Is Vail All the Love having an impact?
Vail, CO, Colorado
Backers of a plan to bring more business to Vail say the program is working, but business owners are reporting small to modest results.
A group of Vail residents last fall urged the town and local businesses to do extra marketing for the current ski season. After the town of Vail kicked in $550,000 and Vail Resorts put its marketing muscle behind the program, the Vail All the Love program was born.
The program, which has combined a Web site with mostly Front Range-directed advertising, was put together in a matter of weeks, but includes dozens of Vail lodges and businesses. Those businesses ” which advertise their participation with a sign in the front window ” will accept a white plastic card for discounts.
“It’s really pushing the needle,” said Chris Romer, sales and marketing director for the Vail Valley Partnership. “Vail’s doing much better than the industry as a whole.”
At the Manor Vail Lodge, general manager Bob McCleary said Vail All the Love has had an effect on bookings at the newly-remodeled condo complex.
“We’re getting some,” McCleary said. “And in this environment, anything else is good to have.”
McCleary said the bookings Manor Vail has seen have been from last-minute skiers responding to good snow.
“That’s what it was meant to do,” he said.
At the Sitzmark Lodge in the heart of Vail Village, general manager Jeanne Fritch said that hotel has seen some last-minute bookings, but said it’s been hard to tell whether those reservations came from Vail All the Love or the VailOnSale.com database, which are the same thing.
Again, though, Fritch said any new business is welcome.
At Buzz’s Boards in Vail Village, manager Neil Conroy said he’s only seen a few cardholders. Those he has seen, though, seem pretty happy to get a 10 percent discount.
“Most people are stoked about rentals,” Conroy said.
Of the business owners and managers interviewed for this story, only Arriesgado Clothing Company owner Cabal Yarne said he hasn’t seen any of the discount cards in his store yet.
West Vail Liquor Mart, co-owner Laurie Mullen said she and her employees have only seen a few cards ” which give customers a discount on purchases of $40 or more.
“But every promotion that brings people in is good,” Mullen said.
Mullen, who’s also a member of the Vail Local Marketing District board of directors, said perhaps the bigger news about Vail All the Love is how it came together and the number of area businesses that are participating.
“I think it took courage and wisdom for the town of Vail to find the money to do this,” Mullen said. “It was risky, but that’s what differentiates the average from the good leaders. You have to stick your neck out sometimes.”
Mullen said as opposed to promotions that just advertise discount lodging, Vail All the Love has pulled together a spectrum of the business community.
“That really makes a statement,” Mullen said. “It’s something I hope we can continue.”
The active advertising for Vail All the Love will continue until the end of February, but Vail Economic Development Director Kelli McDonald said the Web site, and discounts, will remain active through the end of the ski season.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or firstname.lastname@example.org.