Lodging packages lure summer visitors
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – We know what sells the Vail Valley in the winter – snow and lots of it. Summer’s a little trickier. That’s why local lodges seem to have different summer lodging packages the way airlines have different fares to Houston.Even while snow was falling in May, lodges were loading their websites with packages and sending blast emails touting deals for the warm-weather months.A lot of the deals are simple. A room in the Vail Valley is almost always much less expensive than the same room during winter’s high periods. For instance, rooms at the Four Seasons in Vail start at about $199 per night, compared with $600 or more during ski season. Rooms elsewhere in the valley cost half or less than the winter rates in summer.Aside from the lower standard rates are special rates for members of hotels’ loyalty-card clubs. People in the Hyatt loyalty club can get rooms in Beaver Creek for about $100 per night this month. The Vail Cascade is owned by a much smaller company – Destination Hotels – but even that group has a loyalty program.Loyalty clubs are marketing tools, of course, and members often receive emails about specials and events. But Amy Hudgins, director of revenue management at the Cascade, said that lodge has an even bigger pool of potential summer guests – Front Range residents. Hudgins said between 70 percent and 80 percent of the Cascade’s summer business comes from the Front Range.The entire valley depends on the Front Range in the summer, of course, but the Cascade has specific programs for Colorado residents. Besides room discounts, the Cascade is offering spa discounts, and during June, kids eat free at the resort’s restaurant when adults dine, too.At the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Marketing Manager Scott Gubrud said the hotel is offering summer guests hotel credits, good for everything from spa treatments to room service to restaurant meals. With a long enough stay, that hotel credit can hit $500.Rock Resorts – a subsidiary of Vail Resorts – is taking a slightly different approach with its Vail hotels. “We’re getting really creative this summer,” said Marcella Bettis, the regional marketing director for Vail Resorts’ mountain properties. At the Lodge at Vail and Austria Haus lodges in Vail Village, the company has put together packages built around the Vail Farmers’ Market and events at Solaris. Some summer packages at the Arrabelle at Vail Square are built around golf, and one Ritz-Carlton Residences package encourages guests to bring friends by offering free upgrades to two- or three-bedroom condos.The Vail Resorts plan also lets guest put together custom packages, Bettis said. “There’s really more to do in the Vail Valley in the summer,” Bettis said. “We’ve got something for families, couples, retired people – just about anyone.”While summer pitches tout activities and value, the Four Seasons is also pitching luxury. The hotel recently unveiled a package that offers free use of a Mercedes SUV to people who book one of three luxury suites. But Dana Berry, of the hotel’s marketing department, said those SUVs are available to all guests on a first-come, first-served basis. People who book the suites move to the front of the line.What just about all of the local lodges want, though, is to get people to stay a little longer. That’s why most lodges have deals to book a few nights and get a night or two free.”Our average stay is just two nights,” Hudgins said. “We’re trying to get people to extend that a little.”Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or email@example.com.
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