Keep the lights on to thrive in Vail’s ‘value season’ |

Keep the lights on to thrive in Vail’s ‘value season’

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO, Colorado

To paraphrase a line from the well-known Kevin Costner flick, If you build it, they will come. Perhaps if “Field of Dreams” were set in Vail instead of a small town in Iowa, the script would read, “If you open, they will come.”

If our guests knew they could shop, dine or visit the spa when they please, regardless of the time of year, we believe there’d be some takers, even during our “value seasons,” as former Vail Mayor Ludwig Kurz aptly named them.

Any marketer will tell you that consistency is key to brand presentation and awareness and building brand loyalty. If businesses in our resort communities truly believe in economic sustainability and the myriad benefits that brings, owners need to make a concerted decision to take the lead and initiate the movement toward a year-round economy.

It’s not an easy decision to make, and current work-force and housing issues facing our businesses do not make it any easier, but try viewing it in this light: Cranes and mud and leafless trees look a lot better from a well-set table inside a great restaurant. Visitors can forgive a cloudy day if they’ve just left a warm massage table, and a snow-patched hill doesn’t command quite as much attention when you’re stylin’ through the plaza in new finery from a great clothier.

A busy, busy April

Now is the time for all businesses to come together and re-energize their staffs as the first weekend in April kicks off the Vail Film Festival and the Taste of Vail. The Mountain Travel Symposium, bringing more than 1,200 people to Vail for seven days beginning April 6, follows on the heels of these in addition to Spring Back to Vail.

The symposium brings an influential audience composed of travel professionals, many of whom are making recommendation to their clients about where to go. Some actually book travel while they’re here.

The Vail Valley Partnership will be knocking on the doors of Vail businesses soon with fliers and posters to assure your staff understands the event, its purpose and the nature of those attending.

You can make a difference today to enhance the guest experience by making a choice to keep the lights on and keep your usual business hours. To those of you who already know about guests who prowl the streets in the early evenings, kudos.

To those of you who don’t, check with your neighbors and see how they fare during those hours. Every shop that joins the movement adds momentum to every other shops, restaurants and retailers’ success. Keeping your place open may even launch the critical mass we need to encourage everyone else.

The opportunity to be the “365” destination we’re striving for is here, but we need to embrace the spirit of it for our workers and our guests. Make the commitment, and when customers step over your threshold, delight them to the point where each of them becomes a passionate missionary for your brand.

Chicken or egg? I don’t know, but you know how to make this happen. Take the lead. Break tradition. Be there.

Michael Kurz is president and chief executive officer of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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