ACRA to pair with Aspen Catalogue site | AspenTimes.com

ACRA to pair with Aspen Catalogue site

Naomi Havlen

In an attempt to broaden retailers’ horizons, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association is pairing with a local advertiser to give Aspen businesses a global audience.

ACRA has partnered with Modell Associates, publisher of The Aspen Catalogue, to give chamber members discounts on adding their products and services to http://www.thecatalogues.com. Andy Modell, who has published the glossy magazine full of local ads for 27 years, said the online offer is another way to market the “Aspen message.”

“[ACRA is] finding additional ways of tying in with local Aspen businesses that do business outside of the community,” Modell said. “We want to convey Aspen to destination travelers that currently go elsewhere and attract them here.”

Modell is on ACRA’s board of directors and also on the chamber’s marketing committee. He said marketing Aspen is more than just spending money running ads – it’s luring visitors with the popularity of local dining and shopping opportunities as well as lodging and real estate.

Thecatalogues.com also serves the destination resorts of the Hamptons, N.Y.; Sun Valley, Idaho; Santa Fe, N.M., and the Vail/Beaver Creek area. Between February and April, Modell said the lodging advertisers based in Aspen received the second-most “hits” behind the Hamptons.

The Aspen-specific page on thecatalogues.com shows a picture of the Maroon Bells with the text “Couldn’t make it to Aspen this year? Well, now the unique shops and galleries have come to you.” Products are broken into categories such as antiques, children’s merchandise and “for pets.”

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Although the discount for ACRA members has only been active during April, Modell said he’s received a growing amount of interest from the local real estate community. What started out as “selling Aspen through its retailers” is morphing into a way to market the town especially to vacationers, through the Web site’s link to the ACRA home page.

“Our philosophy at thecatalogues is to bring people business,” Modell said. “And if people visiting [the site] have any interest at all in Aspen products, they can come straight to the Web page for the city. People will have the opportunity to shop from Aspen merchants and services, and it will enable them to check out lodging facilities as well as real estate.”

The Aspen Catalogue itself is available in local hotel rooms and with advertisers in the marketplace. Jane Click, owner of Geraniums ‘N Sunshine on Main Street, said she has been advertising in the catalog for its entire 27-year history, with the exception of one issue.

“[When I missed that issue] I could easily tell the difference in business,” she said. “It’s one of the finest vehicles in the valley, and going online would be a great link with a broader audience. It’s a good way to connect with others.”

Click’s store is online but has not yet linked with thecatalogues.com.

The site keeps track of viewers who click on a store name for more information. Modell said an e-mail campaign will begin this summer to draw viewers to the site. Store-specific postcards will also be sent to preferred customers, drawing them to check out merchandise on the Web site.