Recent snow boosts Vail bookings
Aspen, CO Colorado
VAIL ” It’s the snow, stupid.
There’s some truth to that adage, according Scott Gubrud, director of sales and marketing for Park Hyatt Beaver Creek.
“The day you get a Broncos game on Monday night, and it snows a big snow, the phones go crazy the next day,” Gubrud said. “It definitely has an impact on phone volume.”
Unfortunately, the Broncos don’t play another Monday night game at home.
Vail-area hotels are reporting an increase in reservations since the area’s recent snowfalls, but most also say they’re still behind compared to previous years.
Antlers Condominiums General Manager Rob LeVine said he’s seen $50,000 in bookings in the last two days ” a standard rate for normal years, but the hotel is still behind.
“That’s on par for a normal year,” he said. “We’ve had a good couple days. We’re not catching up, but sure, the snow helps.”
Bookings are still significantly behind 2007, which LeVine called an “exceptional year,” but are about the same as 2004 and 2005.
Vail Cascade reported a 10 percent increase in bookings for the past week, said Matt Martinucci, the hotel’s regional director of sales and market.
“It’s welcome news,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s quite enough to start feeling good about the season.”
Still, the snow definitely helps, and the phones are busier after a good snowfall, he said.
“When it snows, people are reminded how great Colorado is and realize that all of this (tough economy) will pass,” he said.
However, while experts and ski analysts have said that if the snow is good, that skiers will come, regardless of the economy, some resort businesses are hesitant to be optimistic.
“We need to have good snow to even have a chance,” Martinucci said. “It will get people excited and thinking about coming up to the mountains. However, what we’re hearing about the economy isn’t going to go away quickly just because of some snow.”
Gubrud said he thinks some of the increase in bookings might have to do with deals that businesses are offering to draw visitors.
The Park Hyatt has a “buy three-nights get the fourth free” deal, for example. Also, many airlines are offering good deals on airfare, Gubrud said.
Historically, great snow does mean a good business year, said Kelli McDonald, the town of Vail’s economic development manager.
However, with the unique economic struggles, many are wondering if those historical trends will repeat themselves, she said.
Chris Romer, director of sales and marketing at the Vail Valley Partnership, agreed that this year may not follow any of the historical trends.
However, the organization’s booking data, based on samples of reservations made across the valley, show that early November bookings were up three times, compared to late October.
Snow might have something to do with it, he said.
“For the hard-core skier, the passionate skier, its an emotional connection,” Romer said. “When there’s a lot of snow or a big storm, it gets them emotionally invested to get on the phone and make a reservation. But this year, things might be very different due to other factors.”
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