Antlers Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor

Antlers at Vail Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor

Antlers at Vail Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor

It was just about a year ago that we decided to execute a Reputation Management strategy. We made a decision to really put ourselves out there to be judged by our guests, actively soliciting guest feedback and TripAdvisor reviews from all of our valued guests. I, for one, was a little nervous executing the plan. The first step was to make sure all of the front line employees knew the plan and were on board with it. There was not a single objection and we moved forward.

In 2015 we received 253 reviews versus 133 in 2014, almost doubling our reviews pace. Our average TripAdvisor rating increased from 4.54 in 2014 to 4.70 in 2015 (thanks to owner support of a quality improvement plan). And then, just this week we moved from the #2 ranking in Vail’s Specialty Lodging category to #1 — WOO-HOO!

We expected to see a benefit to our business from the increased focus on Reputation Management but I think the most surprising impact has been showing us where we can improve business processes. Going into this, I thought that we had a great staff and culture and by just making sure to be on our game that we could see these types of results, especially with all of the condominium improvements to which the owners had committed. But the largest benefit has probably been having guests point out areas that we hadn’t thought about improving. We received a negative review a few months back from a guest who had left behind a hat that was important to her. She contacted us and we did our best to locate it, but to no avail. It was an eye opener as to the fact that our lost and found process needed improvement. Some items ended up in housekeeping and others at the front desk. Our newest member of the housekeeping department, who is now Executive Housekeeper, took initiative and created a process where every item found in a room (or anywhere else), goes to her with the date and location of where it was found. It’s working – our “completion rate” at returning items which are left at the Antlers and found by a staff member is approaching 100%!

Thanks so much to our Antlers guests for helping us achieve this ranking of #1 on TripAdvisor — we know we couldn’t have gotten there without you sharing your positive experiences and providing feedback on how we can improve. And, last but not least, a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our owners who have made tremendous investments improving their condominiums over the past two years. In July we were designated as an overall platinum-rated property and owners continue to raise the bar. Keep your eyes out for upcoming photos of a renovation just completed last month that is really over the top!

Giving Back

Our Antlers team is very fortunate to be able to work for an organization with a culture that values staff empowerment and giving back. We very often receive thank you notes that make our day. They may be to individual team members for going above and beyond or even for having given back to the community in one way or another. The Antlers also encourages individual team members to give back to the community and while probably most of us do, some do so in ways that are even more impactful than what we get to do here as an Antlers team member — such as saving lives!

Our Chief Engineer, Tom Schlader aka "Sludge", who also goes by the title "Director of Preservation" volunteers and plays a pretty big role at Vail Mountain Rescue.

Our Chief Engineer, Tom Schlader aka “Sludge” volunteers and is someone who truly excels at giving back through his volunteer work at Vail Mountain Rescue.

Our Chief Engineer, Tom Schlader aka “Sludge”, who also goes by the title “Director of Preservation” volunteers and plays a pretty big role at Vail Mountain Rescue Group. Vail Mountain Rescue is a volunteer group providing back country search and rescue, as well as public education on back country safety, in Eagle County. The team is responsible for all search and rescue operations in the unincorporated areas of the County. Vail Mountain Rescue Group recently shared with us a thank you note that they received that gives a nice shout out to  Sludge who frequently goes on missions much more dangerous than this one.  We’re very proud of his commitment and service.

“In early December I went for a snowshoe to Fowler Hilliard Hut at 11,500 ft and got pretty bad altitude sickness. It was scary! Vail Mountain Rescue folks evacuated me and brought me down the mountain on snowmobiles at about midnight, and even brought my friend who had driven me to the trail head, too. Jared, Jeff, Justin, Tom(Sludge), and Megan were wonderful and took good care of me. They were so nice and caring, didn’t act at all irritated to be out in the 10 degree cold on a Friday night and actually told me they love what they do. I was SOOOO grateful for their services and I am safe and healthy now. Thank you so much!!!”  —  Jennifer Ayers

Antlers at Vail Holiday Parties

The Antlers at Vail conference space decorate for the 2014 staff holiday party.

