Colorado Resort Targets Previous Guests in Regional Mailing

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Reduced rates and relaxation are the selling points in a direct mail campaign by Keystone Resort aimed at previous guests of the Colorado ski lodge.


"The goal is to continue the conversation and let Keystone enthusiasts know that there are some fantastic lodging deals up there," said Scott Coe, president of Cultivator Advertising & Design, Boulder, CO, which designed the piece. "Their customer database is rich enough to make direct mail work. If you ski in Colorado, you know Keystone. Tying into past guests is sort of a slam dunk."


Keystone is about 75 miles west of Denver. Cabins, lodges, standard hotel rooms, condos and free-standing units are available at the nearly 2,000-acre complex that has 1,600 beds.


The first drop of 6-by-9-inch postcards went out just before Thanksgiving to 15,000 people, mainly in the Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Boulder areas. The mailing offered discount rates throughout the season. All recipients had visited Keystone during the past several years.


The mailing was designed to encourage reservations through Christmas. The next piece drops in January. Subsequent pieces will continue through the spring targeting the same audience but with different creative.


Coe described the design as paying "homage to the '50s-era instruction manual." But the use of a black-and-white piece also resulted from a limited budget, he said.


"Four-color wouldn't have added enough strength to justify the additional cost," he said. "Four-color would have cost substantially more. Black-and-white allowed us to extend the reach of the marketing dollars available."


One side mentions a toll-free hotline and advises recipients to "grab dinner, relax, take a soak, sip hot drinks, and in the morning take advantage of fast tracks." Also covered are traffic-avoidance techniques that include "leave really early, leave really late or stay the night."


The copy also includes, "effortlessly find lodging deals for under $100 all season long like our Sunday night stay for only $64 per night." Web specials also are promoted.


"The piece is meant to encourage the weekender who can possibly extend his stay an extra night, or someone taking a hooky day from work who can do an overnight trip," Coe said. "I-70 is a traffic-laden road with traffic on Friday and Sunday nights, so the idea is to avoid the traffic and spend an extra night. The goal of the piece is to get them to pick up the phone or drive them to the Web site, www.keystoneresort.com, where there are similar opportunities."


The back of the piece, which includes images of snowflakes as well as blackout dates, requirements and restrictions, repeats several facts mentioned on the front.


"We also want to provide a way for people to book a great lodging deal at the last minute and let them know how inexpensive it is to stay there," he said.


The per-piece cost, including creative, printing and postage, was 55 cents to 60 cents.


Coe said Keystone Resort had not begun to measure response to the mailer. The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 18 that bookings for Vail Resorts' Colorado hotel properties are down 14 percent from last year. However, Vail Resorts officials say bookings are improving and, according to the Journal, some in the industry suggest the season may pick up in January.


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