Vail brand is alive in summer
May 5, 2011
VAIL, Colorado – Every good brand has a team of people behind the marketing of that brand, and Vail’s team has grown over the years into a dream team of sorts.Marketing a resort town like Vail might seem like an easy thing to do, but competition is fierce when an economic downturn means there are less people spending descretionary dollars. Vail’s summer marketing team, which includes Vail Mountain, the town of Vail’s Local Marketing District Advisory Council, the Vail Valley Partnership, the Vail Recreation District, and local business and community leaders, has created a brand that they say is unparalleled.The team has remained cautious about never putting Vail on sale, so to speak. While promotional packages are available for lodging and events, the idea is that the packages offer value, not screaming discounts. “We’re more value-oriented than price discounted,” said Kelli McDonald, the town of Vail’s economic development director. The message has been the same year-round, and the marketing team is spreading that message to as wide of an audience as they can.
Take a look at the summer events calendar in Vail and there’s something going on just about every weekend. The strategy to continuously host events in town during the summer months worked so well last summer that it’s continuing this summer with even more events. “And most events are growing, either in participation, the number of days or just sheer size,” McDonald said. Adam Sutner, Vail Mountain’s marketing director, said there’s an emotional connection people have with the idea of Vail. It’s edgy and adventurous, and it’s a “cosmopolitan experience that’s going to be participatory.””Vail is not a spectator brand. People come here to get emerged in it; to participate,” Sutner said. Whether its sitting in the front row at a Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival concert or mountain biking down a single track on Vail Mountain, there’s something to do in Vail and it doesn’t involve sitting on the sidelines. Sutner said he’d hate to be a competitor of Vail because there’s simply a lot of catching up to do.”The list now of year-round offerings is unrivaled – there’s no question,” Sutner said. “Elsewhere, you don’t get such a rich palette of choices.”Choices this summer include annual world class events like Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the Vail International Dance Festival and the Vail Jazz Festival, and new events like the Diva’s Half Marathon and Girls 5K and the Tour of Vail Cycling Race. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a statewide event, is also heading through Vail in August bringing with it professional cyclists and international media coverage. Vail newness also adds vitality. Brand-new shopping, dining and lodging options at Solaris, the Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton Residences prove to visitors that Vail isn’t asleep.”Consumers are attracted to self-confident brands,” Sutner said. “We’re vital, new and leaning forward, not resting on our laurels.”
Vail has learned from a successful winter that the economy is looking more positive than it has in a long time. Sure, record snowfall probably helped, but other clues about the way people are booking vacations and spending money are also positive.Vail.com is a way consumers can navigate just about everything going on in town during the summers, too. Jamie Gunion, marketing director for the Vail Recreation District and a Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council member, said the partnership between the town and the ski resort has created a seamless way to communicate the Vail message.She said everyone is sharing information so that when one entity is marketing an event, it can also mention the other events happening during that time. “We can say, ‘If you’re coming up for this, don’t miss this,'” Gunion said. “We’re explaining the world class destination as it is and what we have to offer.”Vail.com’s summer site launches today, and on it visitors can check out videos and summer offerings without missing a beat.Chris Romer, executive director of the Vail Valley Partnership, said group business this summer is already showing positive momentum. Room nights on the books are up over 20 percent from last year, he said. Sutner said there’s a proven confidence that the events are so powerfully attractive. All the events that went on during the winter gave people reasons to come to Vail, and the same is true for summer, he said. “We had such a great winter. There’s a sense of momentum in our favor,” Sutner said. “We have hard-earned confidence that we’re doing the right things versus last summer when we will still kind of scratching our heads a little about how we were going to fight through this economic environment.”Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.