The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), the trade association for ski area owners and operators, has recognized Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) with its Overall Best Marketing Program and Overall Best Guest Service Program awards for 2009/2010 in the 250,000 to 500,000 skier visits category. CBMR is one of only three resorts to ever win both overall awards in the same year.

“This recognition is an honor and a meaningful tribute to the dedication and hard work of our team,” said Ken Stone, chief operating officer of CBMR. “The awards validate the effectiveness of our marketing programs and recognize the higher level of guest service we have been striving for,” he added. “We all have something to be very proud of.”

Representing 329 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of ski and snowboard visits worldwide, the NSAA recognizes resorts annually for exceptional marketing and guest service efforts. The NSAA Marketing and Guest Service Awards recognize ski area programs that can be quantified. The Marketing Awards recognize the best in ski area marketing campaigns that record impressive results, while the Guest Service Awards reward high-quality resort customer service programs that have had a positive impact on the guests’ level of satisfaction. This year marks the 11th year for the NSAA Marketing Awards and the 6th year for the NSAA Guest Service Awards.

CBMR received the NSAA Best Overall Marketing Award for its winter marketing program entitled “Fly Free,” which was the industry’s first true Fly Free program.  The program was created to directly address the rising cost of air travel during the 2008-2009 ski season.  The Fly Free concept has given life to several promotions (Friends and Family Fly Free; One, Two, Free; Buy One Get One and Fly, Ski & Stay) which have been the top revenue and room night generators in each of the last two years.


The program utilizes marketing funds allocated for the regional airline service Minimum Revenue Guarantee (MRG) to “purchase” free airline tickets for destination guests when they book two or more flights into the Gunnison Crested Butte Regional Airport.

In addition to the direct booking revenue earned from the concept, the Fly Free program has made a positive impact to the MRG program and thus greatly reduced the financial exposure for the RTA. 

Lastly, this program has proven to serve as the catalyst for significant new visits as 77% of all bookings were first time visitors to Crested Butte.

CBMR received the NSAA’s vote for Overall Best Guest Service Program thanks to an exceptional investment in guest service resulting in an increase of 13 percentage points in independent guest survey scores conducted by market research and analysis firm RRC Associates. The resort’s guest service program philosophy was incorporated into each department, making the delivery of exceptional service the foundation for each operation. Early season training was of paramount importance and equated to over 3,000 employee hours. Other highlights of the program include: establishing a Service Excellence Team among employees throughout different departments across the resort; providing personal responses for guest service comments; a new centrally-located Guest Service staff kiosk; and new Guest Service staff uniforms. The new-found energy was infectious and the effort created a sense of pride among the entire resort staff.

“The dedication to detail across all departments in terms of delivering exceptional guest service really stood out this year,” said Nick Herrin, director of skier services for CBMR. “Each individual employee made this resort a friendlier and more helpful place to visit and to work.”

The NSAA Marketing and Guest Service Awards will be formally announced at the NSAA National Convention and Tradeshow, May 2-5, 2010, at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Fla. Award winners and their programs will also be featured in the NSAA Journal.

Nestled in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Crested Butte is committed to preserving the pristine landscape and mountain lifestyle. With vibrant Victorian store-fronts and expressive local characters, the small historic town remains true to its heritage and radiates an unparalleled welcoming and inviting spirit that celebrates a simpler life and time. Thanks to a widely diverse landscape, whether beginner or burgeoning national champion, outdoor enthusiasts of all levels will find a new challenge with each visit. From world-class mountain biking, to legendary skiing and snowboarding, to a secluded fly-fishing experience, Crested Butte is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets.

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