New online clearinghouse to help resort industry |

New online clearinghouse to help resort industry

Catherine Lutz

Resort officials now have a new tool to track their business, identify trends and predict how people might travel in the future.The new technology was unveiled Tuesday at a meeting of ski resort and central reservations agency representatives at The Gant.”This will be a tremendous tool to tell us how we are faring as a resort destination overall,” said Stay Aspen Snowmass President Bill Tomcich. “It’s a lot more effective than what we’ve been doing.” The Mountain Travel Research Program, or MTRiP, is a Web-based, comprehensive marketing research package that includes information such as reservations data, skier visits, resort-specific airline statistics and visitor surveys. Subscribers have access to constantly updated information that they can use to react to ever-changing travel trends more quickly than was possible in the past. “We’re trying to be the central clearinghouse for all of the information that’s needed to talk about what’s happening in mountain resorts,” Chris Cares, one of the developers of MTRiP, told the meeting attendees.Aspen and other ski towns have traditionally used skier visits to gauge how well they’re doing. But since many winter visitors these days don’t ski, and summer business is becoming increasingly important, a need for more data has arisen. The Aspen Chamber Resort Association compiles occupancy reports for Aspen lodging properties, and the city releases monthly retail sales and sales tax collection information. Local agencies such as Stay Aspen Snowmass and the town of Snowmass Village Marketing Department have put a lot of effort into developing enhanced occupancy reports and commissioning customer surveys.MTRiP “is exponentially building on the level of marketing intelligence we have,” Tomcich said.The main component of MTRiP, the Reservation Activity Report, released monthly, reports room bookings, revenue, room rates and advance booking data from about 18 Western resorts. It shows who is up or down and uses a variety of charts and graphs to highlight patterns. By analyzing booking patterns, a resort can decide whether to use print or online media in its next marketing campaign, for example.”With this, we can identify holes in future bookings and use that to develop marketing initiatives to fill up town,” Tomcich said. “It’s really all about gathering information about how future trends are shaping up, not only about how you are doing as a resort but how the leisure industry is doing overall.”

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