The Antlers at Vail conference space decorated for the 2014 staff holiday party.

Antlers at Vail is well known for hosting community events. Many local government and non-profit boards hold regular meetings at the Antlers. Many of these tend to be breakfast meetings so not everyone thinks of us for Vail holiday parties, but they should! We think our conference space is so great for company holiday parties that we even hosted our own at the Antlers last year and it was fantastic! The lobby and conference space were decorates with charming holiday decor, holiday music was playing on the state-of-the-art AV system, fantastic food and beverages were served, Santa visited the kids and the snow outside the windows set the stage. Since the Antlers at Vail conference space also offers a beautiful piano perfect for holiday music, as well as interchangeable wall murals (aspen trees or mountain scene) for one wall.

Call Cherie at 970.790.5217 for more information on Antlers at Vail holiday parties.

Call Cherie at 970.790.5217 for more information on Antlers at Vail holiday parties.

Chef Barry Robinson of Caterers of Vail has been providing a delectable culinary experience to a variety of clients ranging from discriminating wedding couples to sophisticated meeting planners since 2007. Chef Barry’s commitment to detail is unmatched and you can rest assured that you will receive the very best in quality, presentation and service. And he is always happy to customize menus to your preferences.

Call Cherie at 970.790.5217 to learn more about Antlers at Vail holiday parties and how we can help make yours a success!

Pre-Holiday Snow Sale — Book by November 23!

Photo courtesy Jack Affleck and Vail Resorts.

Hurry, you can stay at the Antlers now through December 18 and save up to 50% off when you book by November 23, 2015! Photo courtesy Jack Affleck and Vail Resorts.

As we gear up for the opening of Vail Mountain exactly one week from today, we realize that we have much to be thankful for… our amazing guests who truly become members of our family and more recently to Mother Nature for bringing us two huge snowstorms  in the last week and a half with another on its way Monday. As a thank you we are bringing you our first ever Pre-Holiday Snow Sale. From now through Monday, November 23 you can receive up to 50% off of your lodging on stays through December 18, 2015!

Simply enter your desired dates of stay into the booking calendar or call 1.800.843.8245. Stays November 20 through December 9, 2015 start at $200 per night (30% off) and stays December 10 through December 18, 2015 start at $242 (50% off!) when booked by November 23. Minimum night stays may be required and restrictions may apply. Take advantage of these fantastic savings to ski Vail and kick the ski and holiday season off in style.

As always, we never charge a resort fee and we offer a fantastic selection of complimentary amenities including ski valet, Go Pro camera rentals, parking in our heated garage (1 car), sled and snowshoe rentals and much, much more.

Hurry, book by Monday, November 23, 2015 11:59 p.m. MST to take advantage of these spectacular savings and enjoy all that Vail and the Antlers at Vail has to offer!

Antlers Book Club

Under the heading of “People” in the “People, Planet, Profit” scenario, we couldn’t possibly be more proud of our Assistant GM, Magdalena King, and our Executive Housekeeper, Cristina Roberts (who happen to be Ecuadorian sisters).  However, they’re not the people we’re talking about.  Rather, Magda and Cristina are the ones caring for and investing in, the people … our people.  Among the bountiful evidence of that, is their initiative to implement English classes for our Spanish speaking housekeepers and housemen.  Thanks to the help of Colleen Gray from the Literacy Project, with Magda and Cristina filling in as substitute teachers from time to time, all of our housekeeping crew are able to attend ESL classes right here, every week … on the clock.

