Carnes: Polls mean everything or … um, nothing |

Carnes: Polls mean everything or … um, nothing

“Polls are meaningless, the bane of every marketer’s existence.”

So says the marketer whose product just polled poorly.

“No, no, it’s not just my product, but all polls are designed to favor one product over another, whether purposely constructed in such a biased way or not. It’s just not fair I tell you.”

I wonder what the odds are you’d be saying the same if your product came out on top.

“Well …”

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Reading the stories and comments about Vail’s failure to once again be No. 1, or even in the top 10, in readers’ polls was entertaining, to say the least. It was the Kari Lake “soft light image” of denial, saying anything to poo-poo the results when all that was needed was a few words of reality.

Don’t get me wrong, but the number of people bending over backward to justify or flat-out rationalize the latest round of popularity contest rankings was indeed like election deniers a few weeks ago and their pathetic attempts to explain poor results.

Damn people, just accept the fact we lost (again) and move on.

But no, we’re inundated with excuses from media types and those convinced they must do and say whatever they can to undermine the results.

These polls have “very little if any impact … we have had record sales tax collections the past year … this ranking (doesn’t) affect our visitors’ desire to come to Vail … I don’t see this one ranking having any impact,” and so on, some even going so far as to imply the winners bought their way in with advertising dollars.

Reminds me of how other resorts used to whine about Vail always being near or on top.

Look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to be positive regarding negative news. Hell, that’s what spin doctors are paid to do for a living, so we should stop pretending to be surprised by it all.

But what if we were suddenly once again sitting atop the rankings?

Simple. I guarantee the same media types would be tripping all over one another taking credit for and supplying thanks to new management implementing new policies that created the new corporate and employee mindset, blah-blah-blah.

We’d be sticking fingers down our own throats over all of the boasting and chest-thumping, down deep knowing the irrelevance of such frivolousness.

So back to reality, and Vail Council member Jonathan Staufer is absolutely correct for showing concern, especially when he stresses the need for more input from the private sector.

But that mindset should apply every year, regardless of silly poll results, as what resort area doesn’t already strive for improvement annually? If we were No. 1 like we used to be damn near every year, demands would be made across the board to remain there as long as possible.

As I’ve written many times over the years, the name “Vail” has become toxic across the industry thanks to a corporate mentality of prioritizing profits over people, quantity over quality, etc., so of course, polls conducted using readers’ input will reflect the childish “Fail Resorts” mantra and accusations of being the McDonalds of the ski industry.

But as many point out, saying Walmart sucks doesn’t appear to hurt Walmart sales either, and the last thing Vail and Beaver Creek mountains project is purveyors of discounted crap.

Polls mean everything if one is on the top; perspective is required for all others.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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