Mountain Travel Symposium brings big business to Breckenridge |

Mountain Travel Symposium brings big business to Breckenridge

A 2013 Mountain Travel Symposium speaker presents to the audience in Snowmass.
Courtesy / Mountain Travel Symposium |

Most anticipated sessions during the two-day forum

• Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts, gives an unscripted, one-on-one interview with Jason Blevins of the Denver Post.

• MTS Talks – Seven speakers present 10-minute “TED-style” talks focused on innovation.

• The company Snow Operating has gotten a lot of buzz this season for its terrain-based learning programs. Joe Hession, founder and CEO, provides a keynote and a presentation during THE Executive Summit.

• Adventure Travel Trade Association president, Shannon Stowell, will share insights on why adventure travel is experiencing hyper-growth while the ski industry stays flat

Workshops expected to draw the biggest crowds

• For rent by owner: A hot-button issue because of lodging taxes that are not being collected on these bookings. Carl Shepherd, co-founder and chief strategy officer for HomeAway, tackles this one. This session will be featured during Destinations@MTS, a new one-day event April 12 that focuses on issues facing destinations and resorts.

• Growing the industry: Several workshops investigate opportunities and strategies.

• International marketing: A workshop and a session during Destinations@MTS focus on this key growth driver.

• Families: Ideas used in Vermont, Colorado, British Columbia and beyond.

• Mary Jo Tarallo, executive director of “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month” and the companion campaign “Bring A Friend,” will lead Q&A with Andy Bigford after Joe Hession presents his keynote on growing the sports. She and Raelene Davis from Ski Utah will do a follow-up session that focuses on their programs.

Source: Mountain Travel Symposium

More than 1,200 people will descend on Breckenridge on Wednesday, April 9. But not for the thrill of late-season skiing.

The Mountain Travel Symposium, the SXSW for the resort sort, is all about business.

“There’s millions and millions of dollars transacted during this,” said Joan Chistensen, the event’s communications manager, “and if you’re not here, your resort’s probably missing out.”

For almost 40 years, the weeklong gathering has provided mountain travel companies with a single venue for negotiations and industry intelligence. Buyers (tour operators, travel agents, meeting planners, ski clubs) and suppliers (resorts, destination marketing organizations, lodging companies, airlines) come together in one place, trade information and make deals.

“The potential for business and future business is what it’s all about,” said Donna Horii, sales director of GoBreck, the tourist marketing arm of the town of Breckenridge.

She called “the largest and most prestigious show of its type in North America” a time to showcase to the ski and travel industries what’s new, different and coming soon to a resort near you.

A series of 16 workshops will present topics such as managing by-owner vacation rentals, tracking Facebook results, video storytelling, attracting international visitors and best practices from the European Alps.

The two-day educational and motivational forum Sunday, April 13, and Monday, April 14, includes speakers from some of the biggest names and companies in the industry.

“It started out as a rehash over a kegger at the end of the season,” Christensen said. Now, “it’s become really well positioned as one-stop shopping for ski industry professionals.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce is bringing the assistant deputy of tourism and embassy representatives from Japan, Brazil, Norway, Mexico and Canada. People from more than 20 countries will book plane tickets, lodging, rental cars and gear. They will network and talk shop over bar parties, pool parties and receptions all over town.

Christensen said the event is a big deal for the host city because it will be on display to influential decision makers, giving it a “huge advantage over other resorts.”

The 39th annual event will climax with the Valhalla Gala, an invite-only formal at the River Walk Center with a theme of Viking vogue.

Some seminars are open to the public for a fee. Those interested can register and pay online.

Vail Resorts is sponsoring the conference for the fourth time, and hosting it for the second time in Breckenridge (the first was in 1984). Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center and the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Breckenridge will house guests.

The economic impact for this week will be significant, Horii said, at a time of year when business in town normally would be winding down.

“We’re thrilled,” said Ken Nelson, president of the Breckenridge Restaurant Association and co-owner of four local restaurants. He called the event an outstanding opportunity, especially at a time when the economy is rebounding and businesses with bigger budgets might be poised to cut a deal.

Find the full schedule online at . For more information, visit or search #mtntrvl on social media sites and applications.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User