Delight The Weird: Unique Hotel Amenities

I enjoy reading Seth Godin’s blog. He of the Purple Cow fame. One of his recent posts was titled “Delighting the Weird“. The essence of it is differentiation. Not just performing well, but also doing things that nobody else does.

The Antlers finds itself in a fun but challenging position as an independent property, competing against some awful big companies. Our neighbors include the Marriott, Four Seasons, and Ritz Carlton. Even our main condominium competition … Lionsquare, Montaneros, Manor Vail, Landmark and the Vail Spa are managed by Wyndham, Destination and East-West Resorts. Each of those companies have portfolios that make the Antlers look like a gnat.

So the name of our game has to be differentiation. If we try to compete against those big guys as just a well run commodity, we’re toast.

Free, unique hotel amenities

So what do we do to be unique? How about free, unique hotel amenities? Well, stuff like not collecting resort fees sets us apart from most of them. That’s nice, but it’s not THAT unique. Surely there are others who do the same. Aren’t there?

No, what’s REALLY different? How about a free GoPro camera loaner program? Now we’re talkin’. Free snowshoe rentals? Yeah, baby. Maybe a minivan for our condominium owners to use when they’re here. Again, one of our free & unique hotel amenities.

Under the heading of “Playing to your strength”, our guests have always told us how much they appreciate our well-equipped kitchens. Okay, time to amp it up … now we have a small appliance loaner program (free) with everything from waffle makers to toaster ovens to full on mixers. If your condo doesn’t have something you need, say the word … it’s on its way. While that doesn’t qualify as bizarre, I’m pretty sure it’s not something those other guys are doing. Happily, that effort also falls squarely in line with our motto of, “The answer is ‘yes’, now what’s the question?”

unique hotel amenities, Vail, hotel, lodging, delight the weird

We’ll continue to brainstorm at almost every one of our staff meetings about what we can do to set ourselves apart … to delight the weird. Of course, we’re always open to suggestions, too.

The best part is that although it’s challenging, dreaming up stuff like this and then implementing it immediately (corporate red tape? No thanks) helps make this a really fun place to work. We hope it makes it a really fun place to stay as well.

Rob

Why choose between wine or yoga? Enjoy both at the Antlers at Vail!

Yoga

The Antlers at Vail hotel offers complimentary yoga classes for guests Tuesday and Fridays from 4 to 5 pm.

Winter and snow brings back the return of some fantastic complimentary amenities to enjoy during your stay at the Antlers at Vail hotel. Complimentary yoga for guests began this past Friday. Classes are held every Tuesday and Friday from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm in the Whitetail room, and are appropriate for a wide range of ability levels.

Our guest wine & cheese receptions also returned last night. Approximately 25 people mingled and enjoyed wine and delicious food from Chef Barry last night. We were very happy to welcome some friends from the Vail Marriott. The wine & cheese receptions are held every Monday from 5:00pm to 6:00pm in the Millie Barela Board Room.

Your Antlers condominium comes with a fully equipped kitchen. If there is something that you would like, but is not already in your condo, please contact the Front Desk. We have spices, aluminum foil, saran wrap, crock pots, mixers, food processors, cappuccino/espresso makers, rice cookers, real tea pots and other small kitchen appliances available by request. If we don’t have something, and it seems like there’s a chance that other people will appreciate it too…we’ll go buy it! (How do you think we wound up with a cappuccino maker?)pdp_image_HERO3Plus_silver_45

Want to capture your epic ski day? Starting Friday, January 10 we will have GoPro cameras available at the front desk.

For those of you who may not have had the chance to meet the Antlers’ General Manager, Rob LeVine, or to have asked him a question, you may not know that you will consistently hear him say, “The answer is “yes”, now what is the question?” The culture at the Antlers is to do what we can to make sure that our guests feel welcome and at home during their stay with us. We offer many complimentary amenities, but if there is something we don’t yet offer that you would like to see, please let us know.

Actively Green for 2015

AG_Certified

The Antlers at Vail once again is taking the lead.

