Cyclists to Park City: advertise more
If Park City wants to attract more destination cyclists, it will need to better target that demographic with marketing. That’s according to cycling-sports experts attending DealerCamp last week.
DealerCamp was held at Deer Valley Resort July 29-31 to give bike shop retailers a sneak peek at new products from major manufacturers. Park City was chosen as host for its extensive trails and close proximity to an airport and Interstate.
But several attendees said they’d never been to Park City before and didn’t know what it had to offer cyclists.
Many local merchants say they would like to attract more summertime business. Since all three resorts are popular for mountain biking, many consider cyclists the low-hanging fruit.
Ask a member of the industry where destination cyclists flock, the answer is quick and decisive: Whistler.
"It’s well established," said Jason McCormack, a sales representative with Scott. "It’s a very well organized and advertised park. I’m only familiar with Park City for skiing."
"It’s famous," explained Adam Micklin with Shimano.
"As much as you groom snow, they groom dirt," said Daniel Limburg with Pivot BH.
"They do specific surveys who’s coming, why do they come back what trails should they build?" said Kevin Tisue, a designer for Pivot BH.
But Park City could get more business with better marketing, they all agreed.
"Do promotions, advertise in industry publications," McCormack suggested. "The dealers have been happy with the trail system Deer Valley is easier to get to."
Coming from Phoenix, Arizona, McCormack said he looks for two things for destination biking: accessibility and good weather. Park City has both, he said.
"A lot of people are unaware there are 300 miles of trails," said Brad Iskiyan with SRAM.
Moab is a popular place for destination cycling because it’s a desert environment. It’s a "must experience," Iskiyan said. But Deer Valley’s high-alpine environment is too, he added. He especially loved the outdoor music venue at the Snow Park Amphitheater. Colorado resorts offering something comparable take two to six hours to get to.
"This is heaven between the downhill and the cross country," he said. "You have great restaurants, and for the money, unbelievable accommodations."
But cyclists aren’t big spenders, many said.
It doesn’t work to advertise a $50 meal to somebody who saved for a year to buy their bike, and then another year to go on a big vacation, Limburg said.
"Deer Valley is known for being expensive Park City, too," he said.
Limburg said he was disappointed in the fast food offerings in Park City. Whistler has world-class restaurants and hotels, but they also have many inexpensive offerings.
"Deer Valley intimidates people because its accommodations are so expensive at least that’s the reputation," Iskiyan said. "Under $150 a night are needed for this crowd."
McCormack said he’d only be willing to make the drive from Phoenix to Park City if he could afford to stay a week. He was also disappointed by the toned-down nightlife during summer.
Micklin and his colleague Jim Rasmussen said they’ve never seen packaged deals targeting cyclists.
Since hard-core mountain bike enthusiasts are a unique demographic with such specific needs, the two proposed Park City focus more on families.
"Extreme biking leave that to Whistler. People leave every weekend with something broken," Micklin said. "Create a really good trail system for all levels."
Rasmussen used to be a ski instructor in Park City and said the resorts do well at accommodating all skill levels in winter. The same should be done in summer. Rather than trying to attract more enthusiasts, he suggested the resorts build more beginner trails and target families with young children.
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A Deer Valley Resort executive on Wednesday said the resort by the end of 2019 or in early 2020 intends to submit plans to City Hall for the initial infrastructure work needed for the eventual development of the Snow Park Lodge parking lots.