Case Study: The Wickaninnish Inn
Located in Tofino, the Wickaninnish Inn (or “the Wick,” as it’s affectionately known) is a world-recognized high-end property famous for offering four seasons of luxury experiences on BC’s “wild coast.” But how does the Wick stay top-of-mind with tourism consumers? A quick look at their marketing mix offers some answers:
- Product: The inn has long been a leader in offering experiences that go above and beyond a room in a luxury hotel, starting with their storm-watching packages in the late fall, a time that was once their off-season.
- Place: Reservations can be made online on the inn’s website, via a toll-free number, through OTA sites including TripAdvisor (where reviews are constantly monitored in order to engage with customers), and other reservation services including the HelloBC program. The staff constantly engages with, and monitors their customers, tracking trends in traveller purchasing behaviour to ensure it is front and centre with the inn’s target markets.
- Promotion: The inn has a well-maintained, visually rich website and social media presence on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, and Flickr (a presence that shifts constantly depending on where consumers can be found online). Its site features a media page with blogs, press releases, and high-resolution photos and videos to ensure journalists can easily post a story at any time.
- Pricing: The inn has a comprehensive revenue management and pricing plan that includes packaging and promotions for all seasons. The pricing reflects offering value to guests, while confidently staying at the higher end of the scale.
- People: Not only does the inn attract and train staff who deliver on its promise of exceptional experiences, the Wick also has a multi-person team responsible for sales, marketing, and media (blogging, press releases, photography, hosting familiarization tours).
- Programming: Programs include packaging under themes such as elopement, natural, seasonal, romantic, spa, and culinary. Many packages include the involvement of hotel personnel such as an elopement coordinator or concierge to help guests plan specific value-added and memorable components of their experience, such as a last-minute wedding (Wickaninnish Inn, 2015).
- Partnership: The Wick partners with other experience providers and events such as the Tofino Saltwater Classic — a fishing tournament hosted by Brendan Morrison of the Vancouver Canucks. By supporting the event as a platinum sponsor (Tofino Saltwater Classic, 2014), the representatives from the inn meet new potential guests and solidifies its place in the community.
- Physical evidence: In addition to familiarization tours (see Chapter 7 for definition), the media team ensures the inn is considered for a number of high-profile awards, and celebrates wins by broadcasting these as they occur (e.g., Travel and Leisure Awards World’s Best Winner 2014). Prize logos are placed on the inn’s home page online, in print ads, and in physical locations on the property. The inn also has a regular consumer newsletter that celebrates achievements and shares promotions with past and future guests.
Thinking about this example, answer the following questions:
The Wick Inn sponsors the annual fishing competition (The Tofino Saltwater Classic). Recent environmental trends indicate these types of competition are having a detrimental effect on the sustainability of fish in the area. You have been asked to recommend an alternative event that would attract visitors to the area and given its location, the Wick Inn in particular.
- What type of event would you recommend?
- Who would you recommend is the key target audience for this event? Why?
- Identify three key stakeholders for your event and rank each according to their Importance and Influence. Provide a brief rationale as to why you ranked each of them the way you did.