The Antlers, along with The Wren (East-West Resorts) and the Sonnenalp, are the first resorts in Eagle County to be certified by the Town of Vail and Sustainable Travel International (STI) as “Actively Green for 2015“.

Actively Green is the brain trust of Kristen Bertuglia, the Sustainable Director for the Town of Vail, and Kim Langmaid who chairs the  Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.  The goal is to certify 100 businesses in the Valley before the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships which are scheduled to be held in Vail and Beaver Creek. The process is rigorous and the intent is to show the world that our Valley is in harmony, not only with the environment, but with each other with regard to business operations.

The process began back on September 4th when the Antlers hosted the first STI Educational  Seminar with 20 other business’s.  The training for certification is an intense exercise that covers 21 steps that need to be addressed and adopted as policy.

The criteria range from educating employees and guests about green practices, tracking waste, energy and water use, monitoring green house gases, responsible purchasing and simply pledging to be a good neighbor in our community.

The certification is a “living document”.

Data is gathered and documented into categories on a monthly basis.  This information is then used to determine the environmental impact we are having as we operate our business.  Hopefully, we will see savings in water and energy use and demonstrate to employees and clients the importance of our efforts.

We are proud to be on the forefront of this effort and are excited for the all the businesses that will be joining us soon.

2015 and the World Ski Championships just aren’t that far off.

Greg

 

PS – Without our own Sustainability Coordinator (Greg Ziccardi) the Antlers wouldn’t be in the leadership position we are, both in terms of this Actively Green certification, as well as all of our ongoing efforts.  -Rob

 

The Gift of Vail: $99/ Night Stocking Stuffer from Antlers at Vail

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UPDATE (1/5/2014): The following December special was so popular that we extended it for the remainder of the winter!

$99 spring 2014 nights with any winter stay.

The holidays season is upon us. Vail Mountain opened last week, the trees are adorned with twinkling lights, and guests have arrived in town to celebrate Thanksgiving with a ski vacation. We have been thinking about this special season and the friends with whom we have shared the holidays. One of our long-time guests, David & Jan Lee first visited the Antlers 21 years ago. The following Christmas they decided that the perfect gift would be to share that experience with their family and each year since have given each member of their family a week-long vacation and family reunion at the Antlers at Vail. And, what better gift could there be than a stay at the Antlers?!?

So, we’ve put together a deal so that our friends can score themselves some December Vail powder and get the gift of $99 spring lodging to stuff in stockings this holiday season with a special December Snow Deal from the Antlers at Vail hotel. For every night’s stay at the Antlers this December, guests can book a night between April 7 and June 15, 2014 for just $99 – and they can use the great deal for their own spring skiing (Vail closes April 20 this year), or gift the nights to friends and family.

“We were going to make the $99 deal just for April end-of-season,” says Antlers General Manager Rob LeVine, “but we got to thinking, what if you wanted to give a $99 night to your mom and dad who don’t ski? And of course you don’t have to tell them you only paid $99. Or your kid’s teacher who has to wait until school gets out – that should be worth some good grades. So we extended the offer through June 15 for guests who might rather ride the zipline or coast around town on our free-for-guests Antlers bikes in May or June, than chase April freshies.”

Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Dan Davis

Photo courtesy Vail Resorts, Dan Davis

The Antlers at Vail December Snow Deal applies to Antlers stays December 1 – 31, 2013, for booking $99 nights April 7 – June 15, 2014. Some restrictions may apply.

 

 

Solar Panels in Vail, Only Better

Antlers solar panels 1

When I told Randi that we had just bought 14 solar panels, her response was, “Really?  Where are we going to put them?”  A logical question, I suppose.  Happily, we don’t have to put them anywhere… we don’t even have to touch them. That’s all taken care of.  All we do is write a check and then start watching for the monthly credit on our Holy Cross electric bill.  How cool is that?

Instead of being placed on our roof, Clean Energy Collective installs them along with about 1,986 of their best buddies on a two acre site down by the airport in Rifle.  The energy they produce then gets fed into the grid.  Voila!  Naturally, the site was selected for optimum exposure and efficiency.  The maintenance is taken care of in perpetuity by virtue of the purchase price plus a fraction of the energy savings from now on.  Again … how cool is that?