As if that wasn’t enough, Magdalena has a stated goal of having every Antlers housekeeper obtain their GED.  As a highly educated individual, Magda believes strongly in the value of learning for an enhanced quality of life, as well as for improved job performance.  That’s true even when the specific instruction isn’t directly related to the job.  She rightly claims that anyone who has a GED will simply be more thoughtful and make better decisions than someone without.  Who could argue?  Happily, Myrna, Gabriela, Elsa, Olaya, Ramona and Cristina are now enrolling in a local GED program.  They have our full moral and financial support.

little prince

As an adjunct to the ESL classes, Magda and Cristina started a book club for our housekeepers (and anyone else).  Their most recent book was The Little Prince, which of course was read as El Principito (the ESL program is still young).  I had the good fortune to accompany all of them for a book discussion at the Vail Library, where Lori Barnes has been a fabulous friend to the Antlers.  Lori’s Spanish is comparable to mine, so she and I muddled through as the rest of them enthusiastically explored the world of little planets, sunsets, baobabs and the frequent lack of adult understanding, all in a Latino context.  It was totally inspiring.

Antlers Book Club

The Antlers housekeeping book club at the Vail Public Library

Gabriella and Elsa

Gabriella and Elsa

Lorena, Myrna, Isela and Ramona

Lorena, Myrna, Isela and Ramona

Angel and Cristina

Angel and Cristina

Lori Barnes and Magdalena

Lori Barnes and Magdalena, who had just come from a school event with Derrick and Matius. Nice cape, Matty

 

 

People, Planet, Profit.

The triple bottom line … a new age kind of thinking, but becoming less radical all the time … at least I hope so.

I’m proud of the fact that this approach has always been at the foundation of the Antlers culture.  Even before it was part of our lexicon, it influenced our actions. Our accomplishments over the years in the area of environmental sensitivity, combined with our position near the top of Vail’s good corporate citizens, speak to this.   Granted, the Antlers has the luxury of being a completely independent entity.  No corporate bureaucracy to worry about.  Even our “shareholder” demands, rest entirely among those condominium owners who have priorities far beyond the simple ROI.  Knowing that Vail is their second home, and recognizing the role we play in making that home, that entire community, a better place … that’s why we are who we are.  Sure, profit is hugely important.  But in our case it doesn’t necessarily outweigh the other two legs of that stool. It’s a business model of sustainability, and not just in the environmental context … in every way.

I was asked to give a talk about this recently to students at the Vail Mountain School.  The occasion was the Global Solutions Forum of the Students Shoulder To Shoulder enterprise (now that’s a mouthful). In short, SSTS is one more organization that we are enormously proud to be associated with.  One whose mission includes “Creating and supporting good global citizens”.  Really now, what higher purpose is there?  In that context, I tried to speak about the similarity of good citizenship and good corporate citizenship.  In short, behaving in a manner that is meant to benefit those around you, and not just yourself. … sometimes even at your expense. The students intuitively understood the environmental part of that picture … recognizing that we’re on this earth together, and it’s the only one we’ve got.  They even approved of mandating such behavior if necessary.  Laws against polluting our streams and rivers being one example of such justified mandate.

SSTS 2

Less instinctive was the “People” part of the equation. They didn’t all immediately recognize an obligation for business to help those in need (and even those not in need).  Whether that’s done through the direct support of charities, corporate sponsorship of worthy causes or just a culture that encourages such behavior among others … the students seemed to view this as much more optional.  I tried to impress on them the inherent value (and joy) of working for an organization that has that soul.  I also tried to make the point that working with and for others who held those same beliefs was both more pleasant and ultimately more profitable.

I don’t know if I got through, but I hope so.

Rob

Sustainability … One Step at a Time

When it comes to “going green”, the job is never done.  Or perhaps with a bit more positive spin … the opportunities are endless.  The fact is, you can never do too much, but every little bit helps.

