What You Ought to Know About Destination Mountain Travel...
Sept. 11, 2015
Ski Industry
Vail Resorts, Breckenridge reach agreement on lift ticket tax
Vail Resorts and the town of Breckenridge have reached an agreement on a November ballot measure that will ask the town's voters to approve long-term funding for parking projects through a tax on winter-only lift tickets, but not season passes.
The deal drops Vail Resorts' wildly successful Epic Pass from the tax plan to impose a 4.5 percent tax on lift tickets to raise money to support the town's parking and transit projects.
Vail Resorts is guaranteeing the tax will raise at least $3.5 million a year for the town.  That's less than what the town hoped to raise for a transit plan that town leaders projected to cost $4 million to $6 million a year.

 Source:  The Denver Post 
That ski towns attract wealth is a pretty obvious reality, but when looking at a list of the richest small towns in America, as compiled by Bloomberg Business, it's still notable just how much of the list is occupied by areas associated with skiing. All of Bloomberg's Top 10 are travel destinations, but only three have no ties to skiing. Bloomberg looked exclusively at what the U.S. Census Bureau termsmicropolitan areas, which cluster around urban centers of about 10,000 to 50,000 people. Leading the pack was Summit Park, Utah, home of North America's newest mega-resortPark City.
Source:  Ski Curbed. 
Ski area upgrades: Less showy for 2015-16 
Like it or not, snowmaking at Summit County ski areas will be underway in a matter of weeks.
In the meantime, local resorts are putting the finishing touches on their annual round of upgrades.
This year's changes might not be as obvious to skiers and snowboarders as in 2014-15, when Arapahoe Basin Ski Area's $2.3 million kids center became the fourth building in its base area, Breckenridge Ski Resort put in a higher-capacity Colorado Superchair and Loveland Ski Area constructed an on-mountain cabin. Vail Resorts is focused on Utah this year as it integrates the resort formerly known as Canyons into one unified Park City.

Source:  Summit Daily.     Read More... 
Movers and shakers within the snow-sports industry sent a letter to President Barack Obamaon Tuesday expressing their unified support for global action on climate change.
The three trade groups behind the letter - Snowsports Industries America, The National Ski Areas Association and the nonprofit Protect Our Winters - sent the message in order to urge action at November's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
"Your work is critical in moving our country toward a clean-energy economy, driving innovation and economic growth and helping us improve our resiliency over the long term," the letter says.  The letter is symbolic of an industry in peril, with the Paris conference as a sort of last hope for effective policy.
Source: The Aspen Times.     Read More... 
Destination Tourism
Drivers can avoid I70 traffic, for a price
Buddy Watkins, a Colorado native and current Arvada resident, has been traveling up I-70 to the high country as long as he can remember.
"I've lived here all my life, and when I was 10, 11 years old, there was nobody up here," Watkins said. "And now, in the last 10 years, it just blew up. Just way too many people around, in this state."
On Saturday, Watkins drove up to go fly fishing. He says the key to fishing is the same skill needed to tackle I-70's traffic woes.
"Patience. A lot of patience," he said. "Sometimes it takes longer to get up here then to catch a fish, you know what I mean?"
Source:  9 News.     Read More...  
Tahoe-Truckee resorts partnering more to provide cross-region travel incentive
Squaw ValleyThe recent announcement by Sugar Bowl Resort that its 2015-16 season pass will provide access to Woodward Tahoe is the latest example of a trend that has been sweeping mountain resort businesses for several years: cross-promotion. For the upcoming winter, a season pass to Sugar Bowl also means you'll get a few day tickets to Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, along with some at Woodward, which is located at Boreal Mountain Resort.  Woodward Tahoe is marketed as the Tahoe-area's freestyle training center, offering trampolines, foam pits, an indoor skatepark, pump track, and launch pads for park skis and park boards. Both are located within 10 minutes of one another on Donner Summit
Source:  Tahoe Daily Tribune. 
Summer is winding down in Alberta and Tourism Calgary is launching a major US marketing campaign to entice American tourists to consider spending their higher dollars here.
For many Canadians the lower loonie has kept them at home this summer and many are taking advantage of Alberta's local attractions.
For the first time, the Lugg family bought a season pass to Calaway Park and Cam and Jen say they believe they've gotten their money's worth this year.
"We've been coming six or seven times this year," said Jen.  "It's a nice way to get out of the city and the kids to have a lot of fun," said Cam.
Attendance numbers show that many people were looking for affordable things to do locally this summer in response to the lower Canadian dollar.