Antlers solar panels 2

When we replaced the Antlers roof a few years ago, we tried hard to make it work to install solar along with it.  Sadly, we weren’t able to get it done.  But hey … at this point … who cares?  This is better.  No muss, no fuss, and we’re saving about $700 a year on our electric bill.  That’s about a 7% return initially (better than any of my investments are doing these days), and it should only grow each year as the cost of energy goes up (uhhhh … that’s pretty likely).  Of course, even if the return wasn’t so obviously good, it would still feel great to be “doing the right thing”.

We at the Antlers are quite proud of all our green efforts and initiatives, but this almost seems too easy.  Like, why wouldn’t you do this?  If all goes according to plan, we’ll pick up some more panels next year, and the next year, and …

Another fun element of this project (for us, at least) is the fact that Mike Dow, son of Antlers owners Buzz and Connie Dow, works for Clean Energy Collective and is the one who sold us the panels.   The only thing better than doing this kind of business, is doing it with a member of the family (well, practically).  Since each Antlers condominium is individually metered for electricity, our next step is to point ALL of the condo owners in the right direction, so they too can sign up for this gig.  Which is exactly what I just did for my own home in Edwards.  Ya-hoo!

CEC

Yoga at Altitude

What a beautiful setting and backdrop.

I peaked out the window the other morning and saw the 9:30 class on the pool deck.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Antlers offers complimentary yoga every Tuesday and Thursday mornings instructed by Tracy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

What a great way to start the day in Vail.  Come join us, won’t you?

Greg

A Hotel Bucking the Trend of Charging for “Extras”

As savvy travellers know, the advertised price of travel increases significantly with all of the fees that most hotels, except the Antlers at Vail, add on.

As savvy travelers know, the advertised price of travel increases significantly with all of the fees that most hotels, except the Antlers at Vail, add on.

In today’s travel environment, savvy travelers have come to expect annoying fees on top of whatever base price is advertised. Airlines tack on baggage fees, reservation change fees, movies, WiFi, upgrade fees for additional leg space, and more.  Rental cars?  Forget it!  Hotels charge for WiFi, parking, movie rentals, and many even add on resort fees. Well, not at the Antlers at Vail Condo Hotel… Our philosophy for the past 40 years has included exceeding expectations and not nickel and diming our guests. We do this in part by offering almost all amenities or “extras” at no additional cost. These free amenities include:

  • NO RESORT FEES!;
  • Free WiFi;
  • Free parking in our heated underground garage (1 car per condo);
  • A free Vail Athletic Club membership during your stay;
  • Free yoga classes twice a week;
  • A free shuttle to the grocery store to stock your full kitchen with groceries;
  • Free newspapers;
  • Free movies;
  • Free bike rentals in the summer;
  • Free snowshoe rentals in the winter;
  • Free GoPro camera rentals;
  • Free luggage storage (from year to year);
  • And, just added to the list, free late check-out on Sundays!

Add up the cost of what you would pay for all of these extras when you stay elsewhere, and WOW, what added value or savings you receive by staying with us! And, did I mention that we are pretty darn fun too! I hope you will make an Antlers condo hotel suite your home in Vail this summer. We look forward to sharing our home and community with you!

Do you want to read more about those annoying extra travel and hotel fees that you can avoid when staying at the Antlers at Vail Condominiums and Conference Center? Travel + Leisure and TIME Magazine just published recent articles on the subject.

Tell us below the most annoying travel fee you have ever been charged.

 

Post by: Liana, the Antlers’ marketing gal

We Love I-70 … Usually.

I admit it.  We here in Vail have a love/hate relationship with I-70.  Our friends in Aspen refer to Vail as “a highway runs through it”.  Guilty as charged.  On the other hand, they may not admit it but I know they’re jealous at the same time.  Vail’s consistently strong economy is due in large part to the ease of traveling here.  As much as we like to tell ourselves that it’s all about the mountain experience (which is certainly critical), access is also hugely important.  Happily, we at the Antlers at Vail are especially lucky and once you’re in Vail, for us the highway is a non-issue.  We’ve even used the marketing message, “You can’t hear or see the highway from here.”  Our location at the base of Vail mountain and right on Gore Creek is simply A+. It’s quiet and yet convenient to all the amenities Vail has to offer.

