Steamboat Springs A combination of wine lovers and baseball nuts made up Steamboat's busiest summer weekend this year.
In a year-end presentation to the Steamboat Springs City Council last week, Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort As-sociation Marketing Director Lynna Broyles reported that the first weekend in August was the summer's busiest for the second year in a row. In 2007 and 2008, the Steamboat Wine Festival and Triple Crown World Series were held on this weekend, when lodging properties were more than 90 percent full.
"It's tough to divide the two up to see how much each is bringing in," Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Chamber, said about the events.
City Council President Loui Antonucci said he is somewhat surprised at how successful the Steamboat Wine Festival has become. He also noted that it is an event popular with locals, as well as tourists.
"We always knew that could be a great weekend," Antonucci said. "It really bridges the gap where it's something locals can enjoy also."
The Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament drove the second busiest summer weekend in 2008. The weekend of the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo was third. The two events, held during back-to-back weekends in July, were in opposite positions last year. In 2007 and 2008, Triple Crown played a role in the fourth through seventh busiest weekends.
Broyles' report included various statistics regarding summer tourism and the Chamber's marketing efforts. Broyles reported that 27 percent of Steamboat's summer visitors travel from the Front Range. Texas, California, Illinois and Florida are the states that send the most visitors to Colorado. There were 53,258 unique visits to the Chamber's www.steamboatsummer.com Web site in 2008, up from 45,782 in 2007.
Among the Chamber's "signature events," the Steamboat Marathon was the most profitable, netting $53,000 of revenue beyond expenses. Cowboys' Roundup Days, Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, Wild West Air Fest and Winter Carnival also made money, while the Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup lost about $500.
"I think we did an excellent job in both spending the money efficiently on new events and public relations," Evans Hall said.
"One of the things it did show me is that the Chamber does a good job of marketing the community," he said about the presentation. "I think that after this many years, they've really been kind of able to tailor our marketing efforts to what works."
Antonucci and Evans Hall said it is difficult to say how a weakening global economy and a reduced marketing budget will impact the Chamber and its efforts to sell Steamboat in the summertime.
In its 2009 adopted budget, City Council allocated $564,000 for summer marketing, which is down from $638,000 in 2008 and the lowest amount since 2005. Evans Hall said it already has decided to cut back on its print advertising campaign, especially outside core markets. Broadcast ads will be cut entirely.
"I think we're going to do the best that we can," Evans Hall said. "It's too early to say what kind of an effect it will be."
Antonucci said he is optimistic that the Chamber's knowledge of "what works" will allow it to weather the decrease in funding.
"Whenever you cut marketing, you never know what effect, if any, it will have," he said. "I'm not really happy about the fact we had to cut it, but I am happy council came up with that number."