Client: King Pacific Lodge, A Rosewood Resort
Project: Business strategy development and implementation including all aspects of marketing, sales, operations, finance and administration
Suzanne Denbak held the position of Vice President for five years (2004-2009) working closely with the President to establish and implement business strategy related to media relations, web presence, tour operator relations, guest experience, employee recruitment and training, annual budget and daily monitoring of financial performance in season, risk management and finance.
“Suzanne provided both strategic thoughtfulness and a pragmatic focus on results for King Pacific Lodge. Our success as a leader in sustainable tourism in British Columbia and as one of the top-rated resorts in the world requires the passion, dedication and contributions of individuals such as Suzanne.”
Former General Manager
King Pacific Lodge
Client: Coastal First Nations – Turning Point Initiative
Project: Sustainable tourism feasibility study – luxury wilderness resort concept
Working together with King Pacific Lodge, Cadence Strategies provided a comprehensive review of the business feasibility of the development of five luxury wilderness resorts in Coastal First Nations’ territories. Critical success factors related to location and guest experience were developed and a business model estimating internal rate of return constructed in order to ascertain financial sustainability of the proposal. Governance and ownership models were developed for consideration by First Nations’ leadership.
“Suzanne’s business expertise assisted Coastal First Nations in understanding the feasibility of developing luxury wilderness resorts in the Central, North Coast and Haida Gwaii. Her skills and experience cover all aspects of business from marketing and sales, to operations resulting in a realistic assessment of the financial returns from this proposal. She communicates the results of her work clearly and displays a thoughtful appreciation of First Nations issues and concerns with sustainable development in their territories.”
Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative
Client: Tourism British Columbia/Haida Gwaii Tourism Association/ Misty Isles Economic Development Society
Project: Community Tourism Strategy for Haida Gwaii
Suzanne facilitated the development of a community supported tourism plan that included participation by the Council of the Haida Nation, Village of Old Masset, Skidegate, Port Clements, Massett and Queen Charlotte City. As well, the Haida Heritage Centre and Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve were represented along with several private tourism operators.
This facilitation process included identification of key target markets and product development opportunities along with marketing and sales strategies and measures of success. The process required extensive community consultation as its timing was coincident with the formation of the Misty Isle Economic Development Society (MIEDS). Consequently it was imperative that the relationship of MIEDS and tourism stakeholders developing the community tourism plan be clarified and understood. The tourism plan recommendations were adopted for implementation by the Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) to MIEDS and are now being implemented. Facilitated discussions between tourism stakeholders and MIEDS representatives (primarily local governments) allowed an agreement to be reached regarding the composition of the TAC and its relationship to the Board of MIEDS to ensure accountability and stakeholder involvement in investment decisions.
Client: Tourism British Columbia/Xeni Gwet’in First Nation/Chilko Resort & Community Association
Project: Xeni Gwet’in Community Tourism Plan
Suzanne works as a facilitator with Tourism British Columbia’s Community Tourism Foundations® Program and Experiences BC. In the Xeni Gwet’in Caretaker Area she facilitated a collaborative discussion amongst the Xeni Gwet’in Nation and local tourism operators in order to:
• establish tourism objectives and measures of success
• review market ready product and product development issues along with market research relevant to potential target markets
• develop a comprehensive situation analysis including a review of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
• identify key target markets, product development opportunities, key messages and marketing/sales strategies and tactics to reach target markets.
“Suzanne understands the importance of cultural and environmental sustainability in developing a tourism economy and embeds this in her work so that long term success in keeping with traditional values is assured. People in the Chilcotin like to do things on their own but Suzanne was able to bring us together as a group and build agreement on tourism objectives and priorities. She then assisted us with implementation giving us a set of foundational marketing and sales tools that bring immediate results.”
Ms. Nancy Oppermann
Xeni Gwet’in First Nation
Client: Tourism British Columbia/Sts’ailes Nation
Project: Sts’ailes Community Tourism Plan
Suzanne conducted a day-long tourism planning workshop with members of the Sts’ailes Nation and other tourism stakeholders in the Harrison Mills/Harrison Hotsprings region. The workshop was attended by more than 60 individuals who, with Suzanne’s assistance, identified tourism objectives, assessed existing products and new product opportunities and considered priority target markets. At the conclusion of the workshop, a recommended list of tourism product development strategies and marketing/sales strategies were prepared by Suzanne to guide Sts’ailes tourism efforts for the next 3-5 years.
Client: Skidegate Band Council, Haida Gwaii
Project: Destination Development Strategy for Haida Gwaii
Suzanne worked together with Upperfield Consulting to develop a comprehensive, market-driven sustainable tourism strategy for Haida Gwaii that included market research, identification of target markets, branding and positioning of a Haida Gwaii tourism experience and creative execution for website development, lure brochures and other collateral. This review also considered existing tourism experiences and identified new product development opportunities to support destination tourism and visitation to the Haida Heritage Centre. The recommended branding was deployed at Haida House as part of the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver/Whistler.
Client: Xeni Gwet’in First Nation
Project: Best Practices in Tourism Land Management/Access
Branding, Market Positioning and Key Messages
Trade/consumer show booth design
Cadence Strategies was engaged to reviewed best practices in tourism land management and access protocols around North America and share these lessons with the Xeni community. Suzanne engaged with the Xeni community to establish broadly supported visitor protocol for those wishing to visit the Xeni Gwet’in Caretaker Area. This protocol is now posted throughout the territory.
Suzanne also undertake a branding and competitive positioning review for the world class tourism experiences found in the Xeni Gwet’in Caretaker Area that included competitive benchmarking and the development of key market messages. This branding and positioning was translated into the development of a new umbrella identity for all future tourism initiatives.
