Revenue Management?

Twenty years ago, most of us in the hospitality business had never heard of a Revenue Manager.  Back in those days people made their reservations either by calling us, or having their travel agent call us.  It was pretty simple.  Establishing our pricing was a fairly straightforward exercise, taking into account supply and demand, which was relatively homogenous.

Fast forward to 2014 and you have the internet and a plethora of new ways to book a hotel room.  Our puzzle includes guests who:

  • Call direct
  • Book on-line direct
  • Have their travel agent use one of those two channels
  • Use a wholesaler (a travel agent for travel agents) who does the same, or maybe books through the Global Distribution System (GDS) run by the airlines (Apollo, Sabre, Worldspan, etc.)
  • Use one of two Central Reservation Systems in Vail (with or without a travel agent involved)
  • Use one of the online travel agencies (OTA’s) such as Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com or more than a dozen others

There is also the question of how all those people who are booking on-line, whether direct or through a third-party, arrived at that particular website.  The possibilities are literally endless.  Attempting to track the demand from hundreds of such different channels is a full time job, to say the least.  Each of those sources of business lends itself to complex analysis of pricing, discounting, restrictions, behavior, etc.

Ryan Kelsey c

With this ever-growing complicated puzzle of “inbound traffic” the Antlers has taken the plunge of hiring a full time Revenue Manager.  Ryan Kelsey comes to us with a good analytical background, as well as local hospitality experience at the Charter in Beaver Creek and Destination Resorts in Vail.  We’re excited to welcome Ryan to the team, and love the fact that he can focus on this crazy puzzle of selling hotel rooms and providing the best possible return to our owners, while still maintaining great customer loyalty.

These days, when people ask me, “So how’s business?”  My pat answer is, “Well, it’s pretty good, but it sure ain’t easy!”  I realize that doesn’t make us special.  Business everywhere is tougher than it used to be.  Heck, it isn’t always easy being a consumer, either.  Think of the travelers who have to deal with the same plethora of choices about where and how to book their rooms. We’d love to hear from any of you who have a favorite way to book hotel reservations.  Naturally, we love it when you call us directly. That gives us the best chance of understanding all your preferences and satisfying all of your needs. But if you’ve found a preferable way to get a great Antlers suite with just a few online clicks, we’d love to know how and why.  And we promise to share the info with Ryan.

Vail Valley Hospitality Professional of the Year!

Last Friday night, January 31, The Vail Valley Partnership held their annual Success Awards Gala.  It’s the same event at which the Antlers won the Business of the Year Award in 2003 and the Green Business of the Year in 2009.  This year, our very own Magdalena King was nominated for Hospitality Professional of the Year.  Out of several dozen nominees, Magda was then chosen as one of three finalists going into the awards ceremony.  Two nights ago at the Vilar Center, we erupted in cheers when her name was called from the stage as the Vail Valley Hospitality Professional of 2014.

Magda award

We could simply not be any more proud of Magda.  It’s so nice to know that others recognized what we already knew … that nobody could possibly be more deserving of this recognition. I could go on and on (and would be happy to).  However, let me just say that in addition to the countless examples of her professionalism (and everything that entails), Magda constantly inspires me and everyone else around her, to be more professional as well.

Magda & Cristina

It was quite fitting that upon receiving her award, she offered a brief “acceptance speech” which was both gracious and thoughtful.  Almost as many people (probably a hundred) congratulated her on her “award winning” public comments, as on the actual award itself.  It was great!

Shame on us for one thing … we didn’t think to get a good picture of Magda in her time of grandeur.  I took this one of her and her sister Cristina (on the left) with my phone.  It will have to do for now, but that’s a shame because there is also a great story behind her beautiful dress.

At the party afterward when Jill Lammers, the Vice-President of the Partnership, complimented Magda on that dress, I had to jump in and point out that Magda told me she had designed it herself, back when she lived in Ecuador.  Jill’s reaction was immediate, humorous and perfect … “Shut UP!” she exclaimed, “You win this award AND you designed your own dress!  You’re killing me.”

