Theater is marketing tool for Grand

— The smell of popcorn and comfortable seating are the newest gimmicks in attracting buyers to the quartershares at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel. Two years on the market, the quartershares are 52 percent sold, and one way the real estate team hopes to boost sales is through the Little Grand Theater.

Completed this week, the theater has a 110-inch screen, stadium seating with 27 cushioned, reclining seats and double cup holders and a popcorn machine.

What buyers see once they get there is a 26-minute film. The first six minutes is a promotional piece on the Grand Summit Resort Hotel and the next 20 minutes are clips that feature Steamboat in the last four Warren Miller movies.

As moviegoers sit in the darkness of the theater and listen to surround sound, Tony Adkins, director of sales and marketing, hopes they become immersed in the allure of Steamboat.

"Our whole focus is to offer the lifestyle of Steamboat and the community of Steamboat. It is a relationship-type of endeavor," Adkins said. "To experience the mountains, to experience the hotel in that lifestyle, we felt the (theater) was a great way to be involved."

It goes beyond the typical TV and video promotional tool, Adkins said, and provides viewers with a better experience of Steamboat's snow and Western heritage. He called the movie a soft introduction to ownership at the Steamboat Grand.

"It is not a hard sell," he said.

It is an idea that is shared by The Canyons in Utah, another Grand Summit Resort Hotel owned by American Skiing Co. Although both have movie theaters to showcase their products, Adkins said the one in Steamboat is larger.

Even though the theater sits in the Steamboat Grand, it will be used primarily for the real estate sales office. Wendy Aljanich, marketing manager, said once the quartershares are sold out, it would most likely be turned over to the hotel.

The theater sits in a room that was once the mercantile store, then the real estate office and began its transformation into a movie theater about two months ago.

Aljanich would not say how much the theater cost. The sales office hired

Custom Design Audio, which installs home movie theaters. Owner Ray Martinez said this is one of the larger theaters, seat wise, that he has done.

The company designed the seating, including platforms, installed the sound system and set up a movie system that could start with a push of a button.

Aljanich said the movie theater is not open for everyone. To get into the two showings, which are at 3 and 6 p.m., people must be interested buyers and see a sales representative for a ticket.

Aljanich said the office will promote the film to the guests who use the hotel.

In popcorn holders, Aljanich said that each room would get a flier explaining the film and how to get tickets.

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