Steamboat Springs Resort Ventures West executives continue to pursue a highly personalized marketing plan and are debuting a fully furnished model unit at Trailhead Lodge in Wildhorse Meadows as Steamboat continues to weather the real estate slump of 2008.
Director of Sales and Marketing Kerry Shea and Communications and Customer Relations Manager Alexa Nachtweih were in Chicago last weekend, where they hosted 10 couples during a cocktail reception at a steakhouse in the northern suburbs. They plan to travel to Houston in the coming weeks for a similar gathering.
"Right now, you have to be proactive and creative" in marketing mountain resort real estate, Shea said.
The reception in Chicago took place days before Resort Ventures West laid off several staffers in the interest of keeping the company efficient.
The group that gathered at Morton's The Steakhouse in Northbrook, Ill., last week included some couples who have contracted to purchase a suite at Trailhead or already own a single-family building lot next door at The Range. There were also invited guests who are long-standing customers of Steamboat Resorts, the Steamboat property management firm that will manage the 86 furnished suites at Trailhead Lodge.
"It allowed us to have a one-to-one connection" with the guests, Shea said.
Shea and Nachtweih showed their guests a video with remarks from Steamboat residents, including Moose Barrows, Caroline Lalive, Eugene Buchanan, Bobby Aldighieri, Matt Tredway and Alysse Chapman.
"We wanted to make sure (the guests) hear from some key people here and what the beauty of the valley means to them," Shea said.
The presentation also included news of ongoing improvements in Steamboat, from $4 million in snowmaking improvements at Steamboat Ski Area to the new Strings Music Festival performance pavilion just across Pine Grove road from Trailhead Lodge.
Resort Ventures West expects to entertain more of its contract buyers this ski season in the newly finished two-bedroom model unit.
RVW put 61 of the 86 units under contract in a one-day sales event in late July 2007. The contracts have an aggregate value of $56 million. Shea said none of those sales has fallen out of contract in the intervening 16 months.
RVW Development Manager Mariana Ishida, a veteran of similar projects executed for previous employer Intrawest, said the new model unit represents the first time since about 2001 that she has found it necessary to put a unit on display.
"That's how good the unit has been to us the last few years," she said.
Ishida said the physical dimensions of Trailhead Lodge would be very familiar to guests who have stayed at Intrawest resorts such as Mammoth, Calif., and Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C. However, the individual suites, from studios to three-bedroom homes, vary from an already existing Intrawest property in some notable ways, she said. In particular, the windows are much taller, and in some cases, there are vaulted ceilings with stacks of windows adding drama to views of the South Valley and Emerald Mountain.
The model is a typical two-bedroom at Trailhead, offering 1,200 square feet.
Although the bedrooms are complete with king and queen beds and designer linens, they are not as large as one might find in the newest Steamboat townhomes at the base area. Instead, the emphasis is on devoting as much space as is practical to the main living areas, Ishida said.
The kitchens at Trailhead are large for condominiums and have ample cabinet space for enthusiastic chefs.
The tone for interiors, by The Ranch House Interior Design in Boulder, is set by dark wood flooring, dry-stack rock fireplaces mounted with flat-screen televisions and creamy thick granite slabs with chiseled leading edges. Contemporary area rugs and upholstered chairs bring color into the rooms.
Previous clients of The Ranch House include the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Northstar Highlands Ritz Carlton at Lake Tahoe, Calif., and Arrow Leaf Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah.
The finishing touches include abstracted black and white photographs of Western horse tack by local fine-art photographer and architect Tim Stone, as well as dramatic artisan glass vases and dry arrangements in the sleek bathrooms.
Owners may choose from among four color palettes and fabric selections. Trailhead was architected in a rough U-shape that allows an unusual variety of wall angles and floor plans. Working in concert with the choice of palettes, they should allow buyers to create a vacation home with its own identity.
"We're very excited and proud to be able to show this model unit," Ishida said.