VAIL, Colorado - The town of Vail cracked the $20 million mark in sales tax collections for 2012, surpassing its previous single-year sales tax collection record set in 2008.
In 2008, the town collected $19,631,366. For 2012, the town has counted $20,015,650, and town Finance Director Judy Camp expects a little more to come in. The collections include the town's 4 percent sales tax, charged on everything from lodging to retail items to food and beverage. It does not include the 1.4 percent lodging tax imposed by the Vail Local Marketing District.
Camp said the roughly 2 percent hike in 2012 "indicates all the town's efforts in redevelopment, customer service, marketing and special events have helped to put us back to pre-recession levels."
That redevelopment continues as the town of Vail is currently in the process of or beginning the process of upgrading several town-owned properties, including the Vail Golf Course clubhouse, Ford Park, the entrance to the Lionshead parking structure, Timber Ridge and Sundial Plaza.
The summer months - June through September - also broke sales tax collection records in town. 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 during those months.
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 Vail scored 82 points in the summer of 2012. 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.
Vail Valley Partnership President and CEO Chris Romer points toward all of the efforts the town and the resort have put into increasing business, especially throughout the recession and during times that have traditionally been accepted as slow periods.
"Vail has done a great job being guest-centric, creating an integrated year-round brand, creating and supporting significant special events and focusing on guest service," Romer said. "In addition, group business has been increasing, which increases traditional need periods and helps create a strong base of business year-round."
The Partnership now oversees the EGE Air Alliance, a group made up of local governments and businesses that raises money to support bringing in new air service to the Eagle Airport. Romer has seen the need for that effort to not only continue but to increase, especially in the wake of continued declines in the number of available seats coming into the Eagle airport each year. Romer and the alliance are looking to bring in a daily nonstop Houston flight this summer. The group chose Houston because the city has dollar signs attached to it.
One of the largest second home-owner markets in the county is Texas - that, and Texas is a connecting city for many South and Central American cities that are also big summer feeder markets for Vail tourism such as Mexico City and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In the latest report on Vail economic indicators by the Mountain Travel Research Program, which studies mountain resort economics, the increases are nearly seen across the board. Summer lodging occupancies and average daily rates were up, as well as revenue per available room. Real estate indicators also show positive sales volume when compared to the summer of 2011 with a dramatic increase in transactions, up 67.7 percent, although lower average prices per square foot and per transaction.
Vail hosted 29 different special events in town during the summer months - almost all of which were at least partially funded by the town of Vail, Vail Local Marketing District or Vail Commission on Special Events - proving the town's efforts are aggressive and are proving fruitful.