Tourism Sun Peaks Quarterly E-newsletter Sun Peaks Resort
FIRST QUARTER 2014 | SPRING

From international and regional marketing campaigns to music and sports events, Tourism Sun Peaks promotes awareness and drives new visitors to resort businesses. These are highlights and successes from the last quarter.

In this e-Newsletter:
Message from the President
Central Reservations: 63,000 Room Nights Booked and Increased Revenue
Sales: Asian Markets Making a Difference
Marketing: Communicating Snow from the Voices of Our Guests
Media Relations: New Media Partnerships and Go Media FAM
Events: Summer Events and Adventure Centre
Message from the President

Dear Members,

Winter 2013-14 started with a comprehensive effort within the Sun Peaks business community to reaffirm the commitment and vision toward securing our reputation as the leading mountain resort experience in Canada. The Tourism Sun Peaks Board of Directors initiated a strategy called Delivering the Promise to articulate the vision, and to help motivate and train resort leaders, managers, and front line service providers to create exceptional guest memories. This was complemented by a mid-winter, high-energy session challenging us to ‘wow’ our guests at every opportunity. The initiative also reported guest experience scores on a weekly basis, allowing businesses to respond quickly to servicing issues throughout the winter and provide an overall improved guest experience.

Resort visitation over the first months of the season between November and February showed robust results. Destination markets like Australia performed very well, and the resort generated many first time visitors responding to the knowledge that Sun Peaks enjoyed some of the most favourable snow conditions in the province. The new BC Family Day long weekend, and the revitalized President’s Day weekend helped further these increases to 6% ahead of the previous year by end of February.
 
March, however, was more subdued compared to the lofty expectations set in 2013, when the Easter holiday fell in March and stimulated nearly 3000 incremental room nights over other years. A late April date for Easter 2014 did not help this situation. We can look forward to a stronger late season in 2015 when April falls within the ski season on April 5th.

Tourism Sun Peaks is also analyzing the impact of the new two-week spring breaks trending in many school districts and the new BC Family Day weekend. A two-week school break is perceived by some to be of sufficient duration to visit a sun destination (unlike one week). And for others, the new BC Family Day long weekend holiday may have replaced some traditional March break ski vacations. Overall, most resorts in BC feel that March should be performing better. Sun Peaks is currently building strategies for next winter to address these issues and generate incremental visits.

Overall, the winter will be one of the two best for overnight visitation since the 2008 global economic crisis, but the second half fell short of the feverish momentum of the first half.
 
Looking ahead into summer, the current booking pace for our traditional group tour months (eg: May) is looking strong. New tour series have booked the resort and expectations are high that this market segment will grow over last year.
 
Between July and September, a defining event strategy continues to drive the leisure and get-away markets. Event concerts feature the likes of Juno award winning Blue Rodeo on July 5, and have also diversified into large scale children’s entertainment like the Doodlebops on August 2nd. The music concert calendar dates are also complemented by many sporting events and festivals through the summer. The result is a strategic layering of prolific events and complementary animation that combined drive an awareness of Sun Peaks’ summer experience and new incremental visits to enjoy resort-wide amenities.  

Cheers,


Christopher Nicolson
President, Tourism Sun Peaks
President@SunPeaksTourism.com

Central Reservations: 63,000 Room Nights Booked and Increased Revenue

Submitted by Theresa St. Louis, Central Reservations Manager

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

63,000 Room Nights Booked
Winter resort occupancy is pacing to be one of the top two winter seasons for room night bookings since the 2008 economic crisis with over 63,000 room nights booked.

Central Reservations Revenues Increased
Central Reservations revenue is on target to reach and exceed projected budgets. Transportation revenues account for 16% of the Central Reservations total revenue and tour operator bookings account for 54% of that transportation revenue. Transportation shuttle bookings are a proven indicator of the guest visits from destination markets such as Australia and Ontario. Simply, most guests from these markets fly and then require transport to the airport. Tour operator transportation revenue has increased by 23%. Part of our strategy to sell Sun Peaks to the international marketplace is to be one of the most connected resorts in BC. Many guests on longer vacations want to visit multiple resorts and Sun Peaks provides transportation to capture such guests. Currently the revenue on our inter-resort transfer through the Okanagan is pacing at a 45% increase over last year.