At the Antlers we’re proud of our previous accomplishments, but still try to employ one or two additional initiatives each year. Sometimes those are expansions of existing programs and others are completely new efforts. This year we had some of each.  For starters, we bought another eight solar panels to go with the fourteen we already had. Then Greg Ziccardi spearheaded the effort to install over 1,300 LED lights in the condominiums (how many Sustainability Coordinators does it take to screw in a light bulb?).  This, in addition to the hundreds that Greg had already placed in our conference rooms and other common areas.

Under the heading of “brand new accomplishments”, last month we installed a SEMA electric car charger.

car charger

It cost roughly $3,000 for the charger itself, but we also had to run 220V service to the pedestal, which made the installation another $1,500 or so. We figured it would be quite awhile before we saw an economic return on that investment, but that’s okay … we’ve already picked most of the low hanging fruit when it comes to sustainability initiatives that actually save money.  However, to our surprise (and delight), in the first couple weeks after it was in place, we had two different Tesla owners call to make room reservations because they saw our location on their car charging phone app.  How cool is that?

Tesla charging c

Then, in order to take full advantage, we bought an electric hybrid Ford C-Max to use for running around town, as well as shuttling Antlers guests when we can. The cool thing about the C-Max is, like many new-technology hybrids, it runs on sheer electric power for the first 20 miles or so.  So if you just run to the supermarket or the post office like we usually do, it never uses any gas!  If we have to go to Denver or somewhere else, the self-charging battery/gas operation kicks in and it has a range of 500 miles or so at 40+ mpg.

Here’s the scoop on the car charger … It costs us about 80 cents an hour when it’s charging a car.  Most cars (it varies widely, of course) will get about fifteen to twenty miles per hour of charging.  That works out to be well less than half the cost of gas, again depending on the car’s fuel efficiency. Guests of the Antlers will not have to pay to charge their car.  In addition to just encouraging sustainable behavior, it’s our way of saying, “Thanks for staying with us!”

car charger sign

For someone who’s just passing through, stops for lunch and wants to “juice up” before they get on the road again, the charge will be $1.95 an hour.  That will help us recoup a little of the installation costs, and is still similar to, or even less than the cost of gas.

Given that some of the electricity we purchase from Holy Cross Energy is generated from those solar panels, and we’ve also been buying their wind power for years, it’s fun to think that our electric car and those of our guests  are truly running on renewable energy.

Now … what’s next?

Antlers Featured Homeowner

Antlers at Vail 1-Bedroom Residence: Featured Homeowner

Remodeled spring of 2015 to become a platinum-rated condominium

New wood flooring, stone fireplace, ceiling beams and beautiful new furniture make the living space of this one-bedroom Vail condo a relaxing place to unwind after a day of mountain adventures.

New wood flooring, stone fireplace, ceiling beams and beautiful new furniture make the living space of this one-bedroom Vail condominium a relaxing place to unwind after a day of mountain adventures.

Mel Timmermann and his wife Catherine were original Antlers at Vail hotel owners. A salt-of-the-earth John Deere tractor dealer from Litchfied, Illinois, Mel was a favorite of the staff. He always went out of his way to make sure everyone knew they were appreciated, particularly housekeeping. Sadly he passed away a number of years ago, but his children continue his legacy at the Antlers. This spring one of his daughters, Kathy Caloia, directed a significant remodel to the family’s 1-bedroom residence that included reconfiguring the bedroom for a larger king bed by adding a new wall and French doors, replacing the old fireplace with new stone surround, installing a beautiful wood floor in the living and kitchen areas accented by wood ceiling beams. New lighting throughout and elegant new furniture completed the design. The Antlers at Vail is proud to add this 1-bedroom residence to our ever growing list of platinum-rated condominiums.

Why did you and your siblings choose to keep the family’s vacation home at the Antlers?

We created many wonderful family memories over the years making the Antlers a special place for all of us. My father frequently said that he hoped the condominium would stay in the family for generations. Last summer the 4th generation of our family made her first trip to the Antlers. We are very grateful to our parents for having the foresight to provide this wonderful vacation home.

