Q & A with the Founder of Gibbons Life – Joey Gibbons
What inspired you to launch Gibbons Life?
At Gibbons Hospitality we are constantly booking trips for our friends and family from around the world and they’re looking for more than a hotel room. They want to be where the locals are, they want to be doing what the locals are doing, and they want to stay and party in places close to the action. Because we’ve been in town for 35-years and our businesses are so involved in the community, we feel that through Gibbons Life we can do a great job at connecting people to Whistler.
The most important part of Gibbons Life is that we’re taking the profits we make and doing awesome stuff within our community. We will put on art shows, sponsor ski and snowboard events, help local sports teams and much more. We want to showcase all of the local talent that we are so lucky to have here in town, and connect people with it whenever we can.
What makes Gibbons Life different to other booking companies?
I hope that we can bring more awesome people to our mountain town in a way that connects them to Whistler as if they were a local living here all season. What makes us different is that through Gibbons Life we become your in-resort concierge service. We have our finger on the local pulse and can personalize your travel experience by connecting you with what’s going on. If there’s a photo showdown, local ice hockey game, or live music, we make sure our guests are included and know what’s up.
Because Gibbons Hospitality owns five bars in town, we are well connected to the resorts nightlife options and will guarantee our guests the best night out possible. Gibbons Life will not just send business to Gibbons owned outlets; we will make sure our guests are going to the best party in town, which means that sometimes that’s at a friends bar or club.
When you say it gives 100% of what it makes back to the community, where do you see those funds going?
We believe that Whistler has an incredible soul and that shines through during some of the amazing events and activities that take place in this town. On a community level the softball league is a great example. Gibbons put up the first backstop in town and has been putting on tournaments for over 30 years. Hundreds of people come out to play and have fun – it just feels good to help cultivate this.
On a larger scale, events like the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Cornucopia, and the Film Festival really show the spectrum of talent that comes from, and to, Whistler. The events bring the locals out and create an incredible sense of community. This fuels the positive energy and soul of Whistler, which visitors then experience too. We want to make sure these events and community initiatives keep developing – that’s where the funds will go.
What three words would you use to describe Gibbons Life?
What’s your vision for Whistler?
Whistler is the BEST place on earth! The natural beauty, sports, art, activities, bars, restaurants, shops and events – all of these things depend on the innovative people behind them. It’s the characters of Whistler who make up its soul – this is key and needs to be protected. In my opinion, we need to keep finding ways to look after these people, to keep expanding their horizons and make this a place they never want to leave.
I sit on numerous boards and hear talks of how we need to be more Vail, more Aspen, more high-end, but I think we need to be more Whistler. I love that people come here and feel comfortable going to our fine-dining restaurants in jeans and a ski jacket. The beauty of Whistler is that it breaks down barriers – from celebrities to world travellers, billionaire businessmen to seasonal workers, they all have a common goal for coming here, and that’s to have fun.
What do you personally hope to get out of founding Gibbons Life?
I’ve been in Whistler since I was a little boy; I graduated high school in Pemberton before there was a high school in Whistler, my parents live here, and my wife and I are now watching our three kids grow up in the same mountains. I want Whistler to maintain its soul so that my family and the millions of visitors that come here each year connect with it, and have such an amazing experience it sticks with them forever.
Gibbons Life is a support mechanism for the community; a resource that showcases Whistler’s very best and then puts that stoke back into the community. Everyone that lives here will benefit from that. The more we pump into our community, the more we’ll all get out of it.
What do you think differentiates Whistler from other mountain towns?
I would say our village. People all over the world have tried to replicate our village but they have a tough time doing it. That’s because of all the different owners and passionate personalities behind the shops, bars and restaurants that line our village streets. Business owners in Whistler know that being a collective makes them strong, and that the more we support people within our community and make it a vibrant and exciting place the better we will all do – both financially and personally. Again, we’re all here because we love the mountains and what they represent to us and we’re proud to share that passion with the world.
For someone who’s never been to Whistler, what would your top three recommendations be?
For the ultimate day in Whistler, if you can get the following five things in, you’re having a good day.
- Activity in the morning, golf, biking, skiing, ziplining, or snowmobile
- Spa in the afternoon
- Patio action for apres
- An incredible dinner
- Party the night away at one of our dance bars
What’s Whistler’s best-kept secret?
It’s people! I have run businesses across the country and the people we get to build our teams with here in Whistler are incredible. Our entire Gibbons management team started in entry-level positions and worked their way up. This is what I am most proud of and I know other businesses in town understand this too.