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April 23, 2013
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Vail Summer marketing broadens its reach

VAIL - For about as long as anyone can remember, Beth Slifer has been involved in trying to market Vail's summer charms, but this year's effort is different than any she's seen before.

"This is the most coordinated effort we've had," said Slifer, currently the president of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council, which administers a roughly $2.5 million summer marketing budget for the town of Vail.

The town's investment has paid off in recent years with record sales tax collections, Still, winter makes up roughly 70 percent of the town's sales tax revenue.

This year's marketing is, as usual, using both print and television advertising, much of it in the Denver area, to sell Vail to the state's biggest population center.

The print ads, which will mostly appear in The Denver Post, this year will stress Vail's current focus on becoming a center for "health and well-being" activities. The ads establishing the Vail "brand" reflect activities from yoga on a sunny field to cycling amid summer wildflowers to the passion of the Vail International Dance Festival with the simple message, "Balance found."

Other ads will tout specific events with the same straightforward message, albeit with details included.

Beyond the print ads, the district is also producing a series of TV ads and video promotional pieces. One of those video pieces will appear this summer right after in-flight safety instructions on all United Airlines flights.

That piece will be narrated by actress Susan Sarandon.

Those commercials and video pieces will be aimed squarely at what the Nielson research company calls "flourishing families," active families with kids, disposable income, and the desire to travel for new experiences.

"That's Vail's customer," marketing consultant Adam Sutner said.

Besides the print and TV ads, Sutner also detailed a new summer marketing push into Mexico, aimed at the affluent families who make up a small, but growing part of Vail's winter business.

Sutner told the council about a new Spanish-language website aimed at those families. That, he said, is a first for a mountain resort.

Besides a new design, Sutner said the site will be "complimentary, not duplicative" of Vail.com, the English-language website. And, Sutner said, the effort will have Spanish-language e-mail and booking capabilities.

Part of the marketing push will actually become its own event, Sutner said.

Most of the Denver broadcast TV ads will be shown on Channel 4 out of Denver, that city's CBS affiliate. Sutner said Channel 4 was chosen because of its strength in both local and national ratings.

The link wit the CBS station will also bring tryouts for a popular reality show to Vail.

"Survivor," long one of the most popular prime-time shows in this country, will hold a tryout this summer in Vail in mid-August. Some of that footage will end up on the Denver station, of course, and may well make it to the national broadcast.

"The value of that is incalculable," Sutner said.

Those efforts are why Slifer is excited for the season to come.

"I think we're set for a fabulous summer," she said.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Apr 23, 2013 09:08PM Published Apr 23, 2013 08:54PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.