Source:  CTV News Calgary. 
Lodging Industry
Global professional development association, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), is prepared to launch the first-ever hospitality industry search engine at their 2015 Annual Convention & Tradeshow October 21-24 in Bellevue, Wash. USA. The site, PineappleSearch.com, has aggregated material specific to the hospitality industry, placing importance on informational results such as white papers, articles, journals and more. 
"HFTP, in conjunction with HSyndicate, is extremely excited for the launch of PineappleSearch.com," explains HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe, CAE. "Searchers will not have to wade through hundreds of results on unrelated topics to find information they are for. The engine will truly be a game changer for the industry."

Source:  Hotel News Resource. 
Reviewing TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals
In "What's Going on With TripAdvisor: Part 1" we discussed a sampling of the complaints vacation rental managers are reporting about TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals (formerly known as FlipKey).
In Part 2, we examine additional problems experienced by vacation rental managers in recent months, along with the reported lack of rate parity between professional managers and individual homeowners and the ways TripAdvisor handles vacation rental reviews differently than hotels, restaurants and attractions -along with the negative impact of these issues on vacation rental management companies.
More customer support and technology issues
Like Justin Ford, Amy Gaster, co-founder of Tybee Vacation Rentals in Tybee Island, GA, recently decided not to renew their contract for over 200 property listings with TripAdvisor.
Source:  VRM Intel.   Read More... 
Airline Industry
Expedia Investing Millions to Better Sell Airline Tickets
Many online travel agencies such as Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity over the years scurried to wean themselves away from their previous dependence on selling airline tickets in favor of a higher-margin hotel business but now Expedia wants to lean back a bit to reemphasize the sale of flights.
Following Expedia's agreement last week with American Airlines Group to begin selling American's Main Cabin Extra and Preferred Seats later this year, Greg Schulze, Expedia Inc.'s senior vice president of global tour and transport, tells Skift that Expedia plans to be selling additional airlines' branded fares by the end of 2015, giving customers new options to compare them so they can better understand what they're getting.
Source:  Skift.com   Read More... 
Jobs Report Gives Ammunition to Both Sides of Fed Rate Debate
Despite disappointing job growth last month, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since early 2008, sharpening the debate within theFederal Reserve over whether to raise interest rates when policy makers meet in two weeks.
Friday's report from the Labor Department - which found that employers added a weaker-than-expected 173,000 jobs in August while the official jobless rate dipped to 5.1 percent - provided fodder for both camps to make their cases.
The slowdown in job growth and the absence of any significant wage pressure could strengthen the arguments of those who see little risk in keeping borrowing costs exceptionally low and waiting not just for more encouraging data but also for unruly markets to settle down.
Source:  NY Times.com  
The Importance of Travel & Tourism to the Global Economy
The growth of the travel and tourism industry in recent years has been staggering. International passenger numbers are expected to rise to 1.5 billion in 2017 with 292 million additional passengers. The industry now supports 1 in 11 jobs worldwide.
The way we live is changing and the industry no longer relies on affluent people paying exorbitant prices for their holidays, or honeymooners spending to excess in some exotic paradise. In 2015, holidays are much more affordable for the average person, and as a result the majority of people plan at least one holiday a year.
Source:  Hospitality Net.  
Save the Date...

The ASSEMBLY & DestiMetrics are  pleased to announce their 4th annual conference will be held on January 29, 2016 in Denver, once again co-located with the SIA SnowShow.  This year's ASSEMBLY will focus on Destination Mountain Summer and the peaks and valleys of our seasonal mountain economy, where peaks require management and mitigation, while the valleys can be better marketed. 
With an overarching theme of Collaborating for Year-Round Mountain Tourism, The ASSEMBLY will make a distinct shift at this year's event to focus on summer mountain tourism.  The mountain travel industry continues to be dependent upon winter snow sports, but summer tourism is growing rapidly and there is currently no forum dedicated to the growth and impact of summer tourism on mountain economies.
Mark your calendar now...
The 2016 Agenda is currently being developed but in the meantime, click here to take a look back at last year's Agenda and speakers. 
Upcoming presentations and appearances



September 13 - 15

2015 Colorado Governor's Tourism Conference

Crested Butte, CO


September 22

Camp 9600

Breckenridge, CO


October 1 -2

CRADR Fall Meeting

Canyons Resort, UT


October 6

 Summit County COO Breakfast

Summit County, CO


October 9

Steamboat Springs Economic Summit

Steamboat Springs, CO


October 25 - 28

Vacation Rental Managers Association Annual Conference

New Orleans, LA 


November 8 - 12

Springer Miller Systems Host Users Group Conference

Bend, OR 


December 15

Vail Town Council/VEAC

Vail, CO


January 29

The Assembly 2016

Denver, CO


Note: If you're planning on attending any of these events and would like to schedule a time to meet, please contact Katie Barnes at kbarnes@destimetrics.com or 
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 Volume 70