Summer Vail Valley business winding down, but solid
EAGLE COUNTY — It’s hard to believe, but the Vail Valley summer season is starting to wind down, mainly due to forces beyond our control — schools starting classes in early August. But the summer so far has been a busy one.
Local businesses report solid to very good results for the season, and there seem to be plenty of people coming to the Vail Valley, even into the last weeks of kids’ summer breaks.
“We’re starting to see some families making last-minute, before-school trips,” Beaver Creek Market owner Donna Whalen said.
Business at the market has been “decent,” if not spectacular, so far this summer, Whalen said, adding that this summer’s business is about even with last year.
Elsewhere in Beaver Creek Village, Scott Gubrud, the sales and marketing manager at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, said that hotel’s bookings showed increases compared with 2012 in both June and July, with July bookings up nearly 20 percent over the previous year.
“We still have some work to do in August,” Gubrud said.
Still, given summer booking patterns — people often book a weekend stay on a Wednesday or Thursday — Gubrud expected rooms to fill in nicely.
“We’ve picked up 300 nights just in the last few days,” he said.
Gubrud said bookings are up this year, but weddings are “different” than they’ve been in the past year or two.
“Demand seems down from last year, but last year was really big,” Gubrud said, adding that there’s more diversity in the size of wedding parties, too, with a blend of small and large groups.
Elite Limousine caters to a few wedding parties, but mostly caters to other individuals and groups. Owner Mechelle Cappel said her company’s been somewhat busier this summer than in 2012. Again, last-minute business seems to account for a lot of bookings, Cappel said.
“For our business, we haven’t stopped since June 25,” Cappel said. “I hear from some people they’re slower this year, but I don’t see it. My guests say it’s busier than it was last year.”
Parking and bus ridership numbers are also hovering at, if a bit above, last summer. Mike Rose, who manages Vail’s parking structures and bus system, said the numbers he’s seen so far this season seem roughly in line with those recorded last year.
Friday, Rose said the parking lots at Ford Park were full thanks to a three-on-three soccer tournament, and the Vail Village parking structure was full for at least part of the day.
“I think we’re finding a balance between where’s capacity and when do (crowds) start diminishing the experience,” Rose said.
A couple of Vail business owners are also reporting decent-to-busy summers. Ron Riley, who owns Russell’s and Los Amigos restaurants in Vail Village, said his business was down slightly this summer over 2012.
While Riley said the numbers this summer “aren’t horrible,” he added that “you’re always concerned” with a year-over-year dip.
Also in Vail Village, Sweet Basil restaurant is having a successful season.
Matt Morgan, one of the restaurant’s owners, said that restaurant has had a “very good” summer so far, with diner numbers about equivalent to the summer of 2012. The group that owns Sweet Basil also owns Mountain Standard, a relatively new restaurant in Vail, and Zino in Edwards. Morgan said all three restaurants have been performing well.
This is Mountain Standard’s first summer, but Morgan said that restaurant is viewed as a success so far. And Zino has done “terrific” business this season, Morgan said.
There seem to be plenty of people enjoying the restaurants and decks in Beaver Creek, too. Gubrud said when he wanders the village, he sees plenty of people out and about.
“Our patio was packed (Friday), the Golden Eagle has been busy, and there are people in the (Beaver Creek) Chophouse,” he said. “It’s been a good summer.”
Now if school would just start a week or two later …
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.