Mako Shimoda of Longmont closes in on the finish of the Steamboat Marathon as friends, family and fans of all the runners celebrate on the sidewalk. Downtown businesses hope the Lincoln Avenue sidewalks stay full throughout the summer. Officials say the appetite for close-in vacations could lead to increased visitorship from Front Range residents like Shimoda, and local marketing efforts are being geared toward them.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Mako Shimoda of Longmont closes in on the finish of the Steamboat Marathon as friends, family and fans of all the runners celebrate on the sidewalk. Downtown businesses hope the Lincoln Avenue sidewalks stay full throughout the summer. Officials say the appetite for close-in vacations could lead to increased visitorship from Front Range residents like Shimoda, and local marketing efforts are being geared toward them.

Focus put on the Front Range to attract Steamboat tourism

Chamber strongly marketing to Colorado visitors; Triple Crown events under way

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— Local businesses could get a boost from vacationers traveling shorter distances this summer, potentially giving Steamboat Springs increased traffic from within Colorado.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and Mainstreet Steamboat Springs each have stressed the importance of Front Range consumers as Steamboat swings into a tourism season sparked by a big Memorial Day weekend and Monday’s start of Triple Crown Sports events. The first Mainstreet Farmers Market of the season and the Cayuse Classic at Sidney Peak Ranch are coming up Saturday.

The Chamber’s summer lodging barometer is forecasting 6,200 visitors in Steamboat this weekend, compared to about 4,000 visitors who came to Steamboat on the same weekend last year. Marketing director Lynna Broyles told Steamboat Springs City Council earlier this month that the Chamber’s summer marketing plan has a heavy emphasis within the state.

“The Colorado drive market is our No. 1 market,” Broyles said.

The Chamber’s marketing plan again includes heavy attention to Front Range media outlets in print, on television and on the Web. The Chamber’s online advertising includes an increased social media effort and Colorado-focused ads on sites including www.TripAdvisor.com, www.Colorado.com, www.denverpost.com and more.

On Monday, Tracy Barnett, of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, also emphasized the importance of the Front Range, saying a recession-related trend of shorter travel distances could bring more traffic to the mountains. That trend could have been seen during Memorial Day weekend, which brought more than 8,000 people to Steamboat, according to Chamber figures, compared to about 3,000 during the holiday weekend in 2009.

Whatever the cause, Barnett said, downtown businesses are in dire need of a busy summer.

“They need it to be strong, especially if we’re going back to construction in the fall,” Barnett said, referring to the downtown paving project that stops June 30 and resumes Sept. 7. “I think people need a bit of a break, not only financially but emotionally.”

Chamber media and public relations manager Molly Kil­lien recently visited numerous Colorado television stations, newspapers and magazines to bring attention to Steamboat’s summer events.

“Media outlets on the Front Range are so drawn to that Western culture — they’re drawn to the rodeo, to the Fourth of July events,” Killien said. “Steamboat is a very special place in Colorado, and it’s not just locals who think that.”

Killien added that many people she spoke with said “we’re just far enough away that it feels like a vacation.”

That’s just the feeling that local officials hope could bring some much-needed revenue to Steamboat in coming weeks.

“I think we might have a pretty good shot at having a halfway decent summer,” Barnett said. “It really does feel like it.”

Comments

Scott Ford 4 years, 6 months ago

The summer research data has and likely will continue to support the strategy of focusing on the Front Range market. This market can be a bit fickle because the success of motivating the casual non-special event driven visitor is likely highly correlated with how hot it gets in the Front Range.

If it is a relatively cool summer like last year was - the motivation to escape the heat is not as great. What we can really hope for is a 7 to 10 consecutive days of 95+ degree weather in the Front Range beginning in the last week of June. Although it is important of maintain market voice - because Steamboat Springs is not the only "cool" mountain town - it can be promoted as one of the best with an emphasis on western heritage with a lot of green places and water to play in. An most importantly warm (not too hot days) and cool nights.

The big challenge is that summer is too short. Does it really begin in our visitor's mind much before July 1st and when many of the Front Range schools go back in mid-August it is over. The number of families traveling after school begins drops off a cliff.

The best of all worlds will be a marketing campaign that promotes the Yampa Valley / Steamboat Springs as a cool green place with lots of water - and a July in the front range that has a prolonged string of 95+ degree-days.

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cara marrs 4 years, 6 months ago

I hope the City remembers organizations like the Steamboat Springs Running Series that brought in >1,100 runners last year from May through September (those numbers do NOT include the Steamboat Marathon by the way), and numbers this year are on target to equal or surpass that. Over 65-70% of runners where tourists that came with families and friends and utilized local lodging, restaurants and stores. We should remember small organizations that we forget about like the SSRS that have a positive impact on the local economy, while having a low impact on community resources.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

And lets lighten up on the tubers this year, let them park on the road by the Mt Werner exit.

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