We all know that the other bane of this easy-access asphalt strip of I-70 can be the occasional congestion traveling back to Denver, particularly on a Sunday afternoon.  This summer, with the twin tunnel project going on near Idaho Springs (no, not Eisenhower), we’ve decided to be especially pro-active in doing our small part of easing congestion and making our weekend visitors’ travel smoother.  We’re offering no-charge, unlimited late check-outs on Sundays this summer.  This will enable our guests to avoid the peak traffic, while enjoying another full day in Vail, hiking, biking, shopping the Vail Farmers’ Market or whatever mountain activity our guests choose, before making that relaxing drive back to Denver.  All we ask is that you let us know, so we can schedule accordingly.

Margaret Bowes is the program manager for the I-70 Coalition and its GoI70.com website, dedicated to improving visitors highway travel experience to Vail and other Colorado mountain town destinations.  As one of the coalition’s tourism partners, we appreciate their efforts. So when Margaret suggested the possibility of late check-outs,  in typical Antlers form we said, “Sure.”  As a matter of fact, just between you and me, if you tell us your check-out time will be 7:00 PM, and then you actually leave by 8:00 Monday morning, we might just look the other way … a free night … on the condition that you promise to have fun in Vail Sunday evening.

Twin Tunnels

The I-70 Coalition was originally formed in 2004 when more than 30 political jurisdictions joined forces to address transportation issues along the I-70 corridor. Private businesses have since joined the local governments in the coalition, which continues to push for implementation of highway improvement projects like the plans to add capacity on the Twin Tunnel to Floyd Hill section of I-70. In 2009 the coalition also launched GoI70.com, which includes a mobile phone app and text messaging, to inform I-travelers on traffic conditions toward improving their travel experience visiting Vail and other mountain towns.  Check it out … it’s pretty cool … and then come spend Sunday with us.

Rob

Antlers at Vail Awarded TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

The Antlers is excited to share that we have been awarded TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence.

The Antlers is excited to share that we have been awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence.

The Antlers at Vail is excited to share that we have received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

“TripAdvisor is delighted to celebrate the success of businesses around the globe, from Sydney to Chicago, Sao Paulo to Rome, which are consistently offering TripAdvisor travelers a great customer experience,” said Alison Copus, Vice President of Marketing for TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.”

More than Vail Vacation Rentals

The Antlers is excited to host an important event on May 23rd entitled Community Conversations.   There have been three instances of similar community conversations over the past year.

The first was at the Elevate Conference last September, when the organizers put on a Mayors Panel with five past Vail mayors.  The intent was the same as that of the entire three day conference … to broadly explore what makes places like Vail, special.

The second was when the Vail Symposium hosted the program pictured here at the Grand View room in March, with Elaine Kelton, Terry Minger and Merv Lapin reminiscing about Vail’s early days.

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The focus was one of “lessons learned” and their potential meaning for our collective future.

In April, the annual Town of Vail meeting at Donovan Pavilion included another Mayors Panel (slightly different participants) which also explored what our history tells us about the future.

All three of those community discussions included good audience participation.  They were well attended and seemed to imply a thirst for more.  The Vail Symposium’s roots, in the early 1970’s, was based on similar community introspection. It’s only fitting to continue that conversation today.

Some of the recurring themes that arose from those three recent dialogues will provide the focus of these upcoming Vail Symposium Community Conversations.  The first is, Progress at what Price?  The topic for each of the following Conversations will be chosen by the audience de jour.

The Antlers enjoys being more than just another Vail vacation rental operation.  We see ourselves as an integral part of the greater Vail community and it’s with enormous pride that we host and sponsor events like this one coming up.

Please join us on Thursday the 23rd at 5:30 at the Antlers.  $10 recommended donation, but it’s not required.  We would NOT want that to keep anyone away.