Location