Sunday, September 23, 2012
Steamboat Springs 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 scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com