Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Rob Perlman discusses issues confronting Steamboat Ski Area.
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Rob Perlman told a group of business leaders Tuesday that talks already have begun with airlines about adding a new destination city for ski season 2012-13.
Perlman made the comment in response to a question from an audience member who was curious to know how the 0.25 percent sales tax for airline service — which was passed Nov. 1, 2011 — would affect the ski season flight program going forward.
In a bid to fill direct season jet flights for the remainder of the ski season, Ski Corp. is trumpeting the news of this week’s 11-inch snowstorm and working with airline partners to offer discount programs to prospective vacationers.
“We took advantage of the snow message and got the word out, and three minutes later, Central Reservations called and said they had people on hold,” Perlman told an audience of about 25 people at the Steamboat Chamber Resort Association’s Business Outlook Breakfast on Wednesday.
The ski area has an airfare sale under way on direct flights into Yampa Valley Regional Airport with fares as low as $280 roundtrip from Dallas and $299 from Chicago. The need to stimulate the airlines to offer bargain fares by discounting lodging, lift tickets and providing resort bucks became more apparent, Perlman said, after ski area marketing officials noticed a trend in the early season that saw people booking lodging and lifts but holding off on booking airfares to see whether they could get a better deal.
Chamber CEO Tom Kern said he rode the gondola recently with a family from Chicago that had priced a Steamboat ski vacation in winter 2010-11 but decided not to come because the roundtrip airfare was $550 per person, or $2,750 for their family.
When they found fares this year of just more than $300 with fees included, they booked the trip, Kern said.
Perlman said his department has learned that it gets better response to Internet banner ads announcing airfare sales on large-city newspaper websites when they are geo-tagged.
Instead of just announcing, “Reduced airfares direct to Steamboat,” for example, the ads are keyed to the local market: “Fly direct to Steamboat from Chicago for less this winter!”