(Sample Case Studies of Loved Clientele)
Sun Valley, Idaho
.... A resort/community including Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey, and the surrounding market area whose tourism management and economic interests are represented by Visit Sun Valley and the Sun Valley Economic Development organization.
Situation: Faced with growing municipal focus on infrastructure and prospective budget cuts, Visit Sun Valley and its Economic Development counterpart, determined a need to re-assess the situation, better understand community sentiment, and adjust their strategy commensurately, presumably in concert with their public sector representatives. To accomplish this, they determined the need to establish a solid research fact base, adjust legacy strategies as needed, and communicate the resulting message to gain support from their constituents and public sector partners.
Contribution: Garrison and his team were engaged to create a fact base of key metrics, analyze the results, generate a set of recommendations, and then assist with the ensuing communications to community stakeholders, telling the story through a series of publications, workshops, and presentations to all interested parties.
Results: Led by conscientious and committed community leaders/stakeholders and supported by Garrison’s work, the result was a successful defense of the historical budget, the re-vitalization of a tourism-economy “crankshaft” task force, and a new set of strategies, including an initiative to raise additional funds. In the process, the platform was established for future integration of both economic development and tourism-related initiatives into one umbrella organization and increased focus on the wants/needs of local residents and second homeowners in addition to the legacy focus on destination visitation.
Testimonial: “A long time destination resort industry veteran and generally recognized thought leader, Garrison’s work contributed significantly to helping us all get on the same page, reposition our efforts, clarify the role of tourism in a broader economic context, and guide our collective work toward a sustainable economy and lifestyle for all. I would not hesitate to recommend Ralf as a resource for any resort community with diverse interests but common objectives of replanning their collective future".
- Harry Griffith, Director, Sun Valley Economic Development
Testimonial: "With his broad industry/institutional knowledge, an objective outside perspective and evidence-based approach, Garrison is a credible advisor to planning and strategy development among destination resorts stakeholders seeking to reconcile divergent perspectives, often in politically sensitive environments. The combination of his base line of facts and best practices and ability to communicate in a way that local stakeholders could related to, proved invaluable in helping our community build consensus and find the best path forward.
- Scott Fortner, Executive Director, Visit Sun Valley
Summit County Chamber of Commerce
Summit County Chamber of Commerce provides a family of Chamber functions for the county and resort/towns of Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne and Arapahoe Basin, and operates related events/activities like its Annual COO Summit and Winter Kickoff, which has become the “can’t miss” event for the year.
Contribution: Garrison has worked with/for the Chamber President, Board, and member businesses for over a decade, specifically providing supporting research, market intelligence, and related insights through the Chamber to its members. Garrison has also played a strategic role in their Annual COO Summit/Fundraiser, serving as emcee/moderator, and keynote presenter, earning encore invitations going back 10 years.
Results/Outcome: The Chamber has grown considerably, in size, scope, and financial viability, having become the umbrella organization, and a trusted resource for local economic development, building a regional organization, and established a solid financial footing. The Annual COO Summit has sold out each year, attracting upwards of 500 attendees and filling all sponsorship slots, which in turn has contributed significantly to its funding/stability.
Testimonial: “Garrison's participation over the years has helped the Chamber grow its value to members, expand its reach and establish a solid financial footing. Most importantly, it has been Ralf’s presentations and emcee role at our annual breakfast that has been most noteworthy; his data-driven approach and insights are complemented by insights and a unique presentation style that is informative, entertaining, sometimes provocative, but never boring.”
- Mark Nunn, Chair: Annual Chamber Breakfast, past-president, The Summit County Chamber
Town of Vail
Town of Vail, Colorado is an internationally recognized mountain resort town, led by its Mayor, Council, management staff and supported by committees for economic development, tourism marketing and special events.
Contribution: Ralf, his Advisory Group, and its’ DestiMetrics research division worked with Vail to develop a family of research metrics, curated economic and market data, and provide the Town of Vail’s governing boards with research, insights, competitive analyses, and best practices. Through a multi-year partnership, Garrison provided regular presentations to the Vail Town Council and the community-at-large through numerous public community events. Garrison’s steady stream of fact-based narrative insights included forward-looking forecasts of business challenges and opportunities, informing Town Council members — and their constituency — as they planned for the Town’s economic future during a time of significant transformation in local development and the ski industry as a whole.
Results/Outcome: The Town of Vail is one of the most esteemed and successful mountain resort communities globally and is generally recognized as a market leader. Thanks in some small part to Garrison’s research and insights, both the resort and broader community have established a sustainable year-round economy and lifestyle, effectively eliminated negative economic impacts of so-called shoulder seasons, and successfully transformed itself from a winter resort to a year-round, economically thriving resort community.
Testimonial: “Over nearly a decade of association, Ralf and his Group have helped inform and guide our decisions, educate our constituents about the market conditions and forces at play, and helped us chart a course through several turbulent economic conditions over the years. He not only built the supporting information systems but provided meaningful insights using a unique presentation style that both informed and entertained. " We came to rely on his work and insights, which fully believe helped us make better informed decisions”
— Andy Daily, former Mayor, President, Vail Resorts
Aspen Chamber Resort Association
ACRA is a hybrid chamber of commerce and destination marketing organization for the Aspen community. With a vision of creating an environment for Aspen to thrive, ACRA serves its member businesses and attracts visitors to the resort in order to support a sustainable local economy. They are the bridge between the public and private sector in this passionate mountain town.
Results/Outcome: The Aspen Resort Chamber has successfully established itself as a premiere destination management organization in part by using Garrisons team to providing relevant data and insights to industry and community partners. He became a trusted voice at the table in all public affairs matters and offered a 3rd party perspective and with it, additional credibility and substance to the conversation.
Testimonial: “Ralf and his Group have been a valued partner to the Aspen community for decades, providing research metrics and helping us with thought leadership toward guiding our constituents through the ever-changing market conditions. While the fact base that he and his team provide is important, it’s his storytelling skills and dedication to our success that really set him apart”.
- Eliza Voss, Vice President, Destination Marketing
Vacation Rental Measure & Monitor Task Force
Vacation Rental Measure and Monitor Task Force is an ad hoc group of resort town stakeholders, lodging/property managers, and research experts, focused on understanding, setting best practices, and providing thought leadership around the then-new rent-by-owner marketplace.
Contribution: Garrison initiated and served as project lead in a six-month initiative in developing research methodology to measure, manage and monetize the booming vacation rental industry (VRBO, Airbnb, and others), in its formative years, and to understand its (unintended consequences) on long-term residential housing in resort communities.
Results/Outcome: This pilot program, tested in both coastal and mountain destinations — in collaboration with the College of Charleston, and Vail (Colo.), Park City (Utah), and Sun Valley (Idaho) in the West) - laid the groundwork and established a framework from which public entities and private businesses have grown to measure, understand and plan for vacation rental consequences and challenges in their communities. More recently, these insights have become strategic in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated vacation rentals’ impacts on local workforce housing and created an urgency for vacation rental mitigation and long-term strategic affordable housing initiatives.
Testimonial: “I joined Garrison and his Advisory Group during my academic sabbatical on housing metrics in resort communities and have been impressed with his experience and grasp of the resort community economics and the impacts on the housing/bed base component in particular. But what distinguishes him from others is his commitment to the best interests of the industry, and unique thought leadership around the bed base and its economic consequences. Ralf's initial focus - “where does the lift ticket sleep" evolved to include “ where does the workforce sleep", and we currently continuing with "what does the community want and need".
- Brumby McLeod, Associate Professor,
Chair: Office of Tourism Analysis,
College of Charleston