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B$Z: Whistler Sabbatical Project garners buzz with once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

November 14, 2011

Whistler Sabbatical Project garners buzz with once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Suggested Tweet: Check this week’s Sabbatical experience (hint: involves spa!); answer question #wouldyoudoit. Win 1 month in #whistler

Public response to the Whistler Sabbatical project has exceeded Tourism Whistler’s expectations – with thousands visiting the recently launched microsite and entering the contest for a month-long Whistler adventure.

Today marks week three of the Whistler Sabbatical Project<>: the ultimate Whistler contest with a grand prize of one month in the resort, expenses paid, a salary (up to $4,200), airfare, lift pass, equipment and a series of ultimate Whistler experiences.

“The Whistler Sabbatical Project is generating tremendous response,” said Tourism Whistler’s Senior Manager of Marketing Services, Kirsten Homeniuk. “There’s been great interest in the weekly online videos, and our social media efforts have resulted in thousands of people Tweeting the contest details and sharing with friends on Facebook. It’s really helping us to engage with more customers – and inspire people to choose Whistler this winter.”

Its little wonder the response to the contest has been so positive, with unique options such as this week’s showcased experience: hours of luxurious pampering at the award-winning Scandinave Spa<> in Whistler. Here the outdoor baths, steam room, sauna and treatment rooms – engulfed in a spruce and cedar forest with mountain vistas – provide guests the opportunity to unplug and connect with nature.

The grand prize winner of the Whistler Sabbatical Project will have the chance to experience the Scandinave Spa as part of their month-long series of unique Whistler experiences. One lucky winner will also win a Scandinave Spa package this week via Facebook at<>.

The Whistler Sabbatical Project launched October 17, with a new Whistler experience being featured each week for 15 weeks, and the opportunity to create the definitive ‘bucket list’ of Whistler experiences. Each week contestants are presented with an experience and asked the question: Would You Do It? Participants earn a contest entry each time they answer the weekly poll. Visitors to the microsite also get a glimpse of each experience through Tourism Whistler’s 45 second vignettes featuring the experience of the week. The videos highlight the experiences while showcasing the many activities that Whistler has to offer guests.

Contest entry for the Whistler Sabbatical Project is available at<>

The Whistler Sabbatical Project is generating a significant buzz with its use of online video, website interaction and social media. To date, thousands have entered the contest from across Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia and people are regularly revisiting the microsite – which has received tens of thousands of visits.  Almost 40 per cent of the site visits are the direct result of Tourism Whistler’s advertising efforts. Just over a third of the visits are the result of email campaigns, with the remaining traffic being driven by social media and third party referrals.

GoWhistler Facebook fans have grown by 224 per cent – more than six times the average monthly growth. And interactions with GoWhistler on Facebook (including comments, shares, tags, and likes on a post) have increased by 123 per cent.

Visitor engagement on the microsite has also been very strong with above-average page visits and time spent on the site.  A major reason for the success in drawing repeat visitors to the microsite has been interest in watching the latest weekly video.  And responses to the weekly poll indicate that there are different opinions about what constitutes a dream experience in Whistler:

•         Vignette #1 - Would you dance in your ski boots ‘til midnight?

             o    I’ll do it                                                                         63%

             o    Been there, done that                                                     23%

             o    I’ll pass, find me in the hot tub                                        14%


•         Vignette #2 - Would you sabre a bottle of champagne?

             o    I’ll do it                                                                         87%

             o    Been there, done that                                                     4%

             o    I prefer my bubbly in a glass, not on my clothes               9%

The Whistler Sabbatical Project and the weekly prize contests are open to residents in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia. Contest rules and conditions apply. Weekly prize winners will be drawn randomly. The Whistler Sabbatical Project contest closes January 31, 2012 with 10 randomly-selected finalists drawn between February 1-10, 2012 and the grand-prize winner notified on February 13, 2012. The Whistler Sabbatical prize must be redeemed between March 1 - April 30, 2012.

The microsite for the Whistler Sabbatical Project is featured on the<> website – Whistler’s official information site and the call to action for the resort.

Book by November 15 and save up to 36 per cent on winter stay and ski packages that include lodging and lift tickets. Plus, kids stay, ski, rent & shuttle for free<>. The Book Early and Save promotion promises the lowest rates of the season and the Best Price Guarantee<>.

Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are scheduled to open November 24. Opening day is three weeks away and the alpine is already brushed with fresh snow. To view the alpine webcams visit<> or click here<>