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  • Ralf Garrison

The Road Ahead: Evolving Realities in the Post-Pandemic Economy

Introducing a new series examining post-COVID economic trends in mountain resort communities.

I am pleased to join Bob Brown, the local paper and its sister mountain town publications, as we announce a second series of articles. This second series is part of our ongoing collaboration with resort community leaders and stakeholders. We have been working to understand, plan, and navigate this pandemic economy and are now beginning the road to recovery.

Almost a year ago, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control issued a “quarantine in place” order, and the 2021 winter season came to an abrupt end. Most of us were caught totally off guard by this unprecedented event. Understandably gobsmacked, we experienced intense emotions as we struggled to make sense of the ramifications to the very lifestyle to which we all aspire.

As decade-long business partners with mountain resort communities, we launched The Insights Collective as a pandemic economy think tank and resource center. We formed a collaboration with the local paper, with a series of articles published in the fall of 2020.

What a difference a year makes. With COVID-related cases, hospitalizations, and deaths on the decline and vaccinations becoming widely available, there are already signs that the forthcoming summer season could be quite strong, with vaccinated boomers and general pent-up demand leading the way.

But, as we’ve all learned, COVID-19 spreads by travel, loves to party, and is full of surprises with its variants. It’s best addressed with humility and respect, or we may find ourselves going backward again.

Baseball legend Yogi Berra said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Neither is the road to recovery. It’s unclear what we’ll experience or how closely our eventual destination will compare to the good old days.

Our new nine-part weekly series is intended to track the anticipated recovery, what will return to some sense of normalcy, and what may have changed forever.

Supporting research and insights will be provided in written and audio formats by Insights Collective team members, featuring their trademark spin on “why it matters.” And once again, we’re partnering with the local paper, long-time associates of ours who support the greater good in the resort communities they serve.

Our original mantra, “We’re smarter together than any of us individually,” has proven valid. We’re happy to continue this collaboration with the local paper and any/all like-minded resort community stakeholders.

A Note From Bob Brown

“Unprecedented,” “remarkable,” “stay at home,” and “flatten the curve” are just a few of the terms that have grown tiresome over the past 12 months. On this one-year anniversary of our world shutting down, we are looking forward with optimism and resilience, still seeking to understand our new reality moving forward.

Last year, the local paper partnered with the Insights Collective, who are leading western ski community research and marketing professionals. The anchor companies represented by these individuals are Inntopia/DestiMetrics, RRC Associates, and The Strategic Marketing Group. Together we produced a series that illuminated insights around emerging travel trends, consumer sentiment, and extended stay travel residency.

Now, with restrictions relaxing and a clear path for immunization providing the prospect of herd immunity across the U.S., there are more learnings and opportunities to share as we prepare for the year ahead and what looks to be a fantastic summer season.

Over the last several months, the Insights Collective has gathered more data, engaged with consumers, and observed emerging trends. Now, we are partnering for a new series focused on (The Road Ahead). The Insights Collective brings a more global view, while our team at (newspaper name) will provide a local perspective on trends impacting our community.

This collaboration will provide information to be acted upon in local businesses or community organizations, improving results in the year ahead.

Along with Ralf Garrison, our goal is to bring communities together to grow and prosper. In our original series, I included the mission of local paper and its sister publications to “Champion the Power of People to Improve Communities,” and the purpose of this new effort is the same.

Looking forward, we’re optimistic for this summer and robust recovery. Fortunately, the data and consumer sentiment supports our instincts, which we are excited to share for the next nine weeks. The series begins on March 24 and ends on May 19.

(Bob Brown is the president of Swift Communications, the parent company of the local paper.)


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