Friday, February 20, 2009
Ski town sales tax
For December, Vail saw the smallest drop in sales tax revenues compared to last year. Experts and officials said Vail's All the Love campaign may have helped. Here are sales tax drops for December 2008 for major ski towns.
- Aspen down 19 percent
- Winter Park down 14 percent
- Breckenridge down 10 percent
- Steamboat Springs down 9 percent
- Vail down 6 percent
Source: Colorado Association of Ski Towns
Vail Vail's winter marketing campaign, Vail All the Love, may get a $342,200 boost.
The Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Committee, a board that advises the town about marketing matters, wants to take $342,200 of marketing funds to bolster Vail All the Love, which offers deals targeted at getting Front Range residents to Vail.
The money was previously set aside for existing Front Range promotions, Front Range advertising and some local recreation programs. The money would add to the $550,000 already spent by the town on the campaign, as well as pay for strengthening the Vail brand in the Front Range.
The town council will discuss adding the funds at its March 17 meeting.
Resort expert hired
The marketing committee also has hired James Chung, a resort expert from Reach Advisors, for $125,000 to help set up partnerships between Vail and nationally known brands.
"James is helping us meet potential partners of the very highest caliber at the very top level," marketing committee chairwoman Beth Slifer said.
The first partnership, a continuing education program with Johns Hopkins University through Vail Valley Medical Center, currently is in the works. The university has shown interest, and Vail leaders are discussing the potential partnership.
The partnership could bring medical classes to the area that would bring medical professionals and their families, helping to attract year-round business.
"It's not a home run, but it's third-baser," Slifer said about the potential program.
Chung will meet with Vail leaders March 9 to discuss details of his work and what other brands he could help bring to town.
Vail ahead of competitors
Chung's work and the additional money for Vail All the Love might help Vail to form an economic game-plan for the next two years, something that the town council has asked the board to do.
Although it is inconclusive exactly how much Vail's marketing campaigns have helped business, analysts said Vail is doing "less bad" than other ski towns.
Reports show Vail's numbers are down from last season but that it is seeing less drastic declines than towns such as Aspen, Breckenridge, Whistler and Steamboat Springs.
"In November, December and January, Vail had collected more sales tax than any other resort town," said Vail's Economic Development Director Kelli McDonald.
Also, Vail hotels almost always had the highest occupancy rates out of all the ski resort towns so far this season.
"Why are we holding up? We're getting a higher usage of the Epic Pass (than other Vail Resort mountains). We'd also like to think it had something to do with Vail all the Love," McDonald said.