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

Ralf Garrison and Bob Brown
Guest commentary

Insights Collective; a Tourism Economy Think Tank and Resource Center – is a collaboration of destination travel industry experts who are collaborating and working, together with mountain resort communities and their stakeholders, to understand, plan, and navigate through the emerging tourism marketplace.  /

The Collective’s Resource Center is comprised of its founding members, each a specialist in their own right
Jane Babilon, Lodging Research Consultant
Dave Belin,  RRC Associates
Chris Cares,  RRC Associates
Barb Taylor Carpender, Taylored Alliances.
Tom Foley,   Inntopia/DestiMetrics
Ralf Garrison,  Advisory Group of Denver
Brian  London.  London Tourism Publications
Carl Ribaudo, SMG Consulting
Susan Rubin Stewart, Contact Center Consultant
Jesse True,  True Consulting

From Ralf Garrison

I am pleased to join Bob Brown, the Tahoe Daily Tribune and its sister mountain town publications, to announce a second series of articles as part of our ongoing collaboration with resort community leaders and stakeholders, who have been working to understand, plan, and navigate through this pandemic economy and now, finally, beginning the road to recovery. 

It was almost exactly a year ago that 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 gob smacked, 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 and formed a collaboration with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, with a series of articles publishing in the fall of 2020.

What a difference a year makes.  Now, with COVID-related cases, hospitalizations and deaths on the decline and vaccinations becoming widely available, the data points to a bright future. 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, with its variants, is full of surprises. 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 Tahoe Daily Tribune; 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 and we’re happy to continue this collaboration with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, and any/all like-minded resort community stakeholders.

Ralf Garrison is the Founder of Insights Collective 

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 Tahoe Daily Tribune 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 long 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 been gathering more data, engaging with consumers and observing 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 the Tahoe Daily Tribune 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 the Tahoe Daily Tribune 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 a robust recovery. Fortunately, the data and consumer sentiment supports our instincts, which we’re excited to share for the next nine weeks. The series begins March 24 and ends on May 19.

Bob Brown is the president of Swift Communications, parent company of the Tahoe Daily Tribune

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