OurFernie markets Fernie and Fernie businesses to anyone wishing to visit us.
We intend to be inclusive. We don't just want businesses that can afford to advertise, we want everyone to participate. Advertising your business or event on OurFernie will always be free.
We want to expand Fernie's marketing reach. Having the most complete and relevant online content will surely help, but we also operate a telephone information service, as well as comprehensive vacation booking services.
We want people to know why Fernie is a such a great place to visit. We encourage anyone to submit their stories, photos, blogs, reviews and even rants. Everyone has a voice on OurFernie.
Oh yeah... we're a co-operative. This means that if you want to, you can become a member and have an equal say in what we do. People win, not $'s.
So, what's in it for us? Well, nothing if you don't own rental property!
For those lucky people that do own rental property, we can find people to stay in it, and will charge you a 10% commission whenever we do. Sound fair?
It all started in 2004 when the founder bought vacation property at Fernie Alpine Resort. He considered putting it into a rental pool, but, for better or worse, he decided to market it independently.
Business was slow. It was hard to get visibility. Where to advertise? Can he afford it?
A new web site. Business better, but still slow. Need more visibility. There are tourism portals, but they either don't concentrate on the local area, or they're expensive to advertise on, and hence have sparse content and don't draw enough visitors.
So, where do people look if they're planning a trip to Fernie?
Craig's Unofficial Fernie Alpine Resort Page! Craig has done an excellent job with his reports and his free listings. Business increases dramatically from the free advertising offered by Craig.
With all kudos to Craig, what if his idea was taken one step further and really focused on the needs of Fernie businesses?
With a background in e-commerce, thoughts of destination marketing and online booking soon overcame the founder, and he began to research commercial travel and hotel software. But as he soon found, nobody with decent software wants to sell to a startup with no clients - they want to deal with the big guys.
Ok, so what if the ski hill or another large organization began to offer the services he wanted? Well, they'd probably look after their own business interests first, the other large accommodators a close second, and then see how to make money from the independent operator. Shady dealings at Whistler confirm that this happens.
There has to be a better way! Doesn't anybody else see this? Couldn't you attract more people to Fernie if each business wasn't struggling on their own to be seen? And what about online booking? Surely with the rise of e-commerce, Fernie is missing out on a whole segment of people who prefer to book travel online?
So why is Fernie so slow on the uptake of e-commerce and destination marketing? It must be a sign to do something about it!
Little does he know, Fernie, (or at least an elite group of business leaders), was starting to do something about it. A consortium of the City, RCR, and the large accommodators was beginning to follow the path of Whistler and had formed the Fernie DMO (Destination Marketing Organization).
Unaware of the DMO, the founder made the decision to develop the software himself using popular open source technologies as a base. Six months of evenings and weekends, and then after convincing his employer to a allow a six month sabbatical, full-time development commences. Another software developer is hired, and the result is what you see now.
Flip forward to the next section to see what this can mean to you!
As with any succesful venture, development must be continuous. Are we finished? We've only just started. But we are ready for business, be it simple business listings or online booking - we're ready.
To summarize our progress, here's what's ready, what's not, and what's up our sleeves:
Early on we recognized that in order for OurFernie to be successful, and in turn, our own small business, we had to have the support of the community.
This is important because we need your participation. If the site doesn't have content, or its not kept updated, then people won't visit. But if everytime they look there's something new and interesting to see, then they'll keep returning. The hope is that this will encourage people to visit Fernie in-person more, and their pre-trip research will encourage them to spend more whilst they're here.
We feel that the best way to foster community participation is by doing so at our core. This means that we will not be a company owned by an individual or consortium of businesses - we plan to be owned by the community itself.
By establishing as a co-operative, we believe that we have the best chance of success. If you're not familiar with co-operatives, they adhere to the following principles:
This organizational structure should ensure that OurFernie puts the needs of the community first and can not act in the interests of the few.
I could speak some more about my philosophies and ideals, but now isn't the time. I'll have to wait to become a co-op member, and then only by democratic process will they become the philosphies and ideals of OurFernie.
Read on to find out how you can participate.
Co-operatives are founded on a common idea that people, no matter what economic class or educational level, know what's best for themselves. People can work together to meet their own needs.
That's great, but it only works if people participate. Maybe one of these benefits will appeal to you?
We've only just begun the process of organizing as a co-operative. As you'll soon see, this is the most important time to get involved.
We still have a bit of work to do before we register as a legal co-operative and can begin accepting members.
But that doesn't mean that you need to wait to get involved.
Briefly, here is a timeline of what we would like to achieve in the next few months:
OurFernie provides a number of services to local businesses, including:
OurFernie's online booking services are provided by the OpenResort reservation system. OpenResort was developed right here in Fernie by the people who live work and play here!
OpenResort is an open-source technology, which means that it is free for others to use and build upon, ensuring that it takes on the latest and greatest features.
For more information on listing your property for booking on OurFernie using the OpenResort booking engine please contact us.
For more information on OpenResort visit www.openresort.org
OurFernie.com is maintained by a group of volunteers. Anyone can contribute content to OurFernie but Site Maintainers have additional responsibilities such as managing content on the front page, removing duplicated content, re-formatting pages and cleaning up spam. If you would like to help maintain OurFernie.com, please contact us.
This page lists some guidelines for Site Maintainers on OurFernie.com.
Featured story. The featured story is the top story in the "Community News" section that includes an image.
Before setting a new featured story, edit the current one and set it to something else ("Main story" or "In the News"). On the new featured story, make sure that there is an image associated with the story. The image will be resized but it works best if the image is close to being square or is more flat than tall. Set the new story to be the "Featured story".
Main story. There are up to two main stories at any one time. If there are already two main stories, set one to "In the News" to make room for the new one.
Also in the News
We keep the latest 25 stories that have "In the News" selected in this section.
When possible, unpublish content instead of deleting it. Some content, such as comments and forum posts, can only be deleted.
Since deleting a comment or forum post will also delete all replies, sometimes it may be more appropriate to remove the content and leave a blank or partial post. In this case leave an "Editor's note" explanation in it's place.
Valid reasons for unpublishing or deleting content include:
NOTE: If you edit, unpublish or delete a post other than spam, say you did so and why. Keep a copy of the original.
Deleting users is a very destructive action, as it makes all their content inaccessible in most places, even to administrators. It should not be done. If a user is a troublemaker, just block their account (click username -> edit -> status: blocked). Of course, you should not block people just because they express an unpopular opinion. Here are good reasons to block someone:
NOTE: The decision to block a regular contributor should be made by consensus.
If you see a post with bad formatting which messes up the page's layout, please edit it. A common mistake for new users is to use two opening tags rather than an opening/closing pair. Tags like bold and italic can 'bleed through' beyond the post, while unclosed block-level tags can mess up the positioning of the sidebar.
If someone made a serious mistake while posting a forum topic and posted a correction in a comment below, try to update the original post and delete the correction.
If you see duplicate posts in multiple forums. Choose the best forum and remove the remaining duplicates unless they have already been responded to. If they already have comments, make a polite note about duplicate posts referencing the other.