Suzanne’s most recent work with the Xeni Gwet’in included development of a media kit for visiting journalists including suggested storylines; development of web content; design of a new lure brochure and design/purchase of a trade/consumer show booth.
“Suzanne brings a strategic and thoughtful approach to aboriginal cultural tourism that respects First Nation values and concerns about appropriate cultural sharing while still keeping clear focus on the nature of experiences that today’s travelers are seeking. Her work with the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation has built a sound foundation for the growth of a sustainable tourism economy.”
Xeni Gwet’in First Nation
Client: Northern Secwepemc Cultural Society
Project: Feasibility Study of Proposed Cultural Centre
Suzanne Denbak worked together with an architectural team to assess the feasibility of the development of a First Nations Cultural Centre at 108 Mile House for the five Northern Secwepemc communities (Eskétemc - Alkali Lake, Tsq'escen - Canim Lake, Stswécemc - Canoe Creek, Xat'súll - Soda Creek, T’exelc - Williams Lake). This scope of work included comprehensive stakeholder consultations regarding local aspirations for the facility and visitor experiences to be shared, identification and consultation with potential partner organizations and a review of available market research. As well, a comprehensive business plan (visitation estimates, pricing structure, revenue streams, operating costs etc.) was developed that considered both operating and capital requirements for the Cultural Centre.
Suzanne also facilitated discussions with local community representatives to develop key market messages and a regional brand identity that will be used by the Cultural Centre and by new tourism businesses to be launched in each of the five Northern Secwepemc communities. Using the Cultural Centre as a ‘launch point’, the project also studied the development of several new community supported sustainable tourism experiences for visitors wishing to have a more immersive cultural experience.
Client: Carrier Chilcotin Tribal Council
Project: Tourism Opportunities Study – Nuxalk/Mackenize Grease Trail
Suzanne Denbak was engaged to review the tourism opportunities available to First Nations communities with territories along the historic Nuxalk/Mackenzie Grease Trail from Bella Coola to Quesnel. Six communities were engaged in a facilitated discussion and their opportunities and concerns with tourism development identified (Nuxalk Nation, Ulkatcho, Lhtako Dené Nation, Lhoosk’uz Dene Government, Nazko First Nation, Lheidli Tenneh First Nation). Market research was examined and highest opportunity target markets and their experiential needs identified. Product development opportunities were assessed given the unique cultural and natural offerings available and potential tourism product itineraries developed. A tourism marketing strategy and implementation considerations were also included in the final tourism opportunities study.
Client: Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum Society
Project: Reinvention of Museum Concept
Suzanne Denbak was engaged by Robertson Enterprises to assist the Buffalo Luxton Museum in Banff, AB in its reinvention. This assignment included a review of market research related to cultural facilities and aboriginal experiences, consultation with potential partner organizations (Banff Lake Louise Tourism, The Banff Centre, etc.) and a review of comparable facilities to identify transferable lessons. A comprehensive plan was developed that would transform the facility into an authentic and engaging experience for visitors and would reverse declines in facility revenue and profitability. This plan included a staged implementation that recognized financial and human capacity constraints.
“Suzanne provided exceptional guidance in understanding market trends related to aboriginal cultural tourism and the translation of these opportunities into a realistic plan to reinvent the Buffalo Luxton Museum in Banff.”
Mr. Terry Robertson, BA, MBA
Robertson Enterprise Consulting
Client: Coastal First Nations/Great Bear Initiative
Project: Sustainable Tourism Implementation Framework
Coastal First Nations/Great Bear Initiative have over the past ten years secured rights to tourism tenures in their traditional territories through the Reconciliation Protocol Agreement with the Province of British Columbia. Cadence Strategies is working together with Coastal First Nations participating in the Great Bear Initiative to develop a proposed sustainable tourism implementation framework to secure benefits on the ground from these successful political negotiations. The Great Bear Initiative includes representatives of Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk Nation, Nuxalk Nation, Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation, Gitga’at First Nation, Haisla, Metlakatla First Nation, Old Massett Village Council, Skidegate Band Council, Council of the Haida Nation. The sustainable tourism implementation framework includes a community engagement process and an assessment of community willingness/ readiness to participate in the tourism economy, market demand for Coastal First Nations tourism experiences, extensive capacity building programs and business support for the launch of new aboriginal tourism ventures. Branding and marketing strategies for existing and new aboriginal cultural tourism experiences are also included in the framework.
“Suzanne has been an invaluable resource in the development of our proposed sustainable tourism implementation framework. We are looking forward to rolling out this framework together with her for the benefit of all Coastal First Nations in the Great Bear Initiative.”
Director of Land and Marine Stewardship
Coastal First Nations/Great Bear Initiative
Client: Resort Municipality of Whistler/Tourism Vancouver
Project: Tourism Representative in Land Use Negotiations - Sea to Sky Land Resource Management Plan (LRMP)
For four years (2003-2007), Suzanne sat as the tourism representative on the Sea to Sky Land Resource Management planning process leading interest based negotiations related to land use on behalf of tourism interests in the corridor. Areas of controversy requiring resolution included permitted industrial uses and their impact on tourism experiences being offered including impacts on global brand impression. As well, within the tourism industry itself, conflict between motorized and non-motorized users in both summer and winter required resolution and Suzanne participated in these intra-sector discussions. Suzanne’s leadership and partnership with other sector representatives supported the direction taken in the Squamish Nation Land Use Plan and served to enshrine tourism priorities in land use planning in the region.
“Suzanne played a pivotal role in securing protection of designated areas for backcountry tourism and preservation of the wilderness experience that is fundamental to the region’s global brand and marketing efforts. She is a relationship builder and expert negotiator.”
Resort Municipality of Whistler
The Bottom Line: Suzanne will deliver results and help you achieve your tourism objectives. Read what my clients have to say here.