LOOKING AHEAD

Central Reservations is the Golf Kamloops Booking Centre
TSP continues to operate the Golf Kamloops Call Centre with preliminary numbers pacing well ahead of last year.

Central Reservations Staffing Changes
Thank you to our four fantastic seasonal staff this season – Lynne Pike, Connie Williamson, Quita Williams and Lana Degaust. We would not have had such a successful season without your great efforts and commitment to our team. Central Reservations welcomes back Jennifer Nield from her maternity leave, who will be in the office beginning April 2nd.

Summer Packaging Live
Summer packages are now available! We have a variety of package available from events - Blue Rodeo with Dan Mangan + Blacksmith for 2 and 3 night offers as well as Hike, Bike and Golf packages. We are also featuring a 3 nights for the price of 2 for a limited time. Contact Central Reservations for the best options and pricing at 1-800-807-3257 ext. 1.
Sales: Asian Markets Making a Difference

Submitted by Colin Brost, Director of Sales

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

TSP on the International Stage
TSP took the opportunity to present to a record number of agents at the Canada Calls and Corroboree Road Shows in New Zealand and Australia which consisted of more than 1,000 retail agents learning more about Sun Peaks. Combined, these countries represent the largest overseas market for the resort.

TSP sales is proud to announce a new Japanese tour series coming to the resort this summer which equates to more than 800 room nights from May to September. Efforts to secure new incremental tour series to Sun Peaks take sustained effort and cooperation between TSP and resort members.

TSP Firsts in the Industry
TSP lead the way in securing the upcoming Canadian Inbound Tourism Association AGM in early April. CITAP (Asia Pacific) made a landmark decision to host the event outside the Richmond/Vancouver area for the first time in the organization’s existence after reviewing the comprehensive bid submitted by the TSP team. A special thanks to our members for their outstanding support of this initiative which will be used as a framework for the future.

TSP was successful in submitting a detailed itinerary to Destination British Columbia for consideration to be an official Post-RVC FAM. Rendezvous Canada (RVC) is the country’s largest international tourism trade show with operators from around the globe. This is the first time Sun Peaks Resort has been promoted as an official familiarization tour venue of RVC.

Reaching Regional Milestones
Following a month of wedding shows TSP was able to send 32 qualified leads to the membership with a potential of securing over 4800 room nights. Twenty of the leads were a direct result from the wedding shows, while the balance was a mix of small corporate and association retreats, family reunions and athletic groups.

April will see the TSP team on the road again attending four regional home shows, two of them in new locations for Sun Peaks. The focus will be driving awareness for the upcoming summer season as well as specific initiatives to grow our database.

LOOKING AHEAD

Planning for the 2014-15 Winter Season Overseas
Extensive planning and coordination has begun for the promotion of the 2014-15 season in Australia and New Zealand. TSP members will represent the resort at 13 consumer and industry shows over a 3 week period 'Down Under'. Joint initiatives like this, between the members and TSP, allow for a maximum return on investments while realizing efficiencies and savings for all parties.
Marketing: Communicating Snow from the Voices of Our Guests

Submitted by Christina Antoniak, Destination Marketing Manager

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Taking Testimonial to the Next Level
Many ski resorts in the coastal regions of B.C. and Washington struggled at the start of the season with lack of snow and delayed openings. To ensure potential guests were aware Sun Peaks was faring quite well with snow conditions compared to others, the testimonial based advertising campaign evolved to include a strong “we have snow!” message while also incorporating extremely timely quotes from visiting guests in advertisements. TV ads were filmed and recorded right on the slopes and conveyed a purity of emotion and sense of place. To see a sample of one of these advertisements, click here > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRGN-o-qAD8.

