Vail summer marketing bears fruit
VAIL – A combination of marketing, events and brutally hot weather elsewhere seem to have combined for a remarkable early-summer season in Vail.
Town sales tax collections for June were released the last week of July, and the numbers were the second-best ever recorded. Year-to-date sales tax collections are also the best ever. And that came during a month that featured huge fires in parts of Colorado, as well as a record-breaking lack of rain.
“We seemed to bounce back quickly from the fire coverage, especially the national coverage,” said Mia Vlaar, a member of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council.
The scant effect of the hot, dry, smoky June on Vail may also be payback for the years Vail has spent marketing itself to summer visitors. Vlaar said the momentum those efforts have generated during the past two or three summers seems to be paying off.
Those marketing efforts are also more focused than they’ve been in the past.
“Instead of branding Vail as something for everybody, we’ve really honed in on messages about events and activities people say they’re interested in,” she said.
That’s taken a good bit of research, surveys and other data-gathering to see just what draws people to Vail. People who design advertising and public relations campaigns have been able to focus on what people like to do here – with hiking, dining and shopping near the top of the list.
Perhaps the biggest part of the marketing effort is on the Internet these days, and Vail Resorts has been using its online muscle to help in that effort. In fact, much of the online summer marketing is found on http://www.vail.com, the resort’s website.
Beth Slifer, Vail’s Local Marketing District Advisory Council chairwoman, said the marketing efforts are also using social media outlets, as well as targeted email blasts to potential guests.
“That’s become a huge thing for us,” Slifer said.
Beyond a strong and growing web presence, Vail’s marketing still depends on traditional print and broadcast sources.
Vail is a frequent advertiser in the Sunday travel section of The Denver Post, and the Vail Local Marketing District also works with travel writers and others to ensure Vail has stories in magazines that appeal to people who might want to come here.
The best example could be stories about Vail and its outdoor activities and events in Outside and other outdoor magazines. The magazine recently named the Vail Recreation District as one of the country’s top employers. The magazine also features stories about the Teva Mountain Games and other events.
Vlaar said the town’s efforts wouldn’t work without the help of the promoters of events from the USA Pro Cycling Challenge to the Vail Soul Fest, to name a couple.
Those events, and events to come, keep getting out the word that Vail’s a great place to be in the summer, Vlaar said. Those events range from the first “Gran Fondo” cycling event in Vail in August to “Living at Your Peak,” health and wellness events sponsored by the Vail Symposium in September.
While the combination of events, activities and smart marketing all play a role, Slifer said nature has provided a big boost in its own way.
“It’s no minor detail that hot weather has driven people here,” she said.
Slifer said that means the message about summer in Vail has been spread better than ever.
“It’s all created kind of a perfect storm,” she said. “Hopefully we’re already putting together some good momentum for next year.”
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vail
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