Dude…I Don’t Know What Room I’m In

joe-the-plumberOne of the job titles I have here at the Antlers is “On Call Manager” and rather than explain the job description, suffice it to say I answer the phone when no else wants to.

The World Championships brought many people here from all over the world.  Their personalities were as diverse as their origins.  This is my account of helping out one of those guests just the other night.

It was 3:00 am when my phone rang and the voice on the other end was almost translucent (wasted).

“Haaaay…hey maan…how ya doin tonight…?

I responded with a matter of fact tone (and a little irritated) , “Great, I just finished a movie about 4 hours ago”.

“Haaay tht’s cool…my shower is frickennen (effen) going crazy maan…like I need some sleep…I have a early morning golf game….do I call you to make it stop?”

“I’ll be up in 10 minutes.  I need to grab a screwdriver.  What unit are you in?”

“Ahhh dude…I don’t know….let me look at the door.”  He drops the phone and I hear him tripping over some shoes, bar stools and a border boot.  He stumbles to see where he is staying tonight.

He come back and starts to speak into the earpiece “You there man…hello…you there?  Ahhh man hold on the phone is backwards….It’s five hundred and two and I think the door is open.”

“I’ll be right up”.

I’m sure he left the door ajar intentionally in order to conserve energy as he fell forward into the hide-a-bed sleeper in the living area.  When I arrived, the lights were on and I could not help but notice he was a large man wearing only his whitie-tidies.  It was a visual I did not care to see or remember,  I looked away quickly, picked up the phone which was a yard sale on the floor and continued toward the bathroom.  The shower was running alright.  I could hear it.

I entered the space and pulled the curtain back.  It was a shock to get that wet so quickly.  The water was spraying toward the ceiling, the opposite wall and me.  The shower handle had been pulled out of the tile and was dangling and spinning as if it were alive.  I looked at my screwdriver and thought ” I’m going to need more effen tools”.  I walked quickly past the man lying in an unconscious state in his whitie-tidies and asked “How the hell did this happen?”

He never lifted his head and mumbled “I think it was like that when we got here dude.  My roommate knows.” I didn’t care to begin the investigation this late in the evening, but did mention that he and his roommate “….checked in three days ago.”

I turned off the main water valve servicing the unit and explained to the corpse on the sleeper sofa “you will have no water in the AM.  Not for a shower, a toilet or for cooking.  Do you understand?  Call the front desk in the morning to make arrangements.  Do you understand?”

“Arrgaeffenaaah….”

He did call the front desk at 8 AM and told the agent “some dude came to my room last night and turned off the water.  I need a toilet.  Don’t make me write a bad trip adviser review.”

Our sterling agent (Mark, who was aware of the situation) calmly directed him to the fitness room “….while repairs were being made to the $300 shower valve that mysteriously fell through the tile.”

“This is unacceptable.  I want to talk to the manager.”

Incredibly, the parts that had been destroyed were purchased locally and replaced while my new friends were out knuckle dragging in the morning.  The whole job would have been done except for the fact the kitchen faucet handle had been broken off as well.  (The housekeepers noticed it when they came in the to clean up the mess everyone else had made.)

They returned and I was just crawling out from beneath the kitchen sink after installing a new $240 Kohler faucet and he (whitie-tidie with tattoos) said “You still here?”

“I had to replace the kitchen faucet.  It was broken as well.”

He looked at his buddy and said “Damn dude, this place is falling apart.”

 

Antlers Lobby Holiday Decorations

Once again, we are the supreme beneficiaries of the generosity and artistic skills of one Dawn Bobuk.   Dawn and Ron are two of our favorite owners.  Their condo #607 is perennially one of the most requested at the Antlers, and for good reason.  As you might expect, the owner of such a tasteful unit also has an eye for the elegant when it comes to holiday decorations.

Dawn humors a fairly worthless helper

Dawn humors a fairly worthless helper

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She’s done it for us before, and we can never thank her enough.  This year it took Dawn nearly three days to set up one of the most popular Christmas trees in our history … the Snowman Tree, as well as to re-build the Department 54 village that often graces our lobby this time of year.

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We owe Dawn a huge debt of gratitude.  I hope we can figure out how to repay her one of these days.

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Happy Holidays to all!

Most GM’s Don’t Get To Do This

Bill and Shirley Rauter bought Antlers #506 back in the day.  It was 1972 to be exact. They were the original owners and now theirs is one of only a few Antlers condos that has never changed hands. We’ve been good friends ever since I came on the scene in 1978.