Successful Testing Grounds for National Ski and Snowboard Publications
Ski Canada and Snowboard Canada magazines both selected Sun Peaks as this winter’s testing site for 2015 ski and board equipment. The results of the tests will be released as editorial features in their upcoming Fall issues, including online coverage. Both teams were very pleased with the resort, from service, to amenities and terrain diversity. Sun Peaks received strong social media coverage during the tests from the publications and individual testers. To see photos, check out facebook.com/SkiCanadaMag and facebook.com/SnowboardCanada.

Summer 2014 Advertising Launched in January
Event promotion is taking the lead in early summer advertising initiatives, having proved that events do move the meter on summer visitation. A direct mail piece was sent in January to Central Reservations’ database of approximately 10,000. It included a brochure with Family Day and Spring Break messaging and a vibrant spread on the summer’s event line-up, including the announcement of the first Summer Concert Series date, July 4 -5 with Dan Mangan and Blue Rodeo. Also included was a summer magnet with the event calendar. If you’d like one of these magnets, there are more available at the Tourism Sun Peaks administrative office.

Active sport magazine publications and website are a key focus for early summer promotion. Ads in Impact Magazine and Canadian Running magazine are already in-market and include a cross promotional message between races and the Summer Concert Series. Additional ads of this nature will launch over March and April.

LOOKING AHEAD

Summer Concert Series Advertising Campaign Launches Soon
While messaging is already in market in various executions, the primary advertising campaign for the Summer Concert Series will launch in May. Target markets will include Kamloops, the Okanagan, the Cariboo (Prince George), and the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland. A variety of media will be utilized, with a focus on online, radio and TV. This campaign is partnered with the Sun Peaks Municipality and the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) funds.

In addition to the summer concert campaign, TSP has invested in summer awareness in regional and destination markets, including a variety of niche print and online publications. Other options will be evaluated, ranging from sport to seniors, family and others. Search engine and social media advertising will also be a key area of focus.

Sun Peaks Brochures on the Horizon
The first version of the Winter 2014-15 brochure will be ready in April (project lead by Sun Peaks Resort Corporation), as its primary use is for the Australian consumer ski shows in May. Currently there is an interim Summer 2014 brochure (TSP lead piece) racked in-resort as a cross promotional piece to winter guests. This will be replaced by a full scope summer brochure in mid-May. This piece will be racked at Visitor Information Centres throughout the province, as well as BC Ferries and here at Sun Peaks.

Media Relations: New Media Partnerships and Go Media FAM

Submitted by Brandi Schier, Media Specialist

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

Winter Media Visits Conclude with Strong Results
Over the winter months, TSP’s media team, with the support of the partners and community, hosted 45 media guests from various publications and outlets, which is on par with the pervious winter. The largest market segments represented through these visits were 25% national, 25% British Columbia specific, 20% Australian and 11% UK. Several stories were published immediately following the visit, leading to increased awareness. Other stories will be held until next fall to generate bookings for the winter 2014-15 season.  

Over the winter, Sun Peaks articles appeared in The Boston Globe, The Vancouver Sun and Province, The Edmonton Journal, The Toronto Sun, Montecristo Magazine, EAT Magazine, Ski Canada Magazine, Snowboard Canada Magazine and others. Online, Sun Peaks articles appeared across the Post Media network, Canada.com, OnTheSnow.com, FlightNetwork.com, TravelingCanucks.com, OkanaganLife.com and others.

Impactful Social Media
Through a mix of paid and organic growth, Sun Peaks’ Facebook page grew to over 22,000 fans (a larger audience than any other Okanagan resort), a 13% increase over the winter. Twitter followers grew by 13% to 7880 and Instagram is up by 71% to 3257.

In partnership with SnowSeekers.com, Tourism Sun Peaks engaged a local ‘social media correspondent’ to increase TSP’s partner’s presence on social channels. This resulted in very successful engagement on Facebook, noticeably with guests prior to their stay being driven to various resort businesses.

