Steamboat Chamber Resort Association aims to grow summer marketing efforts


— The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is exploring ways to increase the size of its summer marketing war chest.

Chamber CEO Tom Kern told the Steamboat Springs City Council earlier this month that Steamboat spends about $400,000 less on its annual summer marketing campaign than many of its high-profile mountain resort competitors.

“It is apparent from the comparative analysis of other mountain communities that we are not investing in summer marketing at the same level as many of these communities,” Kern and Chamber leaders wrote in a report presented to the City Council earlier this month. “On average, those communities invest between $1 million to 1.2 million as compared to $600,000 in Steamboat.”

Kern added that many mountain resort towns largely fund their marketing efforts through a lodging tax.

He said the Chamber is finding ways to better utilize its existing summertime funding, a majority of which is supplied by the city of Steamboat Springs.

But he said more funding would allow the Chamber to potentially offer more signature events, tap into new markets and better advertise the community.

The Chamber currently is exploring three ways to increase its level of funding, and each of the options has its own list of pros and cons, he said.

A Chamber committee now is weighing whether to pursue an increase in the city's sales tax, an increase of the Local Marketing District's tax or a combination of those two tax increases and the adoption of a new excise/entertainment tax.

Chamber officials are expected to come back to the council in the coming months with a plan to pursue additional revenue that could be used to implement new marketing programs over the next five years.

And as they explore future revenue streams for the marketing campaign, officials are touting the success of their recent marketing campaigns.

Chamber leaders told the City Council last week that their latest summer marketing campaign was successful despite the significant challenges Mother Nature created this year.

Chamber Marketing Director Kara Givnish said the 2012 campaign had to first overcome national media coverage of the devastating Colorado wildfires.

Drought and increased fire danger also resulted in the cancellation of Steamboat's popular hot air balloon rodeo and downtown cattle drive.

But Givnish said despite the initial hurdles, the Chamber still was able to bolster its Web presence and obtain positive write-ups from journalists who attended familiarization biking trips.

The Chamber also claimed its marketing campaign helped Steamboat see increased summer sales tax collections and lodging capacity.

Givnish added that trip giveaways helped the Chamber increase its Facebook fan base by about 8,000 people and its Twitter traffic by 46 percent.

The presentation outlining the successes of the Chamber's 2012 campaign prelude their request for some additional funding next year.

The Chamber's summer marketing program in recent years has funded by the city of Steamboat Springs to the tune of between $585,000 to $685,000.

The Chamber's budget for 2013 includes $600,000 for summer marketing, $100,000 for special event funding and $25,000 for marketing at trade shows.

As it has done in recent years, the Chamber plans to again scale back its print advertising and instead has focused more on marketing the Yampa Valley online and through its new website.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email


walt jones 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure Intrawest would disagree with this but it sure seems much busier in the stores and hotels (maybe not the Grand or Sheraton) and especially the roads during the summer than the winter anymore. Especially with what it costs for a family to come here for a week in the winter the economy has put a lag in that business. Heck of a lot more affordable in the summer and more front range folk here as well If more marketing is put into summer tourism this town will just choke it's self to death as the infrastructure seems maxed out in the summer around here. Of course the dreaded tax word is used by Mr. Kern which is sure to make all residents ecstatic!!


chris gibbens 4 years, 7 months ago

From what I recall, this is the only thing I have heard from Tom Kern on anything. I did miss the broadcast of city council meeting last week, bad. Mr. Kern asking for more money doesn't seem like a good start. Marketing efforts for events online is a cheap way to use existing funds. Between chamber websites, FB, Twitter, ski area and others a more coordinated web bombardment of events is needed. We have a long way to go concerning maxing out infrastructure, or that "get me out of town" feeling. Certain events are only for a weekend and then gone. Vail, Aspen and Breckenridge...that will get the gag effect going for some around here, but they turn out great events. Octoberfest in Breck and Vail was on another level. I think concerning money and the chamber there needs to be a more coordinated effort among marketing departments including the ski area. I realize people come to Steamboat for that off I-70 feeling. Yet, even busy here seems a little more chill to them. I think Mr. Kern should deal with budget issues and let his younger staff keep developing more creative, competitive events with modern marketing.


Michelle Hale 4 years, 7 months ago

I have asked this question before. In the effort to bring more people in durning the winter months, why not LOWER the lift ticket price? If nothing else maybe ever other weekend, drop it down to lets say 35 to 55 dollars. One, locals could afford to ski, families could afford it, as well as have money left over for other things. That would be one hell of a marketing program. Ski Steamboat, now open for the 47%.


walt jones 4 years, 7 months ago

Agree Michelle. That is the single biggest complaint I hear is ticket prices, never meal costs or lodging and seldom I hear flight costs are high but nothing like tix prices and this year is $109 walk up price. I thought it was crazy they went to $105 mid season last year and at least would start this year at that price.


rhys jones 4 years, 7 months ago

Chelley6 -- What a capital idea!! Ski Corp lowers ticket prices and takes food stamps at the window -- then the downtrodden can enjoy skiing too!! They'll stream in from far and wide.

The Chinese will pay for it, so we can enjoy the clouds they are seeding with industrial waste. Forget La Nina, I predict a return of seasonal weather patterns and copious amounts of Chinese snow.

More Sun!! More Sun!! C'mon, help me out!!


bill schurman 4 years, 7 months ago

Just what is needed, more people and traffic in the Summer. Estes Park West.

/s/ A wanna be local


chris gibbens 4 years, 7 months ago

The story is about the chamber, summer marketing and a possible tax increase proposal. Yes Bill, strong summer business and proper marketing using existing funds equals friends and neighbors making money and paying bills.


kathy foos 4 years, 7 months ago

If marketing is a better success I hope people won't get laid off and suffer the in between season poverty that prevails for the workers.If snow is bad and people don't come ,the workers are the first to get laid off,no matter what.It would be nice to depend on your job for a living instead of maybe you will have money to live on or maybe not.


Steve Lewis 4 years, 7 months ago

The presentation the Chamber made to City Council was impressive. If their product around the country is as good as that, and their 2012 numbers suggest it is, I will definitely keep an open mind to their proposal for summer marketing.

In my view, the future of Steamboat tourism will become the flip side of the current one. Summer will produce the larger tourism numbers. Call it climate change, call it too expensive direct winter flight programs, call it Scott Ford's principle (our summer tourism is directly correlated to the temperatures in Denver), call it 115 degrees in Houston, whatever... In 20 years, Steamboat's winter will be the wrong bet.


jerry carlton 4 years, 7 months ago

Keep raising the sales tax. Next raise should put it at 10%. Then let's go for 20%!


Scott Wedel 4 years, 7 months ago

I think there is already a sea of money being spent on promoting SB tourism. If this is such a brilliant proposal then take some that is apparently having so little positive effect on encouraging winter tourism. Last time I checked, we have a Local Marketing District and not separate Winter Marketing Districts and Summer Marketing Districts.


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