VAIL - The town of Vail is on pace for a record summer in 2012 in terms of sales tax revenues - proof that town marketing efforts and a slowly recovering economy are paying off.
The town of Vail's 2012 sales tax collections through September, the most up-to-date data available, is at $15,564,103, a 3.8 percent increase in overall sales tax collections during the same time period in 2011.
"The previous best summer was 2008, and we're running about 3.7 percent higher," said town of Vail Finance Director Judy Camp. "I think it's big enough to be recognizable when inflation is running at small numbers right now. I wouldn't say we've completely recovered after the 2008 economic issues, but it shows that what we're doing is working."
A summer intercept study completed by the Vail Resorts market research team on behalf of the Vail Local Marketing District this past summer provides insight into who is coming to Vail in the summertime and what they're interested in doing while here. The survey interviewed folks between May 25 and Sept. 3, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. The study gathered 1,264 surveys in Vail Village and Lionshead randomly, in order to obtain a diverse sample, the study reports.
A net promoter score measures how likely people are to recommend a product to a friend or colleague. A score of 75 is considered to represent world-class loyalty, according to the summer study, and in the summer of 2012, Vail's score was an 82. That's up 20 points from the summer of 2007 and up 10 points from the summer of 2010, the last two years the study was completed.
Guests felt more satisfied about the value for their money in Vail this past summer than in summers past, according to the study. Most people came to Vail on their summer trips to enjoy the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and for rest and relaxation. And while many said they came to participate in outdoor activities - hiking remains the most popular summer activity in Vail - activities that do not include a high level of physical exertion are most popular in general.
The study also showed signs of a recovering economy. About 17 percent more people flew into Colorado this past summer instead of driving, and about 8 percent more people stayed in paid lodging while in town. The percentage of out-of-state visitors has increased since 2010, but it's still down from the summer of 2007. International visitation was also higher in 2007, at 6 percent, while just 3 percent of those surveyed this past summer were international visitors.
"I think there's some evidence of recovery, and I also think the efforts we've put into marketing are showing their worth," Camp said.
A lot of those efforts have centered around special events in Vail. The town and its Commission on Special Events have heavily supported events to ensure the summer calendar is always full. This year, the commission is taking a more active role in its funding of events by trying to be a marketing partner, as well as a funding sponsor.
The move is smart considering more than 80 percent of the respondents in the summer survey said it's important for Vail to offer special events throughout the summer.
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.