Past skiers, Internet integral to Vail marketing plan
EAGLE COUNTY Chris Romer has worked in the Vail Valley for about 12 years. Hes never seen anything like the marketing campaign thats been created in the last few weeks.Its been an amazing display of unity and teamwork, Romer said.The marketing campaign aimed at luring skiers to Vail during a nationwide economic slump was first proposed just a few weeks ago at a community meeting in Vail. A group of Vail residents including former Vail Town Council member Kent Logan, a retired investment banker, urged the town to find money to somehow increase marketing for the coming ski season.Since then, officials from the town of Vail, Vail Resorts, the Vail Local Marketing District and other groups have found a budget about $500,000 and huddled to create a plan.Parts of that plan were unveiled at a community meeting Friday at the Vail Marriott. Bits of the plan remain hush-hush, lest other resort communities pilfer them. Other parts are still being hammered out. Even as people work, the first part of the plan is set to roll out Monday. A promotion aimed mostly at destination tourists buy two days of lodging and skiing and get the third day free will be pointed directly at Front Range skiers.Other parts of the plan that will use e-mail, the Internet and traditional print and broadcast ads will target current and former buyers of Vail ski passes on the Front Range. Others will target East Coast skiers.Some of the offers will be good between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some parts will be valid throughout the season.I think its a step in the right direction, Vail Chamber & Business Association Director Michael Norton said. Im really excited that the town of Vail and Vail Resorts have worked together on this.Besides the official response, the valleys business organizations are asking their members to help put together whatever kinds of value packages they can for visitors.This is a huge attempt to get (Front Range skiers) to come back to Vail, Vail Valley Partnership CEO Michael Kurz said. Colorado Footwear owner Steve Rosenthal said hes excited about the plans he heard about at the meeting.I think its a really good, proactive plan, Rosenthal said. And once they get people here, well try to get them to come to the stores.Part of that effort will be unveiled soon on the Vail.com Web site. A new section of that site will be available for businesses to post information for customers.Romer said that section of Vail.com will be a kind of community page for people to take advantage of the Vail brand.When people come here, they dont care much that theyre coming on Colorado Mountain Express, or staying at a particular lodge or eating at Montauk, Romer said. All they really know about is that its Vail.The new section of Vail.com is a chance for the community to show itself off, Romer said.Everything is really competitive right now, Romer said. Its all a market share game.Were trying to drive incremental growth in overnight business and were trying to do something a little different. No one else is doing this right now.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or firstname.lastname@example.org.