All in all, thanks to Magdalena, the whole evening made all of us at the Antlers feel super proud.

Rob

Nothing But Platinum Rated Condos

We used to just be in the condominium management and short term vacation rental business, but now we find ourselves in the construction business as well.

Like every vacation condominium property in the world, we wrestle with individual unit decorating and variance of quality.  After forty plus years of non-stop pleading with some owners to “fix it up”, we have just instituted a formal Unit Quality Improvement plan.  Now we are not only encouraging and rewarding those condominium owners who invest the most, but now we also have some sticks to go with those carrots.

As a result, 43 out of our 88 rental units have made, or are making, upgrades to their property.  Some are big projects, some smaller, but all are meaningful improvements.  And that’s in just this year … we expect to have that much and more, in the next couple years following.   Which brings us to the construction business.  If we’re going to become a completely Platinum rated property, as is our goal, we can’t just tell our condominium owners, “You go figure it out.”

Rather, it’s our job to facilitate everything from new furniture and soft goods, to new flooring, windows, appliances, cabinets and some major renovations.

Tom c

Antlers at Vail Chief Engineer, Tom Schlader

Pete Sampson, the newest addition to the Antlers engineering department

Pete Sampson, the newest addition to the Antlers engineering department

Fortunately our Chief Engineer, Tom Schlader, is an accomplished contractor in his own right.  It’s a good thing, because coordinating and implementing this many simultaneous but diverse projects is way more than a handful.  So much so, that we just brought on long-time local Pete Sampson to help Tom in that role.  Pete’s been working as a project manager for a high-end home builder, so his skills are exactly what we need.

The Antlers commitment in this regard is enormous … in both time and money.  That’s okay though.  Like so many others, our business model is changing and we can  either embrace that change, or get run over.

Happily, we plan on being the runner, not the runee.

Congratulations to Magda King as VVP Hospitality Professional of the Year Finalist

Magdalena King, Antlers at Vail Assistant Manager, is a finalist for the VVP Hospitality Professional of the Year

Magdalena King, Antlers at Vail Assistant Manager, is a finalist for the VVP Hospitality Professional of the Year

Magdalena King came to work at the Antlers at Vail as Conference Services Manager six years ago, and shortly thereafter moved into the position of Director of Sales. She has been our assistant manager now for just over a year. We are so proud to share the news that she has not only been nominated as the Vail Valley Partnership’s (VVP) Hospitality professional of the Year, but last week was named as one of three finalists vying for the final honor.

Magda is originally from Ecuador, speaks four languages fluently, and until recently served on the board of the local chapter of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). She is a wonderful mother of two charming children, and she still manages to find time to teach English to and lead a book club for our housekeeping staff. We receive many lovely thank you notes from guests specifically thanking Magda for her warm welcome and assistance. And, perhaps most importantly, she challenges us all to be better.

We are so happy to have her as a such an integral part of our team and hope she receives the recognition she deserves and is named Hospitality Professional of the Year. We’re cheering for you Magda!

Antlers at Vail Biking Tradition

In keeping with the Antlers biking tradition, Randi and I participated in the recent Ride to Work day.  I think this was our tenth time doing it together out of the last eleven years.  One of us must have been on vacation that other year … I can’t remember who.  In the spirit of Bert Farin, we stopped at every food station between Edwards and Vail, and did manage to hit our favorite one at Dowd Junction, just before they ran out of breakfast burritos … Yes!   Bert claims to take a circuitous route each year down in Boulder, just to stop at a couple more.  We totally admire that.

Ride to work 2013

Another component of the Antlers Vail Cycling history is our participation in the Colorado River Ride.  It’s coming up in just two weeks, on July 27.  We’ve had as many as two dozen people proudly wearing the Antlers colors.  Out of 32 people, that’s not bad.  Some of them even work for the competition, but we still call them friends.   Besides, our standards for this purpose are exceedingly low.

