Chamber previews marketing plan with Steamboat City Council

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— Officials of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association on Tuesday night gave the Steamboat Springs City Council a preview of their summer marketing strategy.

The campaign this year includes plans to grow the chamber’s social media presence, revamp its website and heavily promote biking opportunities in the Yampa Valley.

“I think we can do a lot better than we’ve done in the past,” Chamber CEO Tom Kern said about the annual marketing campaign. “I think there are whole markets out there we haven’t touched yet.”

Kern and Chamber Director of Marketing Kara Givnish also announced a goal this summer to grow Steamboat’s monthly sales tax revenue by 5 percent compared to last year and see gains in the lodging barometer.

Givnish told the council that the city’s summer marketing campaign will kick off earlier this year because of the early arrival of warm spring temperatures. The Chamber also will continue to shift its advertising dollars more from print- to web-based sources and social media.

“Somebody doesn’t come to Steamboat Springs because they saw an ad in Sunset Magazine,” Kern said. “They come because of an article they read in Sunset Magazine or on a travel blog about a great experience in Steamboat.”

A new event the Chamber highlighted Tuesday night was a “familiarization” trip in July that will have several journalists from across the country spend a day and a half in Steamboat before they embark on a bike ride to Fort Collins. The Chamber hopes the testimonials it collects from the trip will entice more bikers to vacation here.

Steamboat last year spent $575,000 on its summer marketing campaign. The Chamber on Tuesday night presented the council with a return on investment report conducted by Boulder-based RRC Associates Inc. that estimated that Steamboat received $32 back in tourist spending for every dollar it spent on the marketing campaign. The report also estimated that out of the nearly 276,000 “leisure” visitors who visited Steamboat last summer, 55,000 of them visited because they were influenced by advertising.

Cellphone tower

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council gave AT&T wireless the green light to install wireless antennas on the top of Howelsen Place at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue. A representative for the wireless company told council members that the towers will aim to improve cellphone reception in a seven- to eight-block radius of the downtown area.

“Right now, we have fair coverage when you’re out walking around, but we have limited coverage in (downtown) buildings,” AT&T representative Mike Sharlow said. “The higher-elevation sites we already have (in Steamboat) tend to shoot over the buildings.”

He described the portion of Lincoln Avenue that runs through downtown as being in the bottom of a coverage zone shaped like a bowl.

The project would add three penthouse structures totaling 632 square feet on top of the condo building to house wireless antennas. Sharlow said the wireless equipment would be fenced in and disguised by a facade that would match the color and appearance of the building. With the council’s approval Tuesday night, Sharlow now will apply for a building permit to construct the towers.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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