Sparks fly over delay of new software for Stay Aspen Snowmass |

Sparks fly over delay of new software for Stay Aspen Snowmass

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

A Snowmass Village marketing board meeting last week turned heated when it was announced that a software update for central reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass was behind deadline.

Stay Aspen Snowmass has been planning to upgrade its roughly decade-old software, which it owns the rights to, for some time, and about a year ago selected a company called Inntopia, the reservation platform most western mountain resorts are using now.

The platform was supposed to go live April 28; however, earlier last week, representatives of Inntopia and SAS agreed that some delays in the project have made that deadline unrealistic, said Bill Tomcich, president of SAS.

That was not enough for board chairman John Borthwick, who has advocated for an update to the reservations model since 2013. Tomcich had told the board last summer that there would be a partner kickoff meeting on Feb. 6, and Borthwick questioned why the board was just finding out about the delay on Feb. 5.

“I can’t understand where the time has gone and what people have been doing,” Borthwick said.

Inntopia, which Aspen Skiing Co. became a partial owner of last year along with Intrawest and majority holder Northstar Travel Media, has taken on a lot of projects since that acquisition, Tomcich said. Christian Knapp, board member and vice president of marketing for Skico, added that the small company is under-resourced.

Inntopia is conducting a gap analysis — determining the disparity between SAS’s current platform and what the company can provide. Snowmass Tourism is particularly interested in the update because it will add the ability for users to package lodging, activities, equipment rentals and other travel needs all through the SAS website, said Director Rose Abello.

Borthwick said he thought the gap analysis had started last year. He’s concerned that Aspen/Snowmass isn’t keeping up with other resorts in its competitive set on its technology and ability to reach certain customers, such as tour operators, with packaging.

While there might be some opportunity cost, the town is not paying for the upgrade, and guests are still able to make reservations as they always have, Abello said.

“The sky is not falling,” she said.

Inntopia hasn’t set a new deadline, Tomcich said, but he expects the platform to be ready to go live sometime this summer. However, SAS wouldn’t try to implement it until a nonpeak period, such as after the Food & Wine Classic or later.

“It is critical” that there be no hindrances to guests’ ability to make reservations for ski season, Abello said.

“They know what they’re doing,” Tomcich said. “They’ve done this before.”

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