Typical of most Antlers owners back then (and now as well) they had hearts of gold and whenever they came to town they were anxious to share their appreciation for this place they loved so much.

When Bill passed away a few years ago, the Antlers Heart and Soul took a big hit. He was such a nice guy and simply loved having fun. When Colorado passed proposition 64 a couple years ago it was proof that Bill was just a little ahead of his time.

One of Bill’s many joys was sitting on the balcony of #506 and just soaking in the scenery … with Gore Creek as the only thing separating him from the slopes of Vail Mountain. At one point he said, “When I go, I want you to spread my ashes up there so that I can enjoy this scene forever.”

Bill Rauter

Earlier this year Shirley brought some friends and family together for a bit of a reunion and to celebrate Bill’s life. Heart and soul makes a comeback! One of their goals was to spread his ashes as he suggested. Although they sprinkled some at the top of the mountain, they didn’t quite make it down to one desired spot, right next to the trail sign at the top of Simba face. Shortly afterward though, when Shirley was leaving, she asked me if I would do that one favor for her …

“Honored” doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. I waited for just the right day.  November 9th 2014 was a crisp, clear, bluebird day, with just a hint of oncoming winter in the air. I hiked up Simba face and said my own private farewell to Bill. I told him we miss him.   A lot.

From now on, whenever Shirley or I or anyone else who knows, looks at that trail sign from the deck of 506 …

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Our heart and soul lives on.

 

 

– Rob

It’s November 10th!

It’s 2:00 in the PM this particular Monday.   Not just another Monday, but a stormy Monday.

The weather guy in New York told me this morning that Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota would be in for some frigid temperatures this week.  Apparently there is a new polar vortex forcing its way from Alaska and will ultimately consume most of our country.

Colorado Ski Country that is.

It got cold and started snowing on Vail Mountain about 2 hours ago and believe me when I say “it has not let up”.

A few shots around the campus at 2 on the 10th…..

 

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The tranquil Gore Creek got a little colder today.

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Our backyard lawn was mowed just last week.

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We were reminded to turn on the snow-melt system for our courtyard.

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We all have to learn to drive in the snow again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vail Mountain opens the 21st of this month.

If you haven’t made plans……Well?

Chef Barry’s Bodacious Breakfast Burritos

For many years we at the Antlers have pondered whether to provide a breakfast for our guests. The need seemed to be limited since every condominium has its own full kitchen. Most of our guests seem to be happy doing their own thing, and our compromise has always been to provide free shuttle service to the supermarket so they can pick up whatever they need.

Nevertheless, there still seemed to be some demand, so a few years ago we tried providing a wonderful, full hot breakfast buffet. Unfortunately, only a handful of people each day took advantage of it.  Although they definitely loved it, there just weren’t enough of them to support the effort so we stopped doing it. Despite that setback, we’ve always felt like it would be appreciated if we could just find the right model. So it’s time to try something new …

Enter Chef Barry’s Bodacious Breakfast Burritos!

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Starting this winter, Antlers guests can grab a breakfast burrito (regular or vegetarian) pre-made by Barry Robinson, the Antlers acclaimed in-house catering chef. Sixty seconds in the condo’s microwave and voila!  …  a robust culinary start to the day, to be enjoyed with coffee in front of your fireplace, or munched down on the go as you walk to the gondola.

Under the heading of “Keep It Simple”, the only option will be whether or not to also purchase a small side of pork green chile for that smothered maneuver. Naturally, that eliminates the choice of eating-on-the-go; but that’s okay … the two-minute walk to the gondola isn’t enough time to finish CB’sBBB anyway.

Burritos will be $7.50 and the green chile side, another $3.50.  We think this will be a big hit.  We’ve already got a number of standing orders from the staff, who speak from experience.

For a little more reference on Chef Barry and his BBB’s, check out this blog post from a few years ago!

Any Idea Who These People Are?

Halloween is a holiday like no other.   People don’t spend a billion dollars every year on costumes and decorations if their not serious about pretend.

We met at a local pub this past Friday to celebrate “what, I don’t know”.

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Ryan and Katie enjoy a few apps while pretending they are someone else.

This guy even talked funny and told lame jokes..."what is a pirates favorite letter?"

This guy even talked funny and told lame jokes…”what is a pirates favorite letter?”

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Darci cast a spell and Dan struggles with his cocktail

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Katie was never this sweet and Michael put on his boyhood clothes and looked normal to me.

