Convention-style groups bring economic infusion |

Convention-style groups bring economic infusion

Don Rogers

Somehow, the town still manages to host large groups each year.

The Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau in its current and past forms has coordinated or otherwise helped set these guest experiences up.

In the past week or so, for instance, nearly 3,000 employees and guests of Automatic Data Processing have infused the Vail Valley economy as well as enjoyed the best resort town in America in summer splendor. Yes, we’re a mite biased here.

The bureau claims the ADP group will take up more than 7,000 room nights at eight lodges in the area – not just in Vail, either. With that always optimistic formulation of dollar generation, the bureau sees an estimated $5 million in spending while the group is here. We’ll frown in mild skepticism, but only mild. In a soft year like this one, this is great however you want to calculate the dollar ripples.

The Tourism Bureau has also tapped into this week’s American Society of Association Exec-utives shindig in Denver – a contingent nearly 6,000 strong, including plenty of meeting planners. The bureau manned a booth at the Denver Convention Center and arranged visits to Vail in hopes of gleaning more group conferences.

More meeting planners are inbound next week. The planners represent such companies as J.P. Morgan, Adidas and Continental Airlines, according to the bureau.

Some folks lacking in the aloha spirit, in addition to being blissfully free of the burdens of scratching a living here from tourism, may not look on all this with much enthusiasm. But nonetheless, this is lifeblood.

It also suggests strongly that a true conference center, in the right place, would be a success.

Price is right

Vail Resorts is holding the line on its Buddy and Colorado passes for a third year, continuing the price war, at least somewhat to the consumers’ advantage. Such is the face of competition, which manifestly endures in Colorado.

The discounted lift tickets for Front Rangers have created some new challenges for Vail and Beaver Creek merchants and municipalities, to be sure, with a corresponding though unrelated dip in “destination” skiers from out of state.

The dip in the plummest visitors will likely continue, though of course that isn’t certain. A miracle is always possible. But the businesses besides VR will have to figure out how to adjust to the change. Merely crying foul because the ski company has managed to prosper in difficult times isn’t going to cut it.

Business is a tough endeavor, with lots of turnover and the inevitable unfairness in having to serve a bottom line. D.R.

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