Deals luring Front Rangers to Vail
VAIL, Colorado – A townwide marketing campaign targeted at Front Range skiers is working, although how well is still yet to be seen.
The Vail All the Love campaign, organized and funded by the town of Vail, offers deals for lodging, lift tickets, restaurants and retail stores around town in an effort to get skiers up to Vail, staying overnight, and spending money.
Many local businesses and Vail Resorts are participating in the program, which began in early November. Specific numbers about the program’s impact on business won’t be available for a couple weeks, but some businesses and hotels have reported traffic from the promotions.
The program is likely to continue into the summer season also.
The program’s “Ski free, stay free” deal – buy two nights lodging and lift tickets and get the third night and ticket free – has generated more than 1,500 nights of hotel bookings, said Katie Richardson, Vail Mountain marketing manager.
Numbers show that more Front Range skiers are headed up to Vail also, she said.
“Vail is getting a disproportionate amount of Epic Pass traffic from the Front Range (compared to other resorts closer to Denver),” Richardson said.
Businesses offering special deals have also gotten good responses, such as Centre V in Lionshead, which offered a late afternoon $8 burger, and the Lodge at Vail, which offered $15 parking and breakfast.
Centre V reported selling 300 burgers a day, and after Christmas, the line at the Lodge for breakfast was “out the door,” Richardson said.
Bill Suarez of Billy’s Island Grill in Lionshead, said that All the Love is also about letting customers know that businesses in Vail are responding to the economy and willing to offer deals.
“(The promotions) hasn’t had a great affect to Billy’s itself,” said Suarez, whose restaurant offered a discount earlier in the season. “But the perception is that we did something.”
Lourdes Ferzacca, owner of La Tour restaurant in Vail Village, said the All the Love campaign is a great way to offer deals, while not sending the message that Vail is “on sale.”
The restaurant has offered a 10 percent off for diners who show their Epic Pass or Vail All the Love card, which was mailed to many Front Rangers, and the deal has been very popular, she said.
“People will go back to their house or hotel to get their pass. Someone went back to their home for $7.95 in savings,” Ferzacca said.
Despite the push from the campaign, there’s no question that it has been a rough season for Vail businesses.
Hotel occupancy numbers were down 14 percent from the previous year in January, down 12.5 percent so far for February, and advance bookings are down 27 percent for March, according to Michael Kurz, president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, a regional chamber of commerce.
However, the trend has been for guests to make last-minute reservations this season, and hopefully the gloomy March numbers will change, Kurz said.
Overall revenue from lodges, restaurants and retail stores in Vail Village and Lionshead have also been suffering, showing 15 percent to 17 percent drops from the previous season.
Businesses plan to keep rolling out the deals and also extend Vail All the Love into the summer season.
“This is a good time to concentrate mostly on customer service and do what you have to do to give the customer a good experience,” Kurz said, suggesting inventory sales or restaurant specials to draw in guests. “This is definitely not business as usual.”
The $550,000 marketing campaign is designed to bring Front Range skiers to Vail and get more “heads in beds.” The marketing campaign is a partnership between the town, Vail Resorts and local businesses.
Check out Vail All the Love promotions at http://www.vailallthelove.com
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