Monday, June 11, 2012

Snowmass tourism effort promotes ties to Aspen

Snowmass Village is adopting an ad campaign that capitalizes on its proximity to the more recognized Aspen, the Aspen Daily News reports.
Snowmass Village Councilman John Wilkinson often draws blank stares at other ski resorts, even in Colorado, when he tells fellow skiers where he resides. But mention Aspen and it’s instant recognition, he said.
Snowmass tourism officials know the feeling. Last week, Susan Hamley, director of the town’s Snowmass Tourism office, unveiled a new advertising campaign that will tout the variety of activities not just in the village but also in Aspen and elsewhere in the valley. One potential ad Hamley displayed to Town Council on May 21 features a photo of the Belly Up, the popular concert venue in Aspen. The advert "plays up what we have here in Snowmass, what we have with our partners in Aspen and what you can get in the valley", Hamley said. "We mention Aspen in the copy as well, saying that the combination of these two neighbors is powerful". But Hamley said in an email that the effort should not be construed as the town "abandoning our own identity".
The town’s advisory board on marketing, events and group sales voted unanimously to establish a closer tie-in with its better-known neighbor, the board’s chairman, Robert Sinko, told Town Council. Sinko is general manager of the Crestwood Condominiums.
Hugh Templeman, general manager of the Viceroy Snowmass hotel, said positioning the resort with Aspen will be a strong step forward. "The board made a big decision in recent meetings to align ourselves much more tightly with Aspen, location-wise", said Templeman, who spoke before Town Council as a representative of the lodging industry on the marketing advisory board. "So you see that [result] in the advertising ... because we felt that was the smartest way to grow our process going forward".
The goal of the new campaign "is to give guests all the options they can enjoy while staying in Snowmass, which can even include a stop at the Hot Springs pool" in Glenwood Springs, Hamley said. "So when they weigh Snowmass against other Colorado resorts in their decision-making process, we have a far bigger offering".
Councilman Jason Haber said using the synergy between the two resorts is sensible. "In a way, Snowmass exists because of that relationship to Aspen", he said. "From a branding and marketing standpoint, it makes sense to tap into that recognition".
"What we were told is that it’s a no-brainer to partner with Aspen, but Snowmass is a unique place",  Wilkinson said. "It’s a family resort, easy to get to, has ski-in, ski-out [accommodation]. Aspen has the reputation, we have the skiing". Wilkinson said he understands tying Snowmass to Aspen (the ski area’s original name, in 1964, was Snowmass-at-Aspen) to alleviate those blank stares he usually gets around the state and elsewhere. "I get that part of it", he said. "I think it could work well with both resorts. There’s a synergistic effect there that, with the resort as a whole with Buttermilk and Highlands, once people realized that they’re all connected by one lift ticket, they’d say, ‘OK, I get it’".

I think tis is a valuable lesson to be learned by many ski resorts worlwide who live in the shadow of big ones.

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