A new partnership marketing agreement between Tourism Victoria and WestJet Airlines is expected to give the capital region an even bigger boost when it comes to competing for convention and other non-peak season visitor business.
Paul Nursey, CEO of Tourism Victoria, said it’s all about working to become more competitive.
“Tourism is a very competitive business and the conference space is really, really competitive,” he said. “So having an airline partner to help give us preferential rates for our conference delegates and meeting planners, and a commitment from both parties do joint marketing in the business-to-business space, will help give us a competitive edge over every other city we’re bidding against.”
While conference business is already being booked for Victoria into 2022 and 2023, Nursey said the partnership and the joint marketing will begin immediately.
“When our proposals hit the desks of our customers, it’ll be better because it’ll have an airline component.”
The multi-faceted agreement will see the two organizations align their marketing to help each other boost business during non-peak seasons. Here in Victoria that means filling hotel rooms when they might otherwise sit empty, a strategy that has a spinoff effect for local businesses.
WestJet director of business development, Robert Dungan, said the airline also has non-peak times where it is looking at creative ways to fill seats on its planes.
“It’s looking for those opportunities with the convention market and looking for those periods where people are travelling off-peak,” he said. “Maybe it’s more [certain days] of the week where we can work closely together to help bring more business here on flights where we need it, and frankly the city can benefit as well.”
Nursey said WestJet, which has been flying in and out of Victoria for 22 years, is a “great cultural fit” for his organization. “We’re both ambitious and we’re both growth-oriented and we’re going to make it work.”
He pointed out that the airline has a meetings division of its own that works with the conference business. “We’ve partnered with them informally, but now we’re going to partner formally. We’re really honoured that a big national company like WestJet has chosen to work with us; they could have chosen to work with anyone in the country.”
WestJet offers direct flights from Victoria to Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary and Edmonton and during the summer months offer four weekly non-stop flights to Toronto.