Giant in lodging guarantees snow
October 22, 2007
Ullr the snow god isn’t on the payroll of ResortQuest, a lodging giant with a big presence in Aspen, but the firm still is guaranteeing good snow conditions this winter for its customers.ResortQuest is promoting its Snow Guarantee program heavily to spur early reservations at its vacation homes and condominiums at 10 major ski resorts in western North American. The program lets customers transfer their reservations to another ResortQuest property in another resort without forfeiting a deposit – if the snow is lousy in the original destination.For example, let’s say a family from Des Moines books a trip to a ResortQuest condo at Vail for March 15. Five days before the trip, their online research shows that conditions are better in Aspen. They call ResortQuest and make the switch to Aspen, assuming there is a home or condo available.”You determine the snow conditions, and there are no questions asked,” the company’s website said.The deal covers lodging only. The travelers are responsible for their own air and ground transportation. That might not make it feasible to switch a trip from Whistler, British Columbia, to Aspen, for example, if airfare were already paid. But switching from one resort in Colorado to another could be fairly painless.ResortQuest started the program last season, and about 12 customers took advantage of it, said public relations consultant Sheri Heedum. ResortQuest hopes to build the program this winter – or not, if snow is good at all 10 resorts where it does business.The program is feasible, Heedum said, because ResortQuest owns so many ski resort accommodations. It has about 3,000 rental units in Aspen/Snowmass, Breckenridge, Keystone, Steamboat and Telluride in Colorado; Park City and Deer Valley in Utah; Sun Valley, Idaho; and Whistler.The transfer can be made to one resort, so shopping around on-site for the best snow isn’t possible, although the Internet makes the research easier. The change can be made within seven days of arrival, Heedum said.ResortQuest’s website shows that it manages townhouses or condos in 31 different properties, as well as rental homes in Aspen and about 60 units at 24 properties in Snowmass Village. The company touts itself as “the nation’s leading vacation property management company.”The lodging giant also is trying to generate ski-season business by offering one night of free lodging on the opening day of each resort where it has properties. That’s Nov. 22 in Aspen and Snowmass. The deal is based on a minimum three-night stay.Scott Condon’t e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.