Vail Daily column: Merchant Ski Pass a compelling hiring tool
We’re fortunate to have Vail and Beaver Creek in our backyard, and of course skiing and snowboarding are important to our sense of community.
Did you know that your business has the ability to purchase ski passes for your employees through the Vail Resorts Merchant Pass program? Consistent with past years, Vail Resorts offers the Eagle County Merchant Pass program to Vail Valley Partnership members, offering skiing and snowboarding at both Vail and Beaver Creek (as well as our neighbors in Summit County).
The Merchant Pass program has been in existence for many years and provides a compelling hiring tool for local businesses due to the wide-ranging benefits for employees and, most importantly, unlike other pass products, the pass ownership resides with the business vs. an individual.
Of additional benefit to employers, the Merchant Pass features a one-time transfer for $100 to accommodate employee changes. Unlike the wildly popular Epic Pass, which is owned by the pass holder and cannot be revoked or transferred by an employer regardless of who paid for it, the Merchant Pass is owned by the “merchant” or business and in the event that an employee leaves, the pass must be deactivated by the business and may be transferred to another employee.
Businesses must be active members in the Vail Valley Partnership (or the Vail Chamber & Business Association) in order to be eligible for the Merchant Pass program. Additionally, businesses must participate in one of three qualifying programs offered by the Partnership:
• Participate in the Platinum Service Program, a mystery shop program.
• Participate in the EGE Air Alliance (minimum contribution required is $500).
• Attend the Vail Valley Partnership’s annual meeting on Dec. 8 (attendees will not be eligible to receive passes until this date).
The three options are designed to meet the needs of all businesses within the valley. Businesses looking to improve customer service and invest in ongoing training for their employees are encouraged to participate in the Platinum Service Program. PSP is a full-service mystery-shopping program, helping businesses to measure service levels and provide detailed benchmarking reports for your business.
EGE Air Alliance is a 501(c)6 nonprofit public-private partnership that provides the funding to make the Eagle County Regional Airport a vital part of the Eagle County economy with a vibrant flight service program. Contributions to the Alliance help ensure new flight service to the Eagle County Regional Airport, benefiting our community with an estimated economic impact of over $200 million annually.
Businesses can also qualify for a Merchant Pass by attending the Vail Valley Partnership annual meeting on Dec. 8 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Minturn Town Hall (note that companies choosing this qualifying option are not eligible to purchase passes until this date). Attendees will learn the scope of work of the Vail Valley Partnership team throughout the community, including chamber benefits and programs, destination marketing efforts and economic development programming.
Additional Merchant Pass benefits (subject to change):
• A Merchant Pass may be transferred once to another employee from the same business for $100.
• Six buddy lift tickets provide the option to purchase a ticket to ski and ride during restricted periods. The buddy tickets also may be used for friends and family all season. Payment does not need to be made by the merchant pass holder; a friend or family may pay for the ticket. Coupons belong to the pass holder and pass holder must be present to redeem.
• Six ski-with-a-friend tickets offer up to six days of unrestricted skiing or snowboarding for family or friends at a discounted rate that varies by date. Tickets will be electronically loaded onto the Merchant Pass and can be redeemed at any ticket window. Payment does not need to be made by the merchant pass holder; a friend or family may pay for the ticket. Coupons belong to the pass holder and pass holder must be present to redeem.
• One free adult ski or snowboard group lesson at Vail or Beaver Creek, valid Dec. 1-19 or Jan. 19-Feb. 6. Alternatively, pass holders may select a free introductory cross country lesson or snowshoe tour in Vail or Beaver Creek, or a Tele-Tuesday in Beaver Creek anytime during the season when a paying guest is present. Reservations may be made for a discounted Teleworkshop in Vail or Beaver Creek anytime during the season for a discounted rate.
Don’t miss out on the Merchant Pass for the upcoming ski season, and special thanks to Vail Resorts for its commitment to continuing the Merchant Pass program for members of our business community. Learn more at vailvalleypartnership.com/merchant-pass-program/ or contact Haley McNeill at 970-477-4027.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.