Steamboat Chamber hosts seminar on event sponsorships |

Steamboat Chamber hosts seminar on event sponsorships

Jack Weinstein

— When reviewing sponsorships for Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's events, new CEO Tom Kern realized a change was needed.

Kern, who took the reins at the Chamber in September, said many organizations host events that are intended to generate revenue not only for the themselves but also for the sponsors. It doesn't always work out that way.

"In talking to some of our sponsors, many of them see sponsorship of our events as a donation instead of a return on investment," Kern said.

The Chamber is hosting an event sponsorship and public relations and media seminar from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The Steamboat Pilot & Today is co-sponsoring the seminar, which costs $50 to attend. The Chamber has some room for those who didn't previously register. Kern urged them to arrive at the community center by 10:30 a.m.

Kern has tapped a couple of former colleagues from his days as president of the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Mich. The weeklong event draws more than 500,000 annually, according to its website.

Chuck O'Connor, the Cherry Festival's director of marketing and corporate partnerships, and Susan Wilcox Olson, the event's media and marketing manager, will give presentations.

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"The unique thing about these two, their skill set, they come from a market that's very similar to here," Kern said about Traverse City, which has a population of about 14,000. "They've been really really successful in being able to develop sponsorship relationships and to pull sponsorship dollars into a small market. I think that's something that people who run events in this town can benefit from."

He said the event would start with a webinar hosted by O'Connor about on-site mobile marketing.

Kern said today's seminar is geared toward event hosts, to teach them how to attract sponsors not just locally but regionally and nationally. But he said it would be valuable for businesses to learn how to maximize returns from their sponsorship investments.

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said she plans to attend. Barnett said she would like Mainstreet, which hosts about 10 events a year, to better help its sponsors. And Barnett said she would like to learn how to attract national sponsors.

"If we all have better tools, we should be able to get some of those sponsorship dollars," she said. "Those dollars are out there. We just don't know how to make a package attractive to sponsors."

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email

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