We’re trying to bring more youth sports to the Vail Valley
While the Vail Valley may never become the cheerleader competition capital of the world, we are taking steps to create a larger footprint for our destination in the participatory sports arena like baseball, softball, soccer, golf, and… judo. The Partnership took its first formal steps into this potentially lucrative market this week while attending the National Association of Sports Commissions Sports Marketplace. This weeklong forum gathered quality athletic associations, convention bureaus, and sports commissions under one roof in Omaha, Neb., for networking and lead generation. The Partnerships purpose in being represented is two-fold. First, to assess the needs of this market segment and to communicate our destinations advantages wonderful terrain, scenery, hotels, restaurants and amenities plus our wonderful soccer, baseball, softball, rugby, and lacrosse playfields, tennis facilities and usually mild weather.Exhibitors at the event included Groople, the U.S. Sports Congress, National Collegiate Athletics Association, USA Field Hockey and USA Rugby, to name a few. The conference also featured educational sessions with topics that were anything but traditionall. For example, various panels touched on social media strategies, arming front-line group sales types to serve as destination ambassadors, how to complement domestic events by hosting international efforts and a special keynote address by New York Times best-selling author, Ronald Shapiro of Dare to Prepare: How to Win Before you Begin! This conference is just the vanguard of a larger effort the Partnership is leading to bring groups of all kinds to the valley. While weve always played a card in this game, were demonstrating a renewed dedication to strengthening and supporting our sales division. This week we proudly announced a new face to the Partnership with the addition of Jessica Stevens in the position of group sales coordinator. Jessica brings experience in leisure sales from MGM Resorts of Las Vegas. At the Partnership, she will spearhead participatory sports and social, military, educational, reunion & fraternal groups business. Within the next few weeks, Jessica will be conducting site visits at many area properties we hope you welcome her. We could not present such a cohesive effort to group business, however, without the help and support of our strategic partners and alliances. These include the town of Vail and the Vail Local Marketing District, the Beaver Creek Resort Company and the Vail Recreation District. The Partnership has a busy schedule ahead with upcoming tradeshows and conventions focused on the group business segment that include: the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour, Successful Meetings University at the Vail Cascade, both in mid-June, and the Virginia Gold Cup Steeplechase horse race in early October.And, because Vail and Beaver Creek are world-class resorts, the Partnership in addition to attending events, now hosts its own the highly anticipated event at James Beard House in New York City. The venue itself generates interest and attracts dozens of meeting planners who represent the most exclusive corporate and incentive travel planners in the country. Its not one specific event or show that makes all the good things happen. Rather, its the collective effort of our sales team guided by our strategic and business partners that establish our annual objectives. Because group business benefits so many in the community, our organization would not be a true business vitality enterprise if we did not exert all possible influence on the key decision makers behind sporting events and corporate/incentive travel.So the next time you see a group in town, keep in mind they might be visiting because of outreach by valley representatives and welcome them. Who knows? A good first impression may be the key to great participatory sports events and other gatherings that make a tradition of returning to the Vail Valley year after year.Michael Kurz is President and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.
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