Hello, I'm Tom Ockelton, one of the founders of Rocky Mountain Holidays Ltd., and I wanted to share some information about how Rocky Mountain Holidays® came about.
It started back in December 2001, when I moved from England, U.K. to Banff, Alberta, Canada, to work for a large U.K. tour operator. I had a one year "BUNAC" student visa which allowed me to work in Canada for one year only - no extensions and no exceptions.
Immediately, I fell in love with Banff, and the Canadian Rockies, so promoting the area came naturally from the start. I met guests from the U.K. at Calgary International Airport (YYC) and escorted them to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. On the coach journey from the airport, I would prepare the guests for their holiday and set them up to ensure their ski holiday flowed smoothly. The next day, I also provided a "welcome meeting", and I was always on hand for assistance, if required. The concierge service I provided included ski guiding guests around Banff Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise in Banff National Park. In my spare time, I never stopped exploring - I just couldn't get enough of the scenery.
After a successful first winter season, the company I worked for wanted me to stay on, and sponsored me as a manager to stay and work for successive seasons. After another winter season of representing Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, and exploring the surrounding areas, I then worked out of Whistler, B.C., which allowed me to get to know Canada's west coast extremely well. My guests would arrive into Vancouver International Airport (YVR). During these winter seasons, I assisted thousands of guests from the U.K..
As I was being sponsored to work out here on temporary work visas, I wanted my situation to become permanent. Canada needed to be my home, and I couldn't take the uncertainty anymore, so I applied for permanent residency in Canada. I found that larger U.K. tour operators did not always provide guests with the personalized service I would want myself, and often found guests were not maximizing their time here or receiving the service they deserved. Very often, the information they had been provided before arriving into Canada was not accurate, due to poor product knowledge on the U.K. agent's part. I learnt a lot over these three years and educated myself more by travelling extensively around Canada. When it came to guest experiences and service, I knew we could do much better.
I officially emigrated to Canada in 2005 as a "Tour Package Sales Manager" and Karen and I incorporated ROCKY-PEAK HOLIDAYS LTD. in Banff that same year to continue my passion, but with the goal to offer the best service out there. We later renamed our federal corporation to ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOLIDAYS LTD. Canada is now where I call "home" and my family and I are proud Canadian citizens.
My wife, Karen, has put in so much time and energy from the start to allow me to pursue my passion of showing off Canada to the world and the success of our business would not have been possible without her positivity and support throughout. In the early days, I became an accredited guide in Banff, and guided for a local tour company in Banff and Jasper National Parks. I took guests on guided hikes, as well as on "wildlife safaris" by bus. On this guided bus tour, we saw black bears, grizzly bears, big horn sheep, mountain goats, moose, caribou, elk and deer to name a few, and not all at once of course as there is a bit of luck involved! On a few occasions we saw some elusive wolves too. Every tour was different, as you never knew what you might see travelling through the wilderness. This work gave me a greater understanding of on the ground operations, as well as allowed me to look at tour itineraries with a critical eye, with realistic timings in mind, as I was creating and executing my own itineraries for guests.
Since our inception, we were fortunate enough to begin our unique relationship with Rocky Mountaineer, and it quickly became apparent that we had found the most ideal way for our guests to explore Western Canada. Everything else out there paled in comparison to the service they provided, and this still holds true today. Our website, RockyMountainHolidays.com, is dedicated to promoting luxury rail travel with Rocky Mountaineer as well as other vacation experiences. Our business has grown rapidly over the years with our high level of customer service maintained - our attention to detail is second to none.
Rocky Mountain Holidays is associated across the globe with luxury rail vacation packages through the Canadian Rockies in Western Canada, as well as in the United States. In 2011, we relocated our head office to beautiful British Columbia (BC) to allow our company to work more closely with our travel partners, including Rocky Mountaineer. B.C. is currently only one of three provinces in Canada which regulate travel companies (Quebec and Ontario being the other two), so it was important to us that our guests had this peace-of-mind when booking through us.
Since our move to Kelowna, B.C. in 2011, our company has grown significantly, and in April 2018 we received a prestigious award from Rocky Mountaineer "in recognition of sales excellence". We received the same award again the following year. After receiving these awards, we have broken more records with our year-over-year growth, and continue to focus on ensuring our guests are getting the absolute most out of their time here. It is not just about the initial sale, we offer personalized service, before, during and after your travels and we are transparent with our pricing. With the complex packages we offer, it makes sense to book with a locally based Canadian company who know the packages better than any agent. This is what we do, and we do it well.
Our buying power, and booking channels available to us, means that you never pay more than booking direct with any suppliers or through a travel agent. We have also been known to make the impossible happen when hotels and rail seats are sold out, due to our long-term travel partner relationships and background knowledge. In conjunction with our competitive rates, we offer exclusive deals and RMH early-bird booking offers which can't be found anywhere else. Our unique partnerships with our suppliers, and Rocky Mountaineer, creates an enhanced service and these layers of service ensure you will never be alone, and you will always have your questions or concerns answered in a timely manner. We have assisted many thousands of guests over the years with their trips of a lifetime through the magnificent Canadian Rockies, and across Canada. We don't keep an exact count of the number of guests we have assisted over the years because to us, our guests are more than just a number.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Rocky Mountain Holidays, and we look forward to hearing from you and helping you more with luxurious experiences you will never forget.
Rocky Mountain Holidays®
Rocky Mountain Holidays Ltd.
PO Box 25205
Mission Park RPO
Kelowna, BC V1W 3Y7
Phone: +1 604-670-6060
North America (toll free): 1 888-747-6259
U.K. (free phone): 0800-567-7542