Vail Daily letter: Marketing Vail |

Vail Daily letter: Marketing Vail

John Dawsey
Vail, CO, Colorado

Since 1999, the Vail Local Marketing District has been charged with increasing summer business and making Vail a destination for the summer months. Through the ups and downs, times of national turmoil and exuberance, we’ve stayed true to our charge and our brand and worked to make Vail the ultimate resort destination for the summer.

This past year has been challenging for the entire valley, but we’re pleased that Vail continues to attract more guests and revenue than our competition. In a time where everyone is tightening their belts, we’re able to look on the bright side as we continue to attract visitors and maintain our share of guests visitations.

As the treasurer of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council , I can say that we’re keeping a pragmatic eye fixed on the future and thinking of more efficient and creative ways to accomplish our goals for the summer of 2010. While we have a healthy cash reserve, we are cutting our operating budget by 15 percent for the next summer to reflect our projections for our lodging tax revenue for the rest of the summer. As a result, we are going to stay nimble in our strategies for bringing more visitors and, therefore, revenue to Vail in 2010.

We’ve seen some great successes so far this summer. The marketing district extended a new summer campaign, in concert with winter, “Like Nothing on Earth,” further aligning our brand to gain more market recognition.

We continued “Vail All The Love” from winter, creating an opportunity to react to the economic environment to drive short-term sales and capture Front Range visitors, the primary audience that we, the advisory council, expected to travel in today’s economy.

The resulting evidence supports that. We believe that focusing on the Front Range at this time was the right choice. Had we aimed it at the destination markets, it would not have been successful because few people were getting on airplanes for leisure or group travel to begin with, and we would not have had enough money to tackle more than one or two markets, at best.

Therefore, I believe our objectives were well founded and successful.

The reality is that everyone was down, especially those resorts that either didn’t have access to a close metropolitan audience or those that didn’t fight for that audience. It was the right approach and it’s what kept Vail ahead of other mountain resorts.

We also expanded our online presence, increasing the visits and page views to year over year. This increased online presence is what is going to keep us top of mind with visitors who are planning their mountain vacations.

With help from James Chung at Reach Advisors, we’ve put together a plan to make Vail the place for guests to pursue their recreational passions and made a detailed list our assets and identified strategic partnership opportunities.

The companies that we’ve identified are excited to work with Vail. Some are starting to see that collaboration between our brands can drive business for both parties, taking advantage of the growing trend of people spending not on luxury, but on their own wellness through the pursuit of their recreational passions that Vail is uniquely positioned to deliver.

There are some key insights that we’ve gathered this summer.

More people are coming to Vail, but they are being more conservative in their spending. Even though spending may be down, this is building the guest experience and guest loyalty, creating intent to return.

Overall, Vail is creating a commanding voice in the marketplace and a stealing a share of market with these efforts. We know that guests are seeking more value and Vail is addressing the “new normal” economic conditions, responding to what our guests are looking for and expecting.

Our objectives for Vail in the summertime for the 2010 season are simple: Drive incremental overnight bookings and maintain the revenue levels generated by 2009 sales tax. Increase market share by widening our reach while also maintaining loyal consumer base. Position Vail as a world-class year round brand. Allow for flexibility given new guest behaviors that we see and changing market conditions. Leverage any learning from the upcoming 09-10 winter season and apply and adapt it to our summer strategy.

But, most of all, ensure all communications and efforts consistently deliver on the brand promise, “Vail Like Nothing on Earth.”

The mission of the Vail Local Marketing District is to market and promote Vail to attract overnight visitors primarily during the May-October time frame, creating economic vitality by increasing both the visitor base and sales tax revenues.

We were one of the few mountain communities to embrace the idea of marketing a summer season. I believe that we’re on the right track to continue breaking new ground and setting the standard for resort communities nationwide.

John Dawsey

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