During Monday’s earnings call, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz was asked by an investor to comment on the negative press surrounding the resort following photos and videos of lift-lines went viral in February. The resort also had a tragic death on one of its chairlifts too during the same quarter.
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Katz was asked what steps Vail would take in the future to prevent the spread of negative press like the photos and videos that depicted what looked like ridiculously long lift lines, reports Vail Daily.
Katz explained there were a couple of reasons the lines escalated as they did, a situation at Gondola One and another at Chair 5. However, pictures showed long lines at Chair 7 and the Eagle Bahn Gondola as well. Vail Resorts had just received one of its top snowfall events ever recorded.
Katz thought the Gondola One lines were not concerning but it was “not a great guest experience” at Chair 5.
“And that’s probably an understatement,” he added. “Obviously not something we want to have happen for any of our guests. At the same time, we had, again, this huge powder day, and unfortunately, didn’t have the opportunity to open more of our terrain, so we only had that area open.”
Aware of the issues on the day, Vail tried to mitigate the lines and manage guests’ expectations by positioning employees at the top of slopes to ‘alert those folks that the line was going to be pretty big when they got to the bottom” of Chair 5’, Katz explained.
“Our takeaway from that, that was a very one-off situation, the snow cycle that created that was one of a handful over the last decade or more, in terms of the intensity of it, but I do think we take away from it guest communication. We have a responsibility to be out front with our guests,” Katz said.
The situation will be used as a learning experience though, and especially ensuring guest communication improves in the future:
“That’s something that we’re going to absolutely be continuing to improve upon and we’ll make sure we’ll be more dialed in heading into next season,” he said.