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Some people came as housekeepers.

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Magda came as an Ecuadorian Indian. What an imagination.

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Wilma (Randi) is about to meet Dr Death (Ramon) while sweet Katie enjoys the moment.

Nothing wrong with a few professionals “dressing down” after work.

Happy Halloween!

 

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.

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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.

We Lost A Great One

Col. Don circa 1990We lost another one.  A great one.  One of the original Antlers owners.  He liked to tell the story about walking through the building (the original building) when it was a concrete shell.  Must’ve been 1971.  Colonel Don Wiethuechter (pronounced Wee-Tuke-Ter) was known to us as just Col. Don.  He was as supportive an owner as there ever was.  He came to every annual owners meeting as well as one or two other times a year, and always offered encouragement and appreciation.  Sure, on occasion he may have tied me up on the phone for a few minutes too long (hours, maybe?), but what I wouldn’t give right now to hear that voice say, “Hello Mr. Manager … How are you doing today?”

Col. Don and Bud Benedict were great chums and I remember when Bud retired, me being a little worried about that element of the transition.  My worries were unfounded … Col. Don had my back just as much as he ever had Bud’s … and as much as any other owner ever has.

I always claim that the Antlers Heart and Soul is what sets us apart from our competition.  It’s unquestionably what has kept me here (and happy) for 36 years.  Well, if ever there was a symbol of our heart and soul, it was Col. Don.  We’ve had some great owner/cheerleaders over the years, but Col. Don was Col. Don circa 1995there with the best of them.  I think we only took second place to his beloved Huskies at the University of Washington, and maybe his employer of 30+ years, the U.S. Army.

He would frequently travel with the Washington football team to away games and I think even received some sort of super-booster honor at mid-field one time.  I remember when Rick Neuheisel got the coaching job at UW, after getting canned from CU.  Things didn’t go so well for Rick at Udub either and we had a great time ribbing Col. Don for years afterward about our hand-me-down.  Despite his propensity to bleed purple (as they say), he always took it well.

I think we only have five or six of the original owners left now, although there are happily another six or eight that have been handed down in their families.  It’s such a bummer to see the number dwindle, but Col. Don will always be a permanent part of Antlers lore.

Soon To Be Platinum Rated

Dr. Brooks Newbill, owner of unit 109 at the Antlers, committed to a major renovation this past spring and the results are in….. Stunning!

The 680 square foot condominium was completely “gutted” in order to launch the project.  All existing walls and popcorn ceiling texture were removed.  The original kitchen, bathroom, fireplace and all flooring were taken to a final resting place.  The majority of furniture was donated and all older appliances were properly recycled.

These few photos are only a glimpse of the final result.

With no walls left, new walls needed to be raised.

With no walls left, new walls needed to be raised.

This is eventually the kitchen with a new window.

This is eventually the kitchen with a new window.

After a little more than four months, the condominium is back in the rental pool and ready to be enjoyed.

The sliding glass door from the living/dinning area, overlooks the pool and Gore Creek.

The sliding glass door from the living/dinning area, overlook the pool and Gore Creek.

A new fireplace, entertainment center with additional storage space.

A new fireplace and entertainment center with additional storage space.

The kitchen includes granite counter tops with stainless steel appliance and heated tile floors.

The kitchen includes granite counter tops with stainless steel appliances and heated tile floors.

A king bed in the master.

A king bed in the master

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A wardrobe with plenty of space.

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A double vanity, walk-in shower and heated tile floors complement the master suite.

It also needs to be mentioned that the furniture and all the amenities to complement are of the highest standard.  The electronics and appliances are the most current available and Dr. Newbill elected to install LED lighting throughout the unit.

Congratulations Brooks Newbill, your home away from home is truly outstanding.

Another Moose Takes Refuge

Anyone that walked into our Lobby last Sunday did a double take at the sight of a very large Blue Moose standing near the fireplace.

This one did not wander unwittingly into our lobby, but rather, was intentionally dropped off under the cover of darkness. Our neighbors in Lionshead made quite the effort to wheel the 250 pound sculpture over on Saturday night from the Blue Moose Pizzeria.

The sign around its neck read “I hear you accept pets and this is a great place to stay”.

This visit didn’t get as much coverage from the press as the last one.

Dan Cullen, Front Desk Agent extraordinaire, catches up on the Sunday local news

Dan Curtin, Front Desk Agent extraordinaire, catches up on the Sunday local news