Vail marketing is working |

Vail marketing is working

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it – that’s the mindset of the group of Vail leaders in charge of the Vail summer marketing message.

The Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council is the group that works on that marketing message and advises the Vail Local Marketing District, which consists of the same members as the Vail Town Council, on how to spend its $2 million or so annual budget. The group will present its 2012 budget to the town in mid-October for approval.

The group’s mission is to market and promote Vail to attract overnight destinations guests during the offseason months of May through October. Its budget comes from a 1.4 percent lodging tax, which is estimated to be about $2 million in 2012.

The 2012 budget proposal is $2,166,225.

The reason the Advisory Council is requesting about $166,000 more for 2012 is because of its goal to attract more overnight destination guests through more outreach and programs in 2012, according to the Advisory Council.

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The destination portion of the budget, for example, increased by 16 percent to $515,000 for a larger international marketing effort. Decreases in the budget include professional fees, the public relations budget and the website budget. Other increases include research, branding and the groups and meetings budgets. A $100,000 increase in 2011 for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge also remains in the budget for 2012.

Based on changes made a couple of years ago about how to market and promote Vail, the marketing strategy is working, Vail Mountain Marketing Director Adam Sutner told the Vail Local Marketing District Tuesday. Sutner is also a member of the Advisory Council.

“Stay the course, we know it’s working,” Sutner said.

That course has included a restructuring of Vail’s brand into a year-round brand, rather than a separate summer and winter marketing message. There’s been an increase in the digital marketing message with more interaction through social sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as a Spanish language site,, targeting the upscale Mexican market, among other initiatives.

The marketing platform centered around events has also been working. The town of Vail reported record sales tax collections for the month of July this year, a month filled with events, and expects high numbers for the month of August, said John Dawsey, an Advisory Council member.

Another boost is that Vail has a newness about it, and Sutner said that new feeling will continue into 2012.

There will be new events such as the Teva Winter Mountain Games, the launch of Vail’s 50th anniversary marketing message, new retail shops at Solaris, a new Mid-Vail restaurant, as well as a new Lionshead welcome and transit center.

The newness, combined with the strength of the brand, which Sutner calls Vail’s best asset, give Vail that special something that the Advisory Council believes other resorts lack.

“I think confident brands send out a signal that’s attractive to consumers, there’s no question,” Sutner said.

The 2012 marketing message will also continue to be value-driven, meaning Vail will never be put “on sale,” but the goal is to offer the right consumers the right message, at the right time, he said.

Sutner calls the marketing formula “focused.”

“All the gains we made this past year, winter and summer, we’re not giving any of them back,” he said.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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