It was a good week for a trade show in Vail |

It was a good week for a trade show in Vail

Scott N. MillerVail, CO, Colorado

VAIL Geoff Lubin had never been to Vail before. Hes coming back.Lubin works for ResortQuest in Aspen and Snowmass and, like many others, used last weeks Mountain Travel Symposium at the Cascade Resort & Spa to pitch his companys properties to people who book rooms for tour companies and travel agencies. I met a lot great people this week and a lot of groups interested in coming to Aspen, Lubin said. But Vails great. The towns cool, and the mountain was so fun.Pat Harvey of Charlotte, N.C., has been to Vail a few times since 1981. She came to the symposium looking for trips for the Charlotte Ski Bees ski club. Its been a wonderful week, she said. I cant believe the snow.Oh yeah, the snow. Vail was already having a remarkably good snow year, and just in time for a travel industry show that brought 1,200 people to town, the skies opened up again.If you wanted to showcase a mountain resort and snow, the only time youd want to switch that off was the night you had a big outdoor event planned, and thats what happened, said Ralf Garrison, one of the partners who organizes the Mountain Travel Symposium.The planned message for Vail was great, but the unplanned message may have been even better, Garrison said.Harvey said she spent the week at a room at the Vail Racquet Club in East Vail. Symposium organizers, along with Vails transportation department, had a shuttle bus set up to run between East Vail and the Cascade Resort. The same was true for those staying at the Marriott and other lodges.Overall, the vibe was a happy one, especially for those who were able to work a little skiing in with their networking.People from all over the skiing world were in Vail for the symposium. Elisabeth Ferre and Enrich Montoblio were in Vail from Andorra, a resort in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. This was an expensive trip, and whether they return to next years symposium in Keystone depends in large part on whether contacts made in Vail turn into room reservations next season.Those contacts can take some time to pan out.Talking about Vail, Garrison said translating last weeks symposium to booked rooms can take anywhere from one to three years. Youve planted a seed here and planted it as good as you could, he said. Keystone will get the same opportunity next year when it hosts the 2009 Mountain Travel Symposium. Vail had a story to tell about its reincarnation, Garrison said. Keystones story is different. People need to go away from Keystone next year thinking its a cool place.In the interim, the symposium will continue its online seminars, and Garrison and partner Michael Pierson will hold a fall version of the travel symposium.As marketing plans have evolved from yearly exercises to documents that adjust all year, many organizations that market winter do their main plans at the end of one season and then make adjustments in October. That was the idea behind starting a fall symposium.We dont know where it will be, Garrison said. It will be totally driven by the market and what people tell us they want.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930 or

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