Vail offered as a convention getaway |

Vail offered as a convention getaway

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” The Society of Leisure Enthusiasts isn’t calling its late-August deal on mountain rentals the “Get Outta Denver Package,” but that’s sort of what it is.

The new company, which calls itself “The Society,” is a new, Web-based business that deals exclusively in luxury vacation rentals. That, of course, puts a lot of Vail Valley vacation property in its inventory.

Matt Rulis, the marketing director for The Society, was careful talking about the packages the company is offering during the Democratic National Convention in August.

“We’re not trying to create any kind of false hysteria about the convention,” Rulis said.

But, he added, some research the company did into the 2004 convention in Boston indicates that traffic in that city was a problem. The company also did some man-on-the-street video interviews in which people said they weren’t looking forward to being in the city during the convention.

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“If you don’t want to deal with it, we can help,” Rulis said.

To sweeten the deal, The Society is taking 10 percent of the price of vacation rentals during the convention, and providing every client with a $50 gas card.

Beyond the convention, though, The Society is pitching mountain resorts including Vail as great values in the summer.

Homes that can rent for $5,000 a night or more in the ski season can often be rented in the summer for $1,000 a night or less in the summer, Rulis said.

To drive that point home, The Society next week will hold an open house at a home in East Vail.

“We’re working to build interest in “off-season” rentals,” Rulis said. “There’s real value in Vail in the summer.

But is there a niche for a company that puts nothing but high-end rentals on its Web site?

Jon Eskin thinks so.

Eskin, general manager of Colorado Prudential Properties in Vail, said his company uses The Society and other companies to get out the word about its vacation rentals.

And, he said, “there’s definitely a market” for high-end rentals.

“We have a number of platinum-rated properties,” Eskin said. “There’s a need.”

But The Society isn’t alone in marketing high-end rentals. Eskin said there are a number of avenues for companies like his to get out information about its inventory.

And, like other companies in Vail, Eskin said Prudential is targeting Denver-area travelers, who might be convinced to drive just a couple of hours instead of going farther from home.

Even with the price of gas, travelers are increasingly renting vacation homes when they leave home, Rulis said. The market was approximately $6 billion last year and is growing.

“I used to just think about hotels when I traveled,” Rulis said. “Now I find a rental, even if it’s just on Craigslist.”

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