Snowmass Election Q&A: Candidates sound off on summer biz
October 21, 2014
Six candidates are running for Snowmass elected office this year — three for mayor and three for two open seats on Town Council. The Snowmass Sun is posing a different question to them every week leading up to the election, which is Nov. 4.
This week's question: Snowmass is coming off of a record summer for sales and occupancy. What do you think the council's role is in continuing that economic success?
Snowmass Tourism achieved phenomenal success this past summer in occupancy and sales. Thanks Staff and Thanks Board! You Nailed It!
As Council, our role through this entire process — from business plan approval, to execution and review of the results — is to listen and "vet" the annual business plan at the time it is submitted, and then to approve the budget to achieve the occupancy and sales milestones.
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Going forward, our staff needs the tool-kit of multiple lodging and conference options to be successful, our own history shows this recipe has proven results. The next phase of our Base Village provides for a "mid-price" hotel, aka the Limelight, in addition to the Viceroy and the "unnamed" lodging product at our Base. Moreover, our merchants need to have positive financial gains, as these past few years have been an economic struggle. For those with the goal of working in our Town, employment opportunities will be further enhanced by these amenities.
As your next Mayor, my goal is to listen, learn and ask constructive questions as needed. I intend aid the discussion to help weigh community benefits and opinions with staff needs, I do not have an agenda of my own. I want the Board and staff to know they have my full support!
The council's role is to provide balanced leadership in adopting policy and making land-use decisions, approving budgets and providing essential services to support our vision of being both a world-class resort, and a world-class place to live.
The council should engage town staff and our advisory boards, the business community and the community-at-large, while working with the skiing company and base village developers to establish a well-defined summer identity for Snowmass. Our growing network of mountain bike trails and recent ice age discovery offer two world-class differentiators to set Snowmass apart.
The council is responsible for appointing well-qualified individuals to our tourism board, and for giving them the resources to create and execute a plan that develops tourism to the benefit of the entire town. We should continue to support partnerships and events that leverage our tourism investments through broad appeal and exposure, while working to develop more permanent year-round attractions to draw families and other target demographics to Snowmass.
Finally, the council should continue to support affordable employee housing and our public transportation system in order to satisfy the workforce needs of our resort- and community-serving businesses. These assets are critical to our economy and our ability to provide the high level of customer services required to generate repeat business.
I see Council's role in continuing the economic success of our Village as fostering a dynamic, vibrant place to which our guests want to come. Most visitors don't want to come to a place where there are dormant, unfinished buildings. We can create excitement over what's coming to the Village by way of new residential product for sale and for short and long term rental. The new product can create vibrancy by touting how it allows for the expansion of our dining and shopping experience.
Council should avoid micro managing the Marketing, Special Events and Group Sales department, but should engage in an ongoing dialogue with it about how our tax dollars are spent. We should encourage the expansion of events which bring the greatest number of visitors to the Village and motivate that department to try new and additional events.
Council should foster an attitude that we want visitors, as opposed to an attitude that we tolerate them as an unwelcomed necessity.
The council needs to continue leading the discussion about where marketing dollars are best used to manage programs and allow the board and staff the flexibility to do their work without too much micro-management from the council. The council has the responsibility to help set goals, directions and policies. It is also important to work with staff and board members to accomplish the goals set in the annual business plan. We need to be smart enough to stay out of the way and let the staff and Marketing / Group Sales board members continue doing their work. From time to time I will receive a call from a group sales or marketing staff member to attend a welcoming or opening assembly and groups attending to see if Snowmass Village would be a good environment to have a conference. During these events I like to state that Snowmass Village takes pride in how we the community and resort hosts these attendees, expecting them to find Snowmass Village a location they will want to return to for a future vacation with their families.
The Marketing, Special Events & Group Sales Board and the Marketing, Tourism and Group Sales Department did an excellent job collaborating to fill the summer calendar with events that brought people to Snowmass Village. I applaud their efforts and as a member of the Town Council I would like to support their plans for the future. I have been in the event marketing business for 25 years so I understand the time and energy necessary to develop successful events. It is important that the council appreciates the hard work of the staff and supports their efforts to bring groups to our village. The event business is evolving and we need to continue to court groups that put heads on beds, get people in restaurants and customers in the stores. I feel strongly that Snowmass Village is the ultimate group destination and as a council member I will lend my experience where needed, but I believe the council's role is to support the staff and the board so that they have the resources necessary to meet the needs of our guests.
For the past two summer seasons, the Snowmass Village Marketing Board has worked hard to increase the Town's economy during the summer season. Fred Brodsky and the marketing staff should be commended for the great job they did this summer executing our summer events.
Town Council's role with the Marketing Board is to approve the business plan and budget for Marketing and Group Sales. If elected, I would use my experience as a corporate CFO to review the business plan and budget to get the greatest return for our tax dollars. I would encourage the Town Manger and our new Marketing Director, Rose Abello, to increase coordination and look for opportunities to joint venture between the Town and Marketing Board. I would work to encourage the Council to continue to be supportive of the work of the Marketing Board and Group Sales.
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