Updated: August 9, 2011 at 12:00 am
VAIL — It's not a coincidence that the upscale Mexican visitors that come to Vail every winter are back this summer.
While there aren't any numbers available to quantify just how much Mexican business has increased this summer, Vail Mountain Marketing Director Adam Sutner said there's no question that it's on the rise.
Sutner wouldn't release the exact percent increase in Mexican business this past winter, but did say it was up "significantly."
He thinks the summer success with the Mexico market is partially because of momentum — it was the best snow year in Vail's history — that carried over from winter.
Sutner, who also sits on the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council, the group responsible for marketing initiatives to promote Vail in the spring, summer and fall, said Vail Resorts and the Marketing District have invested a lot of money into bringing Mexican visitors to Vail.
There's a summer marketing brochure distributed through Mexican travel companies, and Vail's Spanish-language website, www.destinovail.com, has been converted over to a summer message.
Vail Resorts has also been working with the Marketing District Advisory Council to bring some of Mexico's most influential people to Vail as ambassadors, said Vail Resorts International Communications Manager Pat Barrett.
The resort and the town recently hosted some famous faces from Mexico — socialites, TV stars and journalists — so they could experience what Vail is like in the summertime, and more importantly, convince the upscale Mexican market to come here.
A big story recently came out in Quien magazine, Mexico's equivalent of People Magazine, featuring Vail.
Karla Rojo de la Vega, a prominent Mexican socialite, said in the story that she loved getting to know Vail in the summertime.
"There's so many activities to do, and it's possible to know Vail even better in the summertime," Rojo de la Vega was quoted as saying in Spanish in the Quien article. "It was truly beautiful."
Barrett said that's the kind of exposure Vail is looking for in Mexico.
"It's key to show these influential-type people from Mexico. It speaks really well to that audience," Barrett said. "It's a market that's hugely valuable to Vail — the community and to Vail Resorts. We enjoy having them here."
And they enjoy coming here. There's a reason that wealthy Mexicans choose Vail over other posh ski resorts like Aspen or Deer Valley. Traveling to Vail has become a tradition for many families, and the tradition is becoming more of a year-round affair.
Mexican business has grown over the last five years, Sutner said. One reason that business is so cherished is because the average Mexican family coming to Vail spends a lot of money.
Vail Resorts just embarked on its first research initiative in Mexico, too. The company paid for a study in Mexico City and in Monterey and spoke to more than 50 people from its Mexican target audience in a focus group setting.
The goal was to understand what drives them when purchasing a vacation.
"It will serve to raise our understanding of the drivers of that market," Sutner said.
One thing Sutner said was confirmed is that the travel agent market is very important in Mexico. Certain families and cliques deal with certain travel agencies to book vacations, and there are about three major agencies that Vail Resorts has developed a strong relationship with over the years.
The spike in growth caused the ski company to take notice.
"It's good due diligence, as a marketer, from time to time to take a deep dive into your market to understand what's changed and what's trended," Sutner said. "Whether they're coming or not, we want to understand why and what's driving it."