Vail Valley Voices: Marketing medium shifts
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –On several occasions, the town of Vail has been asked to create a standardized reporting system for business-promotion efforts, including special events and marketing programs. Shrinking revenues require the town to become far more fiscally accountable so that funding is directed at the most productive activities. Currently, there are those calling for more governmental support, including tax increases. In response, there are those renewing their claim for greater fiscal restraint and accountability.–
Recently the Vail Valley Foundation-and Bravo! reported the economic benefits for the events they sponsor to the town of Vail. Both organizations receive sizable subsidies from the town. There are many other special events and functions subsidized by the town that do not attempt to make similar reports. As a consequence, recipients of public funds do not compete on a level playing field. There are those who advocate that funding priority should be given to those recipients who do report in accordance with a required factual standard.
Some of those who attempt to analyze the productivity reports that are submitted claim the lack of financial or demographic data standards makes it impossible to fairly evaluate the productivity from either an economic or community-relations perspective. Critics say the credibility of the good-faith intentions of those who do report suffers because of the inconsistency in data collection and the appearance that unintentional double counting may be occurring.
There is the belief that past efforts to come up with standards from those who benefit from public largess has become clouded or thwarted with self-interest.-To overcome the potential for abuse, the town needs to bring in a qualified outside independent consultant to recommend standards.-Elected officials cannot afford to let their eyes glaze over when confronted with volumes of data that are thrown at them in inconsistent formats or shrug off the lack of substantiation. Until the Town Council levels the playing field through a mandatory reporting format, abuses real or imagined will be suspected and could hinder any effort to increase funding via the voters.–
An ad hoc committee of Vail business interests are advocating, in the face of declining economic conditions, that the Town of Vail prepare for the need to:
• Increase the lodging tax sufficient to reposition the Vail brand towards economic diversification and a value conscious consumer.
• Reduce development fees to stimulate new construction.
• Cut operational and capital improvement budgets based on needs not wants.
• Reallocate the $9+ million conference center fund to the health and wellnes initiative of the Vail Valley Medical Center (a private not-for-profit foundation) and related entities.
The Homeowners Association encourages a full debate on the items presented in the group’s white paper during the Town Council election. The Association’s Board of Directors has not taken positions on the merits of any of the white paper’s proposals, so that all parties involved in the public debate can be given an open hearing and thoughtful consideration. VCFA White Paper
Town Council Election Voting Schedule: There are 9 candidates competing for 4 open seats. Candidates are Michael Charles, Kerry Donovan, Kevin Foley (incumbent), Mark Gordon (incumbent), Ludwig (Ludi) Kurz, Buddy Lazier, Kim Newbury (incumbent), Scott Proper and Susie Tjossem. There are several choices for casting votes in the upcoming Town Council election. October 5th was the last day for residents to register to vote. The walk-in/mail-in (absentee) ballot process begins Oct. 22nd; Oct. 30th is the last day to request an absentee ballot or vote walk-in/mail-in (absentee). Voting at the polls occurs on Tuesday, November 3rd. Contact the Vail Town Clerk for details.
With the possibility of continued value pricing over the coming season, some local entrepreneurs see the potential to put the Internet based “social networking” media to work on behalf of their businesses and consumers. Advocates believe the effect could well exceed the results achieved from any traditional print advertising campaign. The concept is to reduce costs of agency run “social networking” and traditional advertising marketing campaigns that can be very expensive and labor intensive. Others in the snow sports industry are headed in this direction. SnowSports Industries America Newsletter
These social media advocates believe some marketers are missing the point about Vail. They says that consumers beyond their early 20’s are not looking for “price” as much as they want unique and memorable experiences. There has to be a change in the source and content of the conversation. People are longing for personal satisfaction and want to hear of the best experiences from their friends. They believe the entire resort community is in the business of serving the needs and expectations of the customer. We are in their service, so perhaps we should ask them what they think of us. Success in the new economy takes collaboration.
Social media feeds on what is going on, “Where do the locals go?” People believe messages from friends, especially if the content is personal and not crassly commercial. Consumers need to feel that they are part of the action, that they are generating the excitement for their friends and that they want their friends with them in Vail. There has to be quality and value in the product or service. Businesses need to tell a story about their products, how they will add depth and uniqueness to the Vail experience. Vail needs to tell the story through the words and voices of its satisfied customers.
They say it has to be non-governmental grassroots marketing. Vail locals and regulars should send their own message and do their friends a favor by inviting them to Vail. Enjoy what Vail has to offer without having to go to Europe. If they come to Vail just once, they will be back. There should be personal and tangible rewards for communicating the message. Advocates say every Vail business should begin now putting the word out to their customers that, “This is the year. …The best winter season ever to visit Vail.”