring/Summer issue of Wineries Refined magazine, to promote the Wine and Culture Festival
- half page ad in the Van Dop Art & Cultural Guide, BC's only comprehensive guide for arts and culture

Cheers,

Christina Antoniak
Destination Marketing Manager
tspmarketing@sunpeaksresort.com

Media Relations/Communications: Winter FAMS Wrap-Up as Forward Planning Begins

Submitted by Melanie Simmons, Media Relations and Communications Specialist

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Winter Familiarization Tours wrap up for the season
• A total of 80 journalists joined us at Sun Peaks this winter season from publications around the globe, including BBC, Ski & Board (UK), the San Francisco Examiner and more. The total number of journalists visiting was down over last year. Last year's success was created by Sun Peaks targeting a high number of media in nearby Whistler and Vancouver for the Olympics.
• As media shifts into the online world, we are able to see the results of our FAM trips far sooner than in past years, with articles posted on Examiner.com and BBC.co.uk within two weeks of the journalist visiting the resort. The BBC story on the Distributed Learning Centre at Sun Peaks also directly resulted in further stories on the Centre from CKNW in Vancouver and Shaw Television.

Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC)
• Tourism Sun Peaks has joined TMAC as an industry member in an effort to continue generating media stories with travel journalists across the country. The organization has close to 450 members, both industry and media, and hosts events both nationally and through the provincial chapters which allow for networking.
• TSP attended the TMAC National Conference and Marketplace event in March 2011 and had meetings with 13 journalists representing over 50 publications and media outlets including VIA Destinations, Just for Canadian Doctors and Canadian Golfer Magazine. There was definite interest in the summer offerings at Sun Peaks, including the Summer Experience program and the Wine and Culture Festival tied in with the outdoor recreation options.

LOOKING AHEAD

Media Planning for Summer 2011 and Winter 2011-12
• As the winter season wraps up, the media department shifts focus immediately to the upcoming summer and the following winter. A media kit will be produced for both seasons, which includes an overview of the season, an events calendar, and a collection of story ideas and angles that are intended to pique the interest of journalists who are looking for travel feature story ideas.
• The Summer Media Kit will be distributed in early May to our travel journalists. The Winter 2011-12 story ideas will be sent to our vertical (ski) publications in May and then to the more regional newsrooms later in the summer.

Village Vibe Shifts to Spring Schedule
• Following the last day of winter lift operations on April 10, 2011, the Village Vibe will move to a monthly publication until summer operations commence at the end of June.
• The Vibe continues to be the go-to piece for guests coming into the resort with information on upcoming special events, concerts, and regular activities happening through the Adventure Centre.

Tour Bus Schedule and Hours of Operation
• TSP is continuing efforts this summer to ensure that our retail and restaurant outlets know when to expect large volumes of traffic to Sun Peaks and can plan their Hours of Operation accordingly. With that in mind, we will once again be collecting a monthly tour bus schedule from our hotel partners and will be distributing that information to our businesses to assist with planning.
• The Hours of Operation will be distributed on a monthly basis (email and hard copy) along with the Village Vibe.

Kind Regards,

Melanie Simmons
Media Relations and Communications Specialist
tspmedia@sunpeaksresort.com

Events: Summer Events Take Centre Stage

Submitted by Janice Nankivell, Events Coordinator/Adventure Centre Supervisor

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

The Adventure Centre Sells New Products
• The Adventure Centre had a solid winter season with a lot of tour sales and bookings for all activities. We were excited to bring on a new helicopter tour this winter, as well as a Kennel Tour as part of our dog sledding product. The latter gave guests the opportunity to meet the dogs, learn about dog sledding and the general operation of the kennels. This tour was very well received and often sold out.

Sold Out Events at Winter Festival of Wine
• The 13th Annual Winter Festival of Wine was declared a huge success with six sold out events and four other events almost at capacity! The signature event of the week, the Sun Peaks WestJet Progressive Tasting became a hot commodity after selling out five days before the Friday evening event. Over 660 people enjoyed wine varietals from 24 Okanagan wineries that were set up in venues throughout the alpine village.

LOOKING AHEAD

Summer Kick-off Weekend: July 2 and 3
• Our brand new Summer Kick-off Weekend featuring Jo's Road Race and the Mountain of Beer & Chili Cook-off will take place July long weekend with fun kid's activities, face painting, outdoor entertainment, buskers and a brand new Family Fun Bike Ride to McGillivray Lake!

New Event! Canadian Enduro Championship: July 9 and 10
• Sun Peaks Resort has been selected to host the first two rounds of this 4-stop Canadian series. Canadian Enduro racing legend Guy Perret will be organizing this spectacular event which is expected to draw over 150 riders to the resort. From tight, single track racing to special skill testing sections, the Enduro incorporates many disciplines of the sport, making it fun viewing for spectators. Visit our website for more details! www.sunpeaksresort.com.

Alpine Blossom Festival: July 30 and 31
• The popular Alpine Blossom Festival is returning to Sun Peaks as residents and visitors alike are encouraged to get up into the alpine and explore any of the 15 hiking trails to take in the vibrant blossoms like Indian Paintbrush, Tiger Lilies and Fireweed. The village square will be alive with action as well, with musicians, clowns, a magician, kids zone, bouncy castle, climbing wall and more!

Kind Regards,
Janice Nankivell
Events Coordinator/Adventure Centre Supervisor
tspevents@sunpeaksresort.com

TSP Annual General Meeting: June 25
Join us Saturday, June 25 at the Delta for a review of the past year at Tourism Sun Peaks.
Spring Festival:
April 9-10
The Dummy Downhill is just one part of a fantastic weekend of celebrations as the Winter Season comes to a close.
Wine & Culture Festival: July 15-17
An art walk, quilt show, wine tasting and other culinary events are all part of the 4th Annual Festival!
Stay Tuned In!
Check out all of the latest articles and videos posted on Sun Peaks from fans around the world.
Summer Packages Available Now!
Discover summer at Sun Peaks with stay and play packages for all outdoor enthusiasts!
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