What is special about your newly remodeled Antlers vacation home?

The newly configured large king bedroom is a real plus. The newly configured bedroom, along with the attention to detail that went into the living space creates a warm, comfortable updated space for our guests to enjoy.

To see a slideshow with photos of the remodeled condominium click any of the thumbnails below.

Thanksgiving in Vail Filled with Comfort, Convenience

Chef Barry delivers Thanksgiving meal to suites; Ski Butlers offers ultimate slopes amenity

Thanksgiving in Vail

Chef Barry Robinson’s Thanksgiving spread allows guests to celebrate around a groaning table of holiday favorites.

This Thanksgiving join us for a veritable cornucopia of comfort and convenience, including a complete traditional dinner with all the trimmings delivered directly to guest suites and complimentary ski valet from on-site rental company Ski Butlers. The Antlers has always been a popular Vail hotel for family gatherings due to the variety of condominium sizes, bedding options and authentic and friendly “home away from home” culture, as well as our many fantastic complimentary amenities. Book your Thanksgiving at the Antlers by calling 1-888-268-5377.

VailHotelSkiValet

Ski Butlers adds another level of convenience to the amenities-packed Antlers at Vail experience.

After the success of last year’s Thanksgiving dinner offering we are taking this year’s Thanksgiving in Vail to a new level. In addition to Antlers at Vail’s customary abundance of family-friendly amenities geared toward snow season – complimentary hot chocolate and cider in the lobby by the fireplace, complimentary snowshoe rentals and loaner sleds, complimentary GoPro cameras to check out for capturing getaway memories, and complimentary movie rentals for that all-important down time – Ski Butlers is now on-site to offer ski rentals and fittings, as well as complimentary ski valet. Ski Butlers will shuttle all ski equipment back and forth for guests to the slopes, saving time and energy.

The home-style Thanksgiving feast that Chef Barry will cook for Antlers at Vail guests includes tender, just-roasted turkey breast and homemade giblet gravy, garlic-spiked mashed potatoes, oven-caramelized butternut squash, fresh green beans with toasted almonds, seasoned stuffing, sweet-tart cranberry sauce, and mixed young salad greens with herb dressing, and for dessert – freshly-baked pumpkin pie and vanilla bean ice cream. The full meal will be delivered right to Antlers’ guest suites – all condominium suites include full kitchen and dining spaces – in ovenproof, recyclable containers, ready to heat at guests’ convenience. Cost is $35 per person, including service fee and excluding tax.

UPDATE 10/29/15: You could say Antlers at Vail hotel has gone to the dogs for Thanksgiving: In our ongoing efforts to provide the most amenity-oriented lodging experience available, the Antlers  has added homemade dog biscuits to its Thanksgiving bounty. Chef-baked dog biscuits can be included by request at no additional charge. Please call 1-800-843-8245 in advance to confirm that a pet-friendly room is available.

UPDATE 11/16/15: The deadline to order your Thanksgiving Dinner is November 18, 2015. Hurry, call 1.800.843.8245 today.

About Chef Barry Robinson

Internationally trained Chef Barry Robinson was a pastry chef and professional chef throughout Europe, Asia and Australia before moving to Vail in 1998 to take the helm at Game Creek Club. He owns Caterers of Vail, which collaborates with Antlers at Vail to provide exceptional on-site event dining experiences.

About Ski Butlers

Founded in 2004 in Park City, Utah, Ski Butlers serves 35 North American resorts in Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and British Columbia, Canada, and is the only ski shop in Vail/Beaver Creek to win the Vail Valley Platinum Service Award for exceptional customer service 7 years in a row.

Make the Antlers at Vail your “home away from home” for your very own Thanksgiving in Vail by calling 1-888-268-5377!

Vail’s Autumn Event Line Up

Summer is winding down. Back to school photos are over running our Facebook feeds and the evening air feels just a bit cooler. There are many concerts and other fantastic events to look forward to throughout August, September and even October. Fresh local produce is just reaching its peak, with signs for fresh Palisade Peaches abounding. The glow of golden Aspens are just around the corner. It is a great time to visit Vail!

