Vail Daily letter: Variety is key
Vail, CO Colorado
Fall has officially arrived, and, looking back on this summer in Vail, one could say it has been truly note-worthy, especially in these econom-ic circumstances. Nearly every week-end since early June, Vail has hosted an event or activity. These events, whether considered cultural such as Bravo! or recreational such as the Vail Lacrosse Shootout, have com-plemented one another, offering our visitors and residents an array of options to enjoy throughout the summer, day and night.
As a member of the Vail Local Mar-keting District Advisory Council, a nine- member Vail Town Council-appointed board with a focus on Vail’s summer marketing, I have seen firsthand the importance of market-ing Vail, no matter the economic cir-cumstances. This summer in partic-ular, the advisory council has worked with Vail’s leaders to ensure Vail stands out among its competition as a first choice for vacationers. In addi-tion, as marketing director for the Vail Recreation District; operator of the Vail Golf Club, Dobson Ice Arena, Vail Nature Center, Vail Gymnastics Center, Vail’s Imagination Station, Vail Nordic Center, youth and adult sports leagues and camps; and a youth activity provider for year-round day camps and events, I can say the VRD has experienced a tremendous summer as a direct result of these marketing efforts.
From June through mid-Septem-ber, Ford Park and the Vail Athletic Fields were utilized nearly every day, whether as a host site for Vail’s iconic sports events such as the Kick It! 3v3 Soccer Tournament or offer-ing adult leagues and youth sports camps in a variety of disciplines. Year- to- date, rounds at the Vail Golf Club are similar to 2008, with more than 21,703 rounds played and more than a month remaining. The VRD’s youth day camps, such as Camp Vail, Camp Eco Fun and Pre-Kamp Vail, also were busy as hun-dreds children enjoyed a fun learn-ing environment to spend their day in Vail while parents worked or played themselves. These are just a few highlights from the VRD’s pro-grams and facilities that benefited from the efforts of Vail’s summer marketing program.
Understanding the need for increased cooperation during these challenging economic times, the VRD joined efforts with the VLM-DAC and the Commission on Special Events to assist in bringing more vis-itors to Vail through a broadened emphasis on participatory sports. Participatory sports events, such as the Kick It! 3v3 Soccer Tournament, King of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament, Vail Lacrosse Shootout and Vail Invitational Soccer Tourna-ment, many of which are partially funded by the CSE, generate sub-stantial revenue for Vail.
A study of the Kick It! 3v3 Soccer Tournament in 2008, which brings approximately 1,600 participants to the Vail Valley, reported that teams stayed an average of two nights and three days and spent nearly $ 300 per day during the event. The study also reported the tournament generated approximately $ 1 million in retail revenue for the town of Vail and an estimated $ 42,000 in sales tax rev-enue for the town. Additionally, approximately 10,000 participants came to Vail this summer for the pre-viously mentioned participatory sports events and lodged, dined, shopped and relaxed in Vail. With these 10,000 participants, many brought family members who also enjoyed all Vail has to offer. These results showcase the benefits of holding tournaments in Vail, utiliz-ing VRD playing fields and other facilities and capitalizing on the variety of lodging, shopping and dining establishments available to participants.
To encourage new sports events to consider Vail, representatives from the VRD and the Vail Valley Partner-ship, on behalf of the VLMDAC, are attending commissions and tradeshows together. This collabora-tion helps showcase Vail as an ideal location to host sporting events as well as letting sports- event planners know that in addition to being a world- class ski resort, Vail is also a world- class sports venue. This focus also includes utilizing existing infra-structure in Vail, including its fields and facilities such as Dobson Ice Arena and the athletic fields, Ford Amphitheater, Vail Mountain and the variety of lodging, dining, shop-ping available in Vail.
As a result, the effort will allow Vail to diversify its group business so that it’s not dependent on any one segment while having the potential to expand Vail’s family market- share. Additionally, such events will be targeted to fill off-peak times, such as late spring, fall or midweek, when group business is typically lower.
As an example, in 2008, the VRD hosted the Colorado E. A. G. L. E. S State Gymnastics Championships at Dobson Ice Arena, which brought more than 600 participants to Vail during an off-peak weekend in June. With these 600 participants, it is esti-mated that more than 1,400 specta-tors watched the competition, many of whom turned the competition into a short-stay vacation.
Recent results shared with the VLMDAC and community also show a major shift in consumer spending and travel habits, including an increase in outdoor fitness participa-tion, trending toward healthier eat-ing, broadening vacation experi-ences that circle around health and wellness and continued spending by families that are participating in recreation activities. As the VLMD and VRD move forward on this par-ticipatory- sports collaboration, we will focus on what works best for Vail and which groups make the most sense for generating revenue for the town and enjoying the incredible facilities we offer. The VRD will con-tinue to balance these efforts and meet the demands of its residents and guests by offering some of the Vail Valley’s best adult and youth leagues and sports camps for its res-idents while working with the busi-ness community to attract and retain visitors to Vail.
It is important that Vail remain multifaceted and offer activities and events that complement one anoth-er. Together, we have an opportunity to continue to promote and market Vail as a destination to the participa-tory- sports market.
On behalf of the Vail Local Market-ing District Advisory Council and Vail Recreation District,
– Jamie Wilson, Gunion