Vail Valley Voices: Vail looks to the world
Vail, CO Colorado
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association annual report for 2010. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhomeowners.com.
The association began 2010 with the perspective that American consumers would continue to constrain their discretionary spending. Concerns were raised that Vail should begin shifting its marketing perspective away from the domestic economy and towards promoting international destination guests to coincide with the new hotel and high-end residential properties that would come onto the market by year’s end.
A series of reforms and initiatives were proposed by the association at the beginning of 2010, which were designed to reshape the community’s marketing efforts towards rebuilding its clientele of both affluent domestic and international destination guests. Steps have been taken by some interests to implement elements of these proposals. The summer and winter marketing programs by example are being merged into a seamless image of mountain and village activities. The unified image is being distributed to targeted groups (right promotion, right time, right audience) via social networking and is no longer dependent upon print media to attract the consumer’s attention.
There is reluctance on the part of some to refocus their long-standing economic development agenda, which some critics view as a troubled business model. The association’s persistence in advocating reform, which builds upon the community’s core strengths, is by year’s end being progressively embraced.
Dialogue with community leaders
To gain greater insight into what global marketing processes would be the most productive for the community, the asssociation is engaged in an ongoing dialogue with advisors and business leaders who have experience with or a desire to be engaged in international business development. The Homeowners Association, as part of this effort, sponsored a study of the potential for Vail to expand its stature from a world class to a truly international resort community.
The study was conducted by a team of graduate students from the University of Denver Daniels School of Business. Their analysis concluded that the community’s inventory of new luxury hotels and residential properties have the potential to attract greater numbers of prosperous international visitors. The DU report recommends that international marketing efforts should be directed at adapting its core strengths to the expectations of a broader diversity of affluent international destination visitors.
One of the most significant improvements suggested that would benefit the globalization effort is the opening of an international terminal at the Eagle County Airport. Airport officials now have such a proposal under review. Vail Resorts Inc., who participated in the DU study, has moved to increase efforts to attract international destination visitors. It was determined that Vail would benefit from globalization because financial analysis shows that international destination visitors stay longer and spend more.
Vail appeals to international visitors, particularly in winter, because the ski mountain has an abundance of wide open, well groomed slopes, something that is rarely found elsewhere in the world. The community’s summer venue of cultural events brings further notice on the world stage. With the resources made available from its new globally connected luxury hotels and residences, blended with many other public and private renovation projects, Vail has now a compelling image to build its international trade upon. If appropriately pursued it has the opportunity to move into prominence as a unique multi-dimensional international mountain resort community, like nothing on earth.
Vail Resorts’ December quarterly report brings heightened optimism in interviews with the company’s chief executive that the current 2010-11 winter season will bring increased profitability over the 2009-10 ski season. Vail Resorts stock, on the announcement on their quarterly earnings, climbed to its 52-week high, which the company attributes to the strong positioning of its Colorado and California resorts. The company made headway on its quarterly balance sheet by closing on several of its luxury residential units at the Vail Ritz-Carlton. Snow conditions for Vail Mountain are tracking with above normal snowfall trends.