Vail hosts travel writers and editors for Travel Classics West conference
Beginning Thursday, September 22, the City of Vail hosted the 28e Travel Classics West annual conference, bringing together approximately 55 editors and writers from publications such as National Geographic Travel, Condé Nast Traveler and AFAR.
“The Vail Local Marketing District is really responsible for promoting the destination during the mostly non-ski months – that’s their primary focus – and so, one of the reasons we have this group of writers right now is that they can really see Vail in the fall, which is an opportunity for us to improve and promote this time of year,” said Kristin Yantis, owner of Malen Yantis Public Relations, who represents the city’s marketing district.
“Destinations around the world are vying to host this event in their region and we are truly fortunate to be able to have such a large group of travel writers here who we can inspire to hopefully write stories on the road. “
Throughout the week, the conference — taking place at the Grand Hyatt in Vail — offers attendees the opportunity to network with each other and attend closed-door sessions and discussions, as well as engage with the community. destination itself.
Vail has been a sponsor of three previous Travel Classics conferences elsewhere, which has provided the city with access and an opportunity to network with travel writers in the past. However, the goal has always been to host the event in Vail, Yantis said.
“This conference is traveling all over the world and it is a real honor to be able to host this conference in any destination,” said Yantis. “We started attending this conference about three years ago and we know the quality of the media and publishers who attend this conference, so we knew that ultimately we wanted to bring this conference to Vail to be able to present what the destination is about this very important group of editors and travel writers.
Past destinations for the event have included Whistler, BC, Scottsdale, Arizona and Lausanne, Switzerland.
During the three-day conference, Vail endeavored to give writers the opportunity to “discover what it is to visit Vail and experience Vail.”
That included Friday night hosting a dinner at the Four Seasons — with a presentation from Mayor Kim Langmaid — as well as a historic tour of Vail Village, led by the Colorado Snowsports Museum.
“We have different partners who have created activations around the Village so we can tell them the story of Vail. I think one of the biggest questions we always get, one of the most popular questions is, ‘Why is Vail a Bavarian village?’ Yantis said. “So we wanted them to experience the village, have the opportunity to walk around the village and hear first hand from the volunteers at the Snow Sports Museum, the real authentic story of this area.”
Additionally, members of the Colorado Tourist Board will host the group Saturday night at 4 Eagle Ranch. And while attendees had the opportunity to experience Vail on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, many conference attendees also arrived early or plan to stay after for other experiences and trips in the Valley.
Activities and opportunities presented to attendees included a llamas hike for lunch with Paragon guides, dinner at restaurants in Vail Village, a photography tour of the mountains around Vail, the Sunday Farmer’s Market, the first ascent for the weather on Saturdays, mountain bike rentals, guided hiking tours and more.
“We gave them a wide variety of options to give them a general idea of all the amazing things you can do while visiting Vail,” Yantis said.
“We want to highlight unique aspects of the Vail experience that they would find interesting to go back and write stories about.”
While the event is hosted by the City of Vail and the local Marketing District, Yantis said it was truly a “community effort” to bring those Vail experiences to attendees.
“We brought in many different partners to make this possible. We have different hotels and restaurants that have been part of the pre- and post-visits,” she said. “It’s really a community-wide effort that our lodging community, our restaurant community has really supported, understanding what an important group this is.”
And I hope the conference brings benefits to the city in the “weeks and months to come as stories start to emerge,” Yantis said.
“The overall benefit, in the long run, is a lot of positive publicity about the destination, which in turn encourages people to travel here as they look for opportunities and different destinations they can visit,” she added. .
Vail Marketing looks to the future
This conference represents one of the city’s public relations efforts to promote Vail as a destination, part of a comprehensive suite of operations, programs and initiatives led by the Local Marketing District. On Tuesday, September 20, the Vail City Council met as the Marketing District Board to approve the district. operating plan 2023.
As we approach 2023, the marketing district will seek to continue to optimize visits for its “target guests” – who are defined as “affluent” people between the ages of 45 and 64, married with older children and active. with a craving for luxury and arts and cultural events. It seeks to increase the quality of its data to optimize content and “improve customer engagement and loyalty”; embrace the concept of destination stewardship to protect Vail’s natural assets while enhancing the guest experience; and position Vail as unique from other hill station communities.
While the district’s budget for 2023 will be approved in December 2022 as part of the city’s annual budget process, it is expected to be approximately $4.7 million, a decrease of $155,964 from 2022.
To achieve these goals, the marketing district intends to continue its “Life is but a dream” marketing campaign, which it launched in 2022. The campaign is designed to encourage guests and visitors to live their dreams in Vail. This message, as presented in the September 20 campaign, may also be incorporated into the destination’s stewardship plan when completed.
“I think Vail being a world leader in destination stewardship and really trying to understand what that means and getting the systems in place is not an easy task for the communications team. It’s really a challenge and people all over the world are trying to figure that out,” Langmaid said.
“I encourage us to think about the circular economy when it comes to marketing because we spend all this money to bring people here, so how do we keep it that well through destination stewardship and maintaining the quality of the experience and the trails and the wildlife – all of those things that make Vail so special and unique. It’s just an important thing to think about,” she added.