River Ride Montage

Unfortunately, this year many of our regulars have conflicts and I think we’re only going to have a handful riding together.  No biggie, because we usually split up pretty quickly anyway.  However, if YOU would like to join us, we’d love to have you, AND you get a free limited edition Antlers jersey!

bike jersey back    bike jersey front

Just give me a call at 970-790-5200.

We do have one celebrity rider with us this year, although she doesn’t know it yet (she knows she’s riding, she just doesn’t know that she’s a celebrity).  Back in April we contributed a free night stay (as we often do) to the Bicycle Colorado fundraiser, PLUS entry into the River Ride with Team Antlers!  A very nice woman who works at Kaiser Permanente called me to say that she was excited to have bought our donation at the auction.   What fun!  After she’s here in two weeks, had a chance to meet us and then if she still has the poor judgement to allow herself to be associated with us, we’ll publish her name.  Maybe even a picture.  Stay tuned.

Rob

Full Circle; around the world from Vail and back again.

“Friends are the Family you choose.” That quote is attributed to a lot of people but who said it first I have no idea. When you work for, stay with or visit the Antlers at Vail you become a part of a family much larger than you might realize. Being a relatively new employee here – only 4 years this August- I had no idea what I was really getting myself into. I say only 4 years because our current head housekeeper Lora Montez has been here at least 38 years her sister Millie Barela was on the original construction clean-up crew in 1972 before becoming head housekeeper for 32 years. Rob LeVine our General Manager has been here 35 this year. A few have been here between 20-25 years! Like Randi Davis our Controller has 26 years under her belt and Gladys Villeda one of our housekeeping supervisors is going 25 years strong! I really could go on but that is a blog for another time!

Millie, Gladys and Martha 2000

Millie, Gladys and Martha 2000

The great thing is when people leave, especially former employees, they tend to come back and you get to meet a lot of “family” members. And everyone always has a story to share whether it be reminicing about their days at the the Antlers or what has transpired since. I had the chance to meet, very briefly, a member of the Antlers family yesterday Polly Letofsky. Polly worked at the Antlers in the late 90’s doing the very job I do now, conference services. She left the Antlers to embark on a journey to walk around the world. More importantly I was able to hear her speak this morning. Polly is in town giving a presentation for one of the many Colorado Municipal League Conference  sessions going on this week. She is very fun and has some great stories to tell about her adventure. I didn’t get to hear all of her presentation though because I was after all suppose to be working! (Shhh don’t tell anyone I played hooky for about 30 minutes).

“Polly left her home and headed west across 4 continents and over 14,000 miles – by foot – to become the first woman to walk around the world. As an awareness campaign for breast cancer, strangers welcomed her into their homes. But it was never an easy road; Polly struggled with earthquakes, muggings, languages, even religious riots”. This is one story worth hearing, knowing and sharing!

Polly at the Antlers Employee Party 1999

Polly at the Antlers Employee Party 1999

I guess I have some pretty big shoes to fill! I don’t have any currently plans to walk around the world but you never know, life can take you places you never saw coming. Listening to Polly talk about her adventure is inspirational to say the least, and very entertaining.
Katie Nelson,
Conference Services Manager – (Future achievements currently unknown but unlimited)

 

Another Antlers Legacy

Here’s another of those little epiphany moments that make you look back and say, “Wow, where does the time go?”
Carl Barela sent us this picture of his son Stephen pitching for the Eagle Valley Devils recently against the Moffat County Bulldogs.
Not only does it seem like yesterday that Carl and Connie announced they were having a baby (Stephen), but I even remember Carl when he was just a little tyke running around the Antlers. His mom (Stephen’s grandma, of course) is Millie Barela who led the Antlers housekeeping department for 35 years. Happily, everyone in the whole family is doing well.
Oh yeah … The Bulldogs only got one run off Stephen in five innings and the Devils won.
Rob

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Seems like yesterday …
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Access to the Best of Vail

After a visit from the Easter Bunny, kids enjoy a hunt for eggs in Lionshead.

After a visit from the Easter Bunny, kids enjoy a hunt for eggs in Lionshead.

