How will the legalization of recreational use of marijuana affect Colorado tourism?

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Now that I peeked your attention, take my survey and let’s find out! I created this survey as part of a project for the master’s program I am currently enrolled in. This survey should only take about 5 minutes and the data that I will collect from it will go a long way in helping me create recommendations for various tourism agencies in the state of Colorado!

Survey- https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NYQBYK7

I will post the findings and the report after the project is complete!

Thank you in advance!

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Aspen Skiing Company is at it again!

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I love Aspen. The skiing is incredible, the city is fun, and the ski company is the epitome of corporate social responsibility pertaining to sustainability. While the tourism industry is commonly referred to as “the industry without smokestacks”, it is not secret that the industry is inherently polluting. The tourism industry accounts for 5-14% of global carbon emissions which is significant considering that the tourism industry employs about 5% of the global workforce and produces 7% of the world’s GDP.

I have followed Aspen for a long time because their practices towards carbon neutrality and beyond are impressive to say the least. Their most recent initiative is an underutilized tactic that uses a by-product of coal mining, methane, and puts it to god use. Traditionally in coal mining, methane is a common occurrence in the mine, and needs to be pumped out to ensure a higher level of safety for the miners. Historically, this is where the cannery practice comes from. Once the methane is pumped out, it is released into the atmosphere. Sometimes it is burned, but most of the time it is simply released. Herein lies the problem, methane is about 25X more polluting than CO2.

This is where Aspen Skiing Co. comes in. They saw that this resource was being wasted and causing environmental harm. Eventually, the company was able to work out a partnership with the mine to install a methane collection and energy generation plant costing about $3 million. Now, the methane is no longer spewed straight into the atmosphere and Aspen Ski Co. is able to power all of their operations, generating enough power that would be the equivalent of powering 2,400 homes annually.

Do you know what surprised me the most? This is ONLY THE THIRD instance of turning methane byproduct form coal mining into power in the country! Seems pretty ridiculous to me, but kudos to Aspen Ski Co.!

Here is a video they created about the operation from their “Our Story” series.

Coal Mine

I really look up to them for their environmental practices. They have proved that being a forward thinking, sustainability minded company can yield great financial results while still providing the world class experience they are known for!

I am so excited for the 13/14 ski season!

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Kegs of beer on ski lift

Beer goes of a ride!

Looks like this ski area is gearing up for the 13/14 season. I have to be honest, the last few winters haven’t been great skiing for me. I started school at Colorado State in 2009 which had a record snow year and the  10/11 season wasn’t a bad one. The past two years have been less than stellar. Between bad snow, rocks, ripped out edges, ice skiing, and not skiing enough to make my pass worthwhile, Colorado, and myself, want a good ski season!

I am patiently optimistic for this ski season and haven’t bought a pass yet. Either way, I want to take a ride on that lift! Looks like a blast regardless of the snow conditions 🙂

Quick look at service marketing and the ski industry!

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As the United States has developed over recent decades, the economy has become increasingly service based. This is especially true in the tourism industry as the product being sold is an intangible experience. “Selling” this experience, or opportunity for an experience, is where service marketing takes place. Under service marketing, there are four aspects in which should be managed for in order for the service to appropriately meet the demands of the consumer or participant. I will discuss how a hypothetical Colorado ski area is affected by these aspects of intangibility, inseparability, variability, and perishability affect the company and ski industry every day.

Intangibility in the ski industry presents a particular issue for one simple reason. Skiing is expensive. The initial “sticker shock” dissuades many from even participating in skiing, and has resulted in low introduction rates, and even lower conversion rates into lifelong skiers.  Without a trusted source introducing a participant to the sport and lifestyle, intangibility has strong roots in these low participation and conversion rates. In Colorado, a ski rental can cost around $30/day, and a lift ticket as high as $100. Including gas, clothing/gear and food, someone who just want to try out skiing for the first time can easily spend upwards of $200 for a single day. The fact that one cannot experience what skiing is without such a high initial cost is what attributes to these low introduction and conversion rates.

Inseparability is the next aspect that falls under service marketing. Traditionally, goods are produced, transported, bought by consumers, and then consumed after having spent some amount of time being produced. In service marketing, and especially in the tourism industry, the product sold, produced, and consumed at the same time. There is no transit time or shelf life. There is only the moment in which the product is purchased and consumed. In terms of the ski  area, the experience is affected by the entire time a participant is on property. The experience being sold starts as soon as the guest sees the first sign for the ski area or first interacts with the parking attendant. While the participant hasn’t actually paid for anything yet, the experience has started and must be managed for.

Variability in relation to the ski industry is dependent on fluctuations in the production of the product. This is partially affected by participation rates, but is also affected by internal and external factors. In terms of the ski industry, external factors include the time of year, snowfall, and temperatures present. Internal factors include snowmaking capabilities, staff training, customer engagement, and speed at which participants are moved around the mountain.

Perishability is the last aspect of service marketing and can significantly improve the financial success of a ski area if properly managed for. Perishability occurs in the tourism industry because of participation levels. Take a ski-in ski-out lodge with 100 rooms for example. Say on average, 85 rooms are used each night. Perishability occurs with the remaining 15 rooms. Each day, there is 100 rooms to sell, no more and no less. If you only sell 85 one night, the remaining 15 do not carry over to the following night. Once the day has ended, that’s it, the 15 rooms remain unsold and the potential profits are not realized.

While this was a quick overview of how intangibility, inseparability, variability, and perishability affect the ski industry, one can see, these four aspects of service marketing creates interesting aspects which must be managed for if this hypothetical ski area is to provide an experience that people are willing to pay for and for the ski industry to attract and retain new participants.

Well that’s nifty

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Came across this fun new gadget from our friends at MIT.

Check this out! http://mashable.com/2013/10/26/thermoelectric-bracelet-lets-you-control-your-body-temperature/

These four students have created this bracelet that is a person heating and cooling unit! How much would skiers enjoyment improve if they were never cold? I wonder how much more the ski industry would grow in terms of skier days?!

Outside of the ski industry, people could use this in their daily lives. One could keep their house at an appropriate level and reduce their overall electricity consumption! The students found that roughly 16% of energy usage in the US goes towards atmospheric control of our buildings. Think of the impact and how much we could move one step closer to reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint!

Pretty good MIT 🙂