The brand and social media equity in #SunPeaks360 continued to grow this winter. Over 2800 new photos (compared to 1200 last winter) were uploaded to Instagram in the past year. In a break from last winter, prizing was given away randomly and posted on Facebook allowing resort partners to be promoted individually for donating prizing.

LOOKING AHEAD

New Media Reception Partnership with Tourism Kamloops
Through a TSP initiative, Sun Peaks and Kamloops hosted a media reception and conducted meetings in Vancouver in March, bringing together 15 top quality travel writers based in the Lower Mainland to pitch new summer story ideas. TSP focused on new alpine cross country bike trails, new guided cross country biking and hiking tours and the 2014 Summer Concert Music Series to generate interest and visits for the upcoming summer.

Official Go Media Fam Venue
For the first time, Sun Peaks will be included on an official pre-Go Media media familiarization tour, open to top producing journalists from across Canada. This will take place in August and feature some of Sun Peaks’ iconic summer experiences.
Events: Summer Events and Adventure Centre

Submitted by Janice Nankivell, Events & Adventure Centre Manager

DEPARTMENT HIGHLIGHTS

The Adventure & Information Centre
The Adventure Centre had a solid winter season with an increase in overall sales in December by 120% compared to December 2012, and an increase in overall sales in January by 30% compared to January 2013. This is a reflection of the strong destination guest visitation to the resort and their demand for diverse winter experiences including dogsledding, snowshoeing, etc.

The 16th Annual Sun Peaks Winter Festival of Wine
The 16th Annual Winter Festival of Wine posted record attendance this year with 13 sold out events and other events almost at capacity! The signature event of the week, the Sun Peaks WestJet Progressive Tasting continued to be a crowd favourite selling out one week before the Friday evening event and guests raved about the new Grilled Cheese and Wine event, which will be back again next year.

LOOKING AHEAD

2014 Summer Concert Series
Summer Concert Series will kick off with Dan Mangan + Blacksmith performing Friday, July 4th and Blue Rodeo performing Saturday, July 5th. With the expansion of Music in the Plaza taking place every Friday night throughout the summer, there are even more reasons to get out and enjoy summer in Sun Peaks!

Summer Kick-off Weekend in Sun Peaks Resort
The Summer Kick-off Weekend featuring the 7th Annual Mountain of Beer & Chili Cook-off will take place on June 28 - 29 with demonstrations by the West Coast Lumberjacks, fun kids’ activities, face painting, buskers and more!  

Canada’s Alpine Blossom Festival
Adding to our line-up of free outdoor events this year, The Doodlebops Musical Playdate will perform on August 2 during the Alpine Blossom Festival from August 2 - 3, 2014. Guests can join rock stars DeeDee, Rooney and Moe as they sing their favourite songs, tell their wackiest jokes and show off their funkiest dance moves. Of course it’s still the perfect weekend to get up in the alpine and explore any number of our BC hiking trails while you take in the vibrant blooms like the Indian Paintbrush, Tiger Lilies and Fireweed. We’ll also have all of our usual festivities in the village square such as musicians, clowns, kids’ zone, bouncy castle, climbing wall and more!
Tod Mountain Days
Celebrate the last ski days of the winter season this weekend!
Summer Kick-off Weekend
Featuring The Mountain of Beer & Chili Cook-off, The West Coast Lumberjack Show, live music and kids' activities!
Sun Peaks & Region Farmers' Market
Every Sunday from June 29 to September 7
Summer Concert Series
Blue Rodeo on July 5 and Dan Mangan + Blacksmith July 6
If you have moved recently, changed your telephone number, want to update your payment method,
or to change any other options, click here to log in to your account and enter your new information. Simple!
Contact Tourism Sun Peaks
Tel 250.578.2555  |  Fax 250.578.2552  |  Email admin@sunpeaksresort.com
It is our policy to respect your privacy; therefore, we do not pass on any information from our database to outside parties.