Destination Marketing Association International defines destination marketing organizations (DMOs) as organizations charged with representing a specific destination and helping the long-term development of communities through a travel and tourism strategy.
In the Vail Valley, we are fortunate to have a number of organizations that fulfill a role in the areas of destination marketing and promotion of our towns and resorts. Vail Resorts (Vail and Beaver Creek), Vail Local Marketing District, Vail Valley Foundation and many other groups help drive visitors to our lodges and guests to our businesses. Each organization and company plays an important role in our community’s economy.
Vail Valley Partnership (VVP) also fills an important role as the Destination Marketing Organization for the entire valley, representing all our communities and all our various attractions, lodging properties and activities. These efforts support and supplement the brand efforts led by Vail Resorts, Beaver Creek Resort Company and Vail Local Marketing District.
Tourism promotion efforts led by Vail Valley Partnership encompass our group & leisure sales efforts and include production of Visit Vail Valley, The Official Visitor’s Guide to the Vail Valley and managing our valley-wide tourism information website, VisitVailValley.com, as well as a robust online, year-round lodging booking engine, VailonSale.com. The Partnership’s destination sales & marketing efforts resulted in $74,000,000+ of direct spending in the Eagle River Valley and $4,500,000 in state and local tax revenue in 2013.
Tourism is our economic driver, largest employment sector and most of our economy depends on a strong tourism sector. Many professional service businesses that thrive in the Vail Valley service businesses that are dependent on a vibrant visitor economy, so most businesses are no more than one step removed from tourism even if they are not directly in the tourism business.
Vail Valley Partnership is involved and engaged in a number of regional efforts, including working closely with the Colorado Tourism Office and the Tourism Industry Association of Colorado. This regional focus helps ensure that our destination remains top of mind with the state’s efforts and within the state legislature. These advocacy efforts – constantly stressing the importance of tourism to not only our area, but to the state of Colorado – ultimately benefit our communities.
VVP serves as an official point of contact for group, meeting, wedding, sporting event and, of course, leisure travelers within the scope of destination marketing and our role as the regional destination marketing organization. Most important – and a role not filled by the other organizations helping promote our area – Vail Valley Partnership assists planners with meeting preparation and site selection with a focus on the spring, summer and fall seasons when our lodging occupancy tends to drop a bit, especially mid-week. Groups and meetings will remain a key focus to increasing our visitor base during these key growth periods.
Some statistics on the importance of DMOs, such as Vail Valley Partnership, when it comes to group and meeting business (courtesy of Destination Marketing Association International research):
• DMOs influenced 21%, or 1-in-5, of all group room demand in 2012. This represents more than 38 million group room nights that occurred in 2012 as a result of DMO sales and marketing efforts, a 3.1% increase over 2011 results.
• In 2012, DMOs booked 39 million group room nights for future events, representing growth of 4.9% over 2011 bookings.
• DMO channel room bookings for future events exceeded the level of room nights consumed in the DMO channel. This indicates that the value of the DMO channel is on an upward trend.
Our group sales team helps coordinate meetings, business retreats, weddings and sporting events. We actively promote the valley as a top meeting location, traveling to our top destination markets including Dallas, Houston, New York and Chicago and keeping a constant presence in the Front Range. Groups and meetings play an integral part of our tourism economy.
Groups and meetings are a key ingredient to creating a strong and vibrant tourism economy and a strong business community in the non-ski months. If you are not a member of the Vail Valley Partnership, consider joining over 800 other businesses in supporting our destination marketing (and business to business) efforts.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership.