Vail Daily letter: World-class culture in Vail |

Vail Daily letter: World-class culture in Vail

Mia Vlaar
Vail, CO, Colorado

This summer has been an amazing one for events and the Vail Jazz Party is ready to blow out Labor Day this weekend. The 15th annual Labor Day Weekend Party has a remarkable schedule of events starting on Thursday that includes five days and nights of some of the world’s greatest jazz performances.

As the executive director of the Vail Jazz Foundation, I am particularly proud of what we’ve accomplished this summer: from Jazz at the Farmer’s Market every Sunday to our performances at Vail Square to our educational activities. We accomplished our mission of both entertaining and educating our guests.

The Jazz Festival is not the only success of the summer, either. Both Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Vail International Dance Festival saw increased attendance at this summer’s festivals: Bravo! saw an 8 percent increase in attendance (35,000 to 38,000 guests), and dance festival saw a 20 percent increase in attendance (12,000 to 15,000 participants).

Vail is truly a destination for cultural activities and enrichment in the summertime. Through the efforts of the tremendous work by countless organizations and the town as whole, we’ve established Vail as a world-class hub of cultural events and experiences. We are not done yet.

Through my position as a member as of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council, a nine-member council appointed by the Vail Town Council, sitting as the Vail Local Marketing District, I’ve had the opportunity to see how crucial it is for Vail to move forward, especially in these tough economic times. We’ve gathered a wealth of research and industry knowledge to help us plan for the future.

We have learned that while the “decade of luxury” is coming to an end, the “decade of wellness” is being ushered in on the higher end of the demographic spectrum.

Fortunately, the analysis found that this audience is increasingly defining their wellness by a greater commitment to their pursuit of active recreation outdoors. One of the realizations of the marketing district is that we have the innate talent, infrastructure and lifestyle to adapt to and position ourselves from a marketing perspective-in light of this fundamental shift in the marketplace.

The fundamental goal of the marketing district is to drive non-ski season business to our Vail lodges, restaurants and businesses. Vail could well be America’s mecca for the confluence of wellness and active outdoor recreation.

So we’re exploring the potential for partnerships with other leading organizations that can not only help expand Vail’s reach and offerings, but also contribute to the economic wellness of the community by driving lodging revenues and contributing to businesses as a whole. We will capitalize on the elements that already exist in Vail that contribute to our focus on the intersection of wellness and active outdoor recreation, and further develop assets that are already in place.

The Vail Local Marketing District is staying vigilant and focused in planning for the upcoming year. We extended (from winter) and implemented a targeted Front Range promotion with “Vail All the Love.”

Overall occupancy in Vail for the summer is higher than our competitive average — anywhere from 7 to 9 percent higher. While the numbers are still being tabulated, there is no doubt that the marketing efforts of the marketing district and town as a whole contributed to this success. It is imperative that we continue to hold and grow market share. Strategic collaboration in the business community creates success for many.

We remain in lockstep with both the Vail Commission on Special Events and the marketing district. We know that it is equally important to both produce and market the special events which attract so many people to Vail.

The marketing district believes in the strategic implementation of a national PR and media campaign positioning Vail as a leading summer destination. We continue to see success in this area, not only in traditional avenues such as magazines, newspapers and television, but also in new online and social media arenas.

It is during these uncertain economic times that we are given the opportunity to be bold and strategic, giving more people a reason for Vail to be the resort of preference for active vacationers. I’m excited not only for what we’ve accomplished, but also for the path that we’ve set out upon.

Have a great holiday weekend. I hope to see you at the Vail Jazz Party.

Mia Vlaar

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