Tourism Talks: Supporting tourism businesses — book ahead and book direct

'Revelstoke businesses have shown themselves to be resilient, creative, and innovative, but we anticipate that the limitations set by Covid-19 will continue for the foreseeable future.'

Revelstoke-based Great Canadian Tours leads backcountry snowmobile tours into the snowy Monashee mountains. Photo: Great Canadian Tours

2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for businesses that rely on tourism. From a complete cessation of tourism in March to the slow trickle of road trip travelers this past summer, our tourism community has had to think creatively and adapt to a changing world. Revelstoke businesses have shown themselves to be resilient, creative, and innovative, but we anticipate that the limitations set by Covid-19 will continue for the foreseeable future.

One important way to support tourism-based businesses is to book ahead where possible. This gives businesses a sense of certainty and an ability to plan ahead. Most businesses are offering incredibly flexible cancellation policies to allow you to book and accommodate any concerns that arise due to the pandemic.

Another way to ensure that all of your dollars go directly into the community and small businesses you’re visiting is to book direct.

Wild Blue Yonder guests experience a remote mountain rafting experience near Revelstoke. Photo: Wild Blue Yonder

There is a common misconception that booking through third party websites (such as Expedia or Booking.com) is a great way to save money. In reality, the best way to get a better price – and support small tourism businesses – is to do your research online and then book directly by phone or email. The provider will offer you their best rate, and they will benefit from not losing the commission to these large companies, which can range from 15% to 30%. To put it in context, on your $100 booking, $30 of those dollars could go directly out of Revelstoke and straight to the offices of a large corporation. When booking direct, your dollars stay entirely in the town in which you’ve booked.

Not only will booking directly with providers get you the best rate, but there will often be some added perks and benefits. Furthermore, by corresponding directly with business owners, you can develop relationships with the locals before even leaving home. This can provide huge value to your overall travel experience.

While everyone is keeping their bubbles small and trying to follow Dr. Henry’s guidelines, it’s important to keep supporting local businesses and restaurants when you can. Eating at locally owned restaurants and shopping locally continue to be important ways to bolster our economy.

When you’re heading out of town, we encourage you to follow the same guidelines. As you road trip and explore our incredible province, consider how you can best support our local tourism providers. Tourism is one of BC’s largest economic drivers, and the more we can keep our tourism industry afloat through these uncertain times, the better our future as communities.

Tourism Revelstoke is a member driven non-profit Destination Marketing Organization. This collaborative effort is led by the Revelstoke Accommodation Association (RAA) and the Visitor Experiences Department of the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce (RCOC) who both have their respective volunteer board of directors.