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Something Else 19 November 2009

Posted by magicdufflepud in Uncategorized.
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So I guess I’m supposed to add something new, something about how life in Colorado has surpassed all my expectations. Instead, you’re getting an entry that follows an evening at the bar — perhaps that’s more in line with the typical life of the ski bum out here. There’s no snow to speak of yet, so we’ve occupied ourselves with drinking and talking shop. Like today, about the guy who seemed most upset that he’d been priced out of the market even though he’d been coming to Keystone for the last ten years. “It’s supply and demand,” I pointed out. “Rising demand has pulled up the prices for three bedroom condos. It’s a shame you can’t find your typical rate closer to $400 a night.”

And of course, he grew livid. “Yeah, that’s how it works. Demand means more than ten years of coming there. You don’t give a shit about your customers.” An interesting point. Maybe we (Vail) don’t (doesn’t) give a shit. So here’s the thing — and I’m trying to tie this back to humanity somehow — is that kind of loyalty worth a discount? If you’ve been coming to Keystone for 10 years, at seven times a year, should the reservations department cut you a break? It’s a tough call.

On the one hand, you can say sure, the money you’ll make off that customer in the future will more than make up for the loss on those few days. But at the same time, you’re offered a gamble. He’s been coming here for ten years after all, so will this one setback sour him on the Keystone experience forever? Or at least long enough to matter? Evidently, our office bet against that possibility. Meeting the demand for rooms around Christmas struck management as more important than mollifying one disappointed guest. So you have that.

It present a curious situation, though. Vail’s The Man around here; the company runs the show in Summit County, so while it’s hard to feel sorry for the enormous corporation from the outside, it seems so much harder to discount its position on an individual basis. The dollars at stake don’t just go to executives. They fall into the pockets of the lifties and dining services folks, and yes, the vacation coordinators as well. So as much as it’s trendy to hate Megacorp X, it’s equally important to consider that Megacorp employs a bunch of folks who depend on its continued profitability. I know I do.

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