Business group betting new Vail Gift Card program will spur retail spending in Vail | VailDaily.com
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Business group betting new Vail Gift Card program will spur retail spending in Vail

Cliff Thompson/Daily Staff Writer
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It’s launching the Vail Gift Card Feb. 9, piggybacking on what’s been a successful program across the Front Range and in shopping malls across the country.The cards function like a pre-paid phone card, but in Vail’s case, they’ll be good only within the geographic boundary of the town.”For years we’ve been looking for a program where we could do shopping sprees in the town of Vail or for our employee awards programs,” said the Chamber’s Kaye Ferry. “This allows us to physically keep money within the town of Vail. It’s very cutting edge.”The Chamber has inked a deal with Discovery card to use technology that allows cards to be used only within pre-designated areas. There is no maximum amount that can be loaded on the card, but there will be a $15 minimum, Ferry said.For many of Vail’s retail merchants, who over the last decade have seen flattening or declining sales caused by increasing downvalley competition, the new card is welcome.”It’s a great idea,” said Ghiqui Hoffman of the Laughing Monkey, a women’s clothing store on Bridge Street. “It can be used in so many ways. Parents can give one to kids, it can be used as rewards to employees or it can be purchased in advance of a trip here. It’s going to help us keep money in Vail.”Promotional material from a company promoting gift cards indicates they have several advantages over traditional gift certificates: unspent balances can be spent on future visits; cards can be quickly replenished; lost cards can be reissued; they provide easier accounting for merchants and they’re a built-in reminder encouraging spending because they’re already in someone’s wallet or purse.Ferry said her organization has been working on the program since early last fall.”I’ve always said Vail is a mall without a roof,” she said. “Where they have been used elsewhere, there has been a surge of (retail) activity.”Some of the beneficiaries of the new card will be the winner’s of Vail’s Premier Impressions, an employee recognition program. Last year Vail Resorts offered winners $25 in special scrip redeemable at company locations. This year, a tighter budget at the ski company caused that donation to dry up, Ferry said.The cards can be purchased on-line or at the Chamber office in the Vail Transportation Center.”This can really move business at non-peak times,” Ferry said. “In malls, the money was paid before Christmas and the card usage was after Christmas.”Ferry said the Chamber has already sold $7,000 in prepaid gift cards.Cliff Thompson can be contacted via e-mail at cthompson@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.————————AT A GLANCEFor more information on the Vail Gift Card, call the Vail Chamber & Business Association at 477-0075 or look online at http://www.vailchamber.org————————


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