By Melanie Wong
It’s official – off-season is here.
But while the mountains are officially closed, many local businesses keep their doors open for the next week by offering off-season specials. The promotions, often geared toward locals, lingering tourists or Front Range residents, help create what many businesses call the “shoulder season,” that time between the busier summer and winter months.
The specials, which range from lodging deals at local hotels to fixed-price, multi-course meals at restaurants, serve the dual purpose of thanking the community and keeping the businesses busy in what would otherwise be a slower time.
Juniper restaurant in Edwards runs a special for 50-percent off all entrees each spring and fall. The spring special, which goes through April 21, has drawn a good crowd and kept the restaurant bustling at night. After that, the restaurant closes until Memorial Day weekend in late May.
“We do it every off season. It keeps us busy,” Juniper owner Doug Abel says. “It’s been very successful. Our no. 1 reason is that we do it for the locals to thank them for a great season. When they come in, they’ll bring friends in and talk about us during the season as well.”
Another restaurant, the Mirabelle at the base of Beaver Creek, also offered 50-percent off entrees last week. When the restaurant reopens for the summer, it will feature different specials as well, says Cindy Taillard, the owner’s assistant.
“(The special) includes all the entrees on the menu,” she says. “Once the season is almost over, we want to thank everybody for supporting us throughout the season. It’s a little gesture before we close.”
The Westin Riverfront Resort in Avon is offering promotions at the hotel, spa and restaurant, which have drawn not only locals, but also a good amount of Front Range business. The two-for-one lodging deal has made the hotel a popular place for events and parties, as well as a hot spot for locals who have family and friends in town visiting.
Specials also include two-for-one massages at the hotel’s Spa Anjali and a three-course, $38 meal at Cima restaurant.
“The lodging deal is especially really popular,” says Kristen Pryor, the Westin’s director of sales and marketing. “There’s a great perceived value, and you can have multiple family and friends to stay. People make a weekend of it. I’ve even heard of a couple locals interested in doing a ‘staycation’ and enjoying the pool. I think its fun to play tourist in your own valley.”
Aside from a way to thank the community and spread the love to local residents, there’s a definite business to off-season specials. It helps restaurants and hotels keep their doors open and keep their staff for longer, and the word-of-mouth advertising from local customers is invaluable.
“If you price the deals to where you’re at least breaking even, it helps us with retention of staff,” says Pryor of the Westin. “Part of the goal is also getting locals talking about us. That’s so important.”
Another Edwards business, Palic + Miller Chiropractic, offers a $35, one-hour massage through the end of May – nearly half off its usual rate of $65 per hour. The special, which the clinic runs during most off seasons, has been very popular, and sessions have been filling up quickly, says chiropractor Tom Palic.
He says he’s seen some regular clients book multi-hour appointments, as well as “new clients who come to take advantage of the deal.”
“It creates a little buzz around our business,” Palic says. “Also, a lot of people are loyal to other places, and this is our chance to get them to try us out.”
Whatever the reason, it’s a good excuse for local residents to get out and enjoy their own town.
“In the valley, when the tourists tend to leave and locals are still here and working hard, we like to give them an opportunity to enjoy the resort and remember why we live here in the first place,” Pryor says. “We’re locals as well and know how it is to live here.”