 

Today I am marking my two and a half week anniversary here at the Antlers at Vail with my second blog post. This is my first experience working in the lodging industry and while I have had the fortune to work with the Antlers as the official condo hotel of both the Bravo! Vail music festival and Vail Symposium, there has still been a lot for me to take in.

I feel very fortunate to be working here as a part of the Antlers family, and to get to experience to some extent what our owners and guests get to experience. My first week here our Grand Poobah (aka Rob) shared an informal SWOT analysis with me. The top item on the strengths list was “location”. But I don’t think that does it justice. It is really more like the very best access to all that Vail has to offer, and that is a lot.

The antlers-bedecked cruiser bikes are free for guests. A fun way to tour the village!

The antlers-bedecked cruiser bikes are free for guests. A fun way to tour the village!

 

Two weekends ago my family came into town for the Vail Rec District’s Easter egg hunt. We parked here at the Antlers, enjoyed the Easter activities and then stopped back in at the lobby to enjoy some conversation, coffee and hot chocolate for our daughter before heading home. Last weekend we took our daughter up skiing. Of course, everyone knows the convenient proximity of the Antlers to the gondola. Earlier this week I needed to run to the bank. Instead of getting in the car and driving, I grabbed one of the free antlers-bedecked cruiser bikes and enjoyed a refreshing ride through town. As a long-time Vail local, working here reminds me of all the reasons that I live here. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to bringing my hiking boots in and enjoying some impromptu Vail hikes this summer!

Posted by: Liana, the new marketing gal

Antlers at Vail Hires Liana Moore as Director of Marketing

Antlers at Vail new Director of Marketing

The Antlers welcomes new Director of Marketing Liana Moore

You’ve already heard from our new Director of Marketing Liana Moore here on the blog, expounding on the joys of Vail pond skimming, but we thought we’d share the official news release about this exciting new addition to our Antlers team as well…

Vail, Colorado – April 10, 2013 – The Antlers at Vail has named Liana Moore as director of marketing, announced Antlers General Manager Rob LeVine.  In the position, Moore will oversee all aspects of marketing for the popular condo hotel in Vail’s Lionshead. “I’ve already had the pleasure of working with the Antlers in a different capacity for several years,” says Moore, who previously served with two local nonprofits – Bravo! Vail Music Festival and the Vail Symposium – for which the Antlers is official condo hotel. “I’m excited to get to don my marketing hat as a part of the Antlers team.”

“Liana brings an in-depth understanding of the Vail Valley to the Antlers,” says LeVine, “and her marketing experience includes everything from marketing research to public relations. We look forward to having her on our team and assisting us with the big picture as we continue to grow.”

In 1996, Moore began her work as a freelancer for Dallas public relations firms then moved to a financial company where she worked in marketing research. After earning a Master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University, Moore launched her own business in the travel industry. She moved to the Vail Valley in 2000 where she served as director of marketing and public relations for Bravo! Vail Music Festival before founding Kaleidos Marketing to provide marketing strategy and campaigns, public relations plans and social media campaigns for clients. She was elected to the Vail Symposium Board of Directors in 2007, becoming executive director in 2010. She resides in Eagle/Vail, Colorado with her husband and two children.

Since 1972, the Antlers at Vail hotel has offered a unique Vail lodging experience in a relaxed mountain setting. With condominiums ranging from studio suites to four bedrooms, the Antlers provides fully-equipped kitchens, fireplaces, outdoor balconies, free Internet and free parking, and is conveniently located in Vail’s Lionshead area, steps from restaurants, galleries, shops, the free Vail town shuttle and Vail’s Gondola. For more information, call 1-800-843-8245 or visit www.antlersvail.com.

Antlers celebrates Vail Holidaze a little early!

The Antlers at Vail had their annual employee Christmas party last night. All of our employee’s and their families get together every year to celebrate the holidays.

 Santa even made a surprise visit to hand out presents to all the kids!

Even the big kids got presents!

I’m pretty sure everyone was excited and had a great time!

Happy Holidays everyone!!