Steamboat Springs Rob Perlman said he has gotten his arms around the ski season strategy during his first month at Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.
Perlman is the company's new vice president of sales and marketing. He left his post as chief executive officer of Colorado Ski Country USA, the state's ski trade association, to take on the role.
"This will be a season where we focus on fundamentals," he said. "We want to make sure we get visitors from our core markets. : It's not a season to be expanding into new markets."
Those core markets, Perlman said, are those with direct air service to and from Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden. Ski Corp. also plans to keep an eye on international and regional markets.
"The big part is retention, focusing on past guests, as they're probably our most important guests at the moment," he said. "A large part of the effort is making sure these people will be back again this season."
Perlman, who has held leadership roles in Winter Park, Vail and Mammoth Mountain in California, said he would use lessons learned at those resorts, as well as with Colorado Ski Country in his job at Ski Corp. An example: This year, Steamboat's reservation service will offer an international vacation package for the first time.
"That's something I picked up from my days at Ski Country that other resorts were utilizing," Perlman said.
Collaboration is crucial, and he said he aims to work closely with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and the Colorado Restaurant Association. Perlman also plans to stay involved with the Colorado Tourism Office and tourism offices in other states, particularly Texas, which he said sends in the most out-of-state tourists.
"I'm really focused on executing our sales and marketing plan, on not trying to get too crazy based on the landscape and environment we're in," he said, referring to the slow U.S. economy. "My goal is to keep it simple."
Perlman also addressed the difference between Steamboat and ski resorts along the Interstate 70 corridor. The relative inaccessibility of Steamboat is both an advantage and a disadvantage, he said. Steamboat is still a Western town and a family destination, he said.
"The advantage is people want to come to Steamboat because we're not a mass, mega-ultra-packed resort," Perlman said.
He also said it was important for Ski Corp. to work with the town and other groups to keep that small-community vibe alive in Steamboat.
"I think we'd fail at our jobs if we lost the brand or strayed away from what got us here, what differentiates us from other resorts not only in the state but across the nation," Perlman said.
Still, Steamboat isn't the easiest place to get to in the winter, he said.
"The disadvantage is, for the most part, you have to get on a plane to get to Steamboat," Perlman said. Ski Corp. aims to draw visitors with packages and deals during the season, he said. The company already plans to continue its "kids fly free" program and will offer a deal with American Express in which it will pay baggage fees for customers.
Perlman, who has a long history of skiing in Steamboat, has been living in the area and commuting back to Denver on weekends for just more than a month. His family moved in from Denver last week. Perlman will live here with his wife, Erin, and daughters Amanda and Morgan.
"Rob brings a lot of experience I think we'll benefit from," Ski Corp. spokesman Mike Lane said. "He's very passionate about the mountain lifestyle and skiing, and I think it means good things for the entire Yampa Valley and Steamboat."
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