Vail Valley business briefs |

Vail Valley business briefs

Daily Staff ReportsVail, CO, Colorado

DENVER A large number of people will travel in Colorado and the U.S. this Memorial Day and summer travel season despite a rise in some travel costs.AAA estimates that 9.148 million people in the western United States, including Colorado, will travel 50 or more miles away from home for Memorial Day weekend, compared to 9.155 million in 2007, a decrease of .01 percent.Nationally, AAA estimates 37.87 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles away from home, a decrease of .09 percent.A large number of travelers will be hitting the roads and airports for this upcoming Memorial Day holiday, said Sandra Barnes, AAA Colorados Director of Travel Services. While national projections for people traveling compared to last year are down, we are seeing nearly the same number of Coloradans planning summer and Memorial Day travel.Air, hotel and rental car bookings with AAA Colorados travel agency are only slightly lower for Memorial Day and summer travel compared to 2007.Compared to last year, AAAs 2008 Leisure Travel Index for Memorial Day shows: Hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond-rated hotels (moderately priced) are down 3 percent in Denver and 7 percent nationally. Rental rates for an intermediate car have risen an average of 10 percent in Denver. The national average round-trip airfare rate is up eight percent. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded in Colorado is up 44 cents compared to last year. The average cost of filling a 15-gallon tank with regular unleaded in Colorado is $55.50 compared to $48.90 last year. According to AAAs online fuel cost calculator available at, a roundtrip journey between Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park will cost $16.50 in regular unleaded for a common mid-size car. Last year it cost $14.55. The five most popular out-of-state destinations this summer, based on bookings through AAA Colorado are Orlando; Seattle; Orange County, California; Nassau, Bahamas; and Cancun, Mexico. The five most popular in-state destinations are Denver, Colorado Springs, Durango, Grand Junction and Boulder.Research for Memorial Day weekend holiday travel projections are derived from the Travel Industry Association Holiday Travel Forecast Model.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert has unveiled a special program to help local merchants victimized by bad check losses.Hurlbert has organized the Bad Check Restitution Program. The goals are: to increase the accountability of those who pass bad checks, without increasing the administrative or financial burden to the criminal justice system, and to return to victims that which is rightfully theirs. As the District Attorney, I have grown increasingly concerned about the impact created by bad checks on local businesses, Hurlburt said. Bad checks affect everyone in terms of costs that must be paid to offset losses, as well as the costs involved in law enforcement and prosecution. The program combines an education effort for businesses and a new requirement that bad check offenders to complete a special class in addition to paying restitution. The program will be paid for by fees charged to bad check offenders. Merchants will receive 100 percent of the restitution recovered by the program. For more information, call 866-909-8437.

McLEAN, Va. SnowSports Industries America recently released its End of the Season Survey from the SnowSports Consumer Panel. An online survey was sent to over 3,300 consumer panel members to find out how they use online product reviews when researching and purchasing snow sports products. According to the panel, the majority of snow sports participants (86.4 percent) said they take the time to read online product reviews that other consumers have written before purchasing new products. These reviews are even more important to consumers getting ready to purchase big ticket items like snowboards, apparel, and skis. More than 88 percent of panel members said they seek out and read these reviews before purchasing expensive snow sports equipment and apparel. Snow sports participants claim to be directly impacted by these consumer reviews. Almost seven out of 10 consumers have decided not to purchase a product because of a review another consumer has written. On the other hand, the impact of a bad review only goes so far, since 61.6 percent have purchased a product even after it received bad consumer reviews.The SnowSports Consumer Panel is an online consumer research survey system devoted to understanding the consumer of winter sports products. It is a unique tool which enables SIA to examine, through market research, changing consumer behaviors, attitudes and perceptions. Panel members are pre-recruited US residents, 16 years or older, that participate in snow sports (alpine skiing, Nordic, telemark, snowboarding or snowshoeing). The report can be read in its entirety at

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