Last week the Pemberton Music Festival announced its line-up for 2016. With 115 000 people in attendance at 2015’s festival, the event marks a massive surge of traffic in the Sea to Sky corridor. We caught up with Tim Harris, Whistler Blackcomb’s Retail/ Rental General Manager, about translating event traffic into sales:
Pemberton Music Festival Announces Line-Up; Tim Harris Talks Turning Increased Traffic into Sales
SBC: Can you describe your point of view on events like the Pemberton Festival?
TH: Any events that attract business to the corridor are great opportunities to drive our business. The more traffic we can get through our door the better, and the growing event schedule in the corridor has been great to drive sales in the store. Events that target lower occupancy weeks/week-ends are even more beneficial as they help bring more guests into the resort as a whole.
SBC: How have these events affected your buys? Are you taking advantage of camping/ summer lifestyle crossovers from endemic snow brands, like Burton’s Big Agnes collab?
TH: No single event affects our buy, but rather we plan for the large influx of guests in the summer months driven by these events. We strive to offer a strong surf and skate product mix with a good casual offering for those looking to shop. The hot summers drive our board short and footwear sales and we love to offer our signature Showcase logo for those looking to take something home. Burton has been our biggest partner for years and we do showcase their camping/outdoor gear in store.
SBC: How do you capitalize on other events in Whistler? Do your strategies tie in to event specifics?
TH: Lots of animation in the store on high occupancy weekends, everything from skate jams in store, DJ’s with live music, custom artists turning out custom shoes or even a barber in store to bring more life and energy to the shopping experience. We have a schedule of the biggest events and try and plan our best animation accordingly.
SBC: How important is your relationship with staff from events near Whistler?
TH: A good relationship is always the best, but it’s not a deal breaker if we don’t get a chance to connect to event staff specifically
SBC: Do you have a relationship with the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) that plays in to translating events into dollars?
TH: We have hosted skate jams at the local skate park and often hold Riglet events in front of the shop. In order to execute these events a good relationship with the RMOW is imperative, otherwise many of our grassroots initiatives would not happen.
SBC: How long before an event are you planning for pushes in related products?
TH: Ideally we are looking 30 days out, but we can react quickly if needed.