You are surely following the news regarding COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus. Eagle County Public Health and its partners within the health care system are ensuring the community is prepared for COVID-19.
We encourage you to visit http://www.ecemergency.org/ for the latest local information.
We want our community to be prepared for the arrival of COVID-19. Eagle County Public Health has put together a resource page from the most trusted sources to help you learn more about precautions you and your family can take, what to do if you get sick, and what you can do if you are an employer, at www.eaglecounty.us/COVID19. Please access the latest information at this site.
The Colorado Health Emergency Line, or CO Help, has been setup to provide information about COVID-19, call 1-877-462-2911 with questions. Language interpretation is available.
Additional business resources including a FEMA continuality of operations can be found here: https://www.vailvalleypartnership.com/2020/03/coronavirus-vail-valley-business-resources-and-information/ and information on ensuring a safe work environment (including information for hospitality organizations) can be found here: https://www.vailvalleypartnership.com/2020/03/how-to-ensure-a-healthy-work-environment/
We also encourage you to share the following video from Eagle County Public Health & Environment Director Heath Harmon in which he provides information on county efforts to prepare for the Coronavirus: https://vimeo.com/395820759
What’s it all mean for our tourism economy and our business community?
Fueled by social media, consumers will react irrationally because it is what consumers do. We are already seeing shelves in stores being cleared of essentials, and vacations will be canceled. But consumers will also realize that life goes on and adapt to the new normal. There will be (to be determined) impacts, but the world – much like after 9-11 and in 2009 – keeps spinning.
It should be expected that companies will cut back on corporate travel. First, to reduce the exposure for their employees and to minimize the risk of entire offices being shut down due to infected staff. But cutting travel also allows companies to save cost, which they may need to do to recover from the expected financial losses caused by the crisis.
Our partners at Inntopia report the following:
Based on how consumers behave and what we’ve seen in the marketplace under other stress conditions, we can suggest some likely performance scenarios, under the assumption that COVID-19 continues to spread as expected, and that the economy will continue to see instability in the mid-term, also as expected.
Guests: International vs Domestic
In the category of “no kidding”, destinations with larger international guest bases, such as those in the Southeast region of the US or the more elite mountain destinations in the West, will likely be impacted more significantly by travel bans or fear of travel than those destinations that rely more heavily on a drive market. This is likely to be true irrespective of whether those destinations’ primary source markets are impacted by incidence of Covid-19 or not. In the end, the further and more confined the travel, the more challenging attracting the guest will be.
US travel consumers intending to go abroad this year are more likely to cancel or not book at all and stay domestically if they choose to travel. This will create an opportunity for US destinations to pick up more domestic travelers, partially offsetting international visitation losses.
Drive vs Pure Destinations
This is the domestic version of Staying Domestic above, but in the ‘drive vs pure’ destination context. Domestic drive destinations will get a relative boost over domestic pure destinations, with pure destination consumers shifting to drive markets as they forego long-haul mass transport. While it’s obvious that not all long-haul travelers will shift, what we won’t really know is how many replace their with long-haul travel to short haul / drive travel or if they will cancel completely
Group vs FIT
Properties or destinations that rely heavily on group, conference and corporate bookings are likely to feel the effects sooner and more strongly than those with fewer group stays. Group stays may be subject to cancellation by operators, the buying group itself, or individuals dropping out of the group stay resulting in cancelled rooms. In an early indication, many corporations have already instituted non-essential travel restrictions for staff.
Easier to Cancel…Depending
Properties – and some insurance providers – will be relaxing restrictions around cancellations in an act of goodwill, preferring to rebook or fully refund rather than force payment, in full or part. But as the situation develops, also expect insurance companies to stop covering COVID-19 cancellations booked after a certain date.
Properties and property managers with single family units, as opposed to condominium or hotel / motel units, may fare better as travelers look for a more isolated travel experience away from common areas.
Destinations that rely heavily upon theme parks and other high-volume recreation areas are likely to be more heavily impacted than destinations that rely more heavily on outdoor, non-group activities.
We encourage local businesses to remain diligent and follow the lead of our public health officials. We will communicate with our members but please reach out to us at any time if we can be of assistance in any way.
Chris Romer, ACE, IOM
President & CEO
Vail Valley Partnership
[D] 970.477.4016 | [O] 970.476.1000
97 Main Street, Ste. E-201, Edwards, CO 81632
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