Visit the Vail Farmers Market Sundays for fresh Palisade peaches.

Visit the Vail Farmers Market Sundays for fresh Palisade peaches.

For fresh Palisade peaches, other fresh produce, arts and entertainment the Vail Farmers Market runs Sundays through October 5. Jazz at the Market continues to be a highlight of the market through August 30.

This weekend is the Eagle Mushroom and Wild Food Festival, a weekend of foraging, educational seminars and delicious food & drinks. Dinner specials offered at participating Eagle restaurants throughout the weekend.

For those with a competitive spirit wanting to prove you can could be the Ultimate Survivor, there is an open casting call in Vail August 22nd.

The Vail Jazz Party returns to Vail Sept. 3-7th!

The Vail Jazz Party returns to Vail Sept. 3-7th!

September kicks off with a double header. The Vail Jazz Party returns for a jam-packed lineup with over 35 headliners that join together to play in group performances, multi-artist jam sessions, and inspiring multimedia tributes to jazz legends.

More of a foodie than a music aficionado? September 4-7th also features Gourmet on Gore, a unique culinary festival offering an open-air tasting with world-class wine, beer and spirits paired with culinary delights from Vail’s top restaurants.  If you want to work off some of that food or just stretch your legs the weekend also features a 1K and 5K Fun Run supporting a couple of local schools.

Beaver Creek’s 16th annual Oktoberfest returns September 5-6th with foot stompin’ oom-pah-pah music, unbeatable beer and wunderbar wurst.

September boasts three weekends of area Oktoberfest celebrations!

September boasts three weekends of area Oktoberfest celebrations!

Munich then comes to Vail for blown-out Bavarian Oktokerfest celebration of beer, music and autumn in Lionshead Village September 11-13th and Vail Village September 18-20th.

Blending music, food and wine and entertainment to create a one-of-a-kind event for attendees in one of the world’s most vibrant mountain settings, the Rendezvous Music Festival features outdoor stages, the Vilar Performing Arts Center, intimate house concerts, and food and wine, amongst breathtaking views September 11-12th.

September 12th The Colorado Grand, an annual charity tour for 1960 and earlier sports and race cars of distinction, returns to Vail. Every September at the peak of the fall color season approximately 85 vintage cars are driven in this relaxed, non-competitive event, covering 1,000 miles through the Rockies in five days. The event kicks off in the Lionshead Village September 12th and drivers departing for their drive September 15th. The finish line celebration is Saturday, September 19th from 9 am – 12 pm in Lionshead Village.

September 12th the Wheels & Wings Festival kicks off the Vail Automotive Classic with a showcase of hundreds of classic cars, airplanes, aircraft, and motorcycles, an Auto Auction plus, an opening ceremony hang glider show and two spectacular aerobatics shows!

Looking for something more mindful, check out Eagle YogaFest with The Zen Project September 18-20th, a weekend celebration of mindful yoga including: slow flow, meditation, lectures, Yin Yoga, and more.

For hard core mountain bikers… September 25-27 the Vail Outlier Offroad Festival debuts. It is an incredible back and side-country competitive XC event. Like the Firecracker 50…but on steroids. Unsanctioned (no explanation necessary), and with a King Kong-sized purse. Anyone who’s anyone in the MTB world will be here.

The Vail Beaver Creek Restaurant Week kicks off September 26th with Top Shelf Harvest, A high-end boutique event pairing creations from Colorado distilleries and Vail restaurants, offering high-end demonstrations, a mixologist contest featuring local talent, live music and exquisite tastings set in a speakeasy theme. Vail Beaver Creek Restaurant Week continues through October 4th with a $20.15 theme.

Lodging deals also abound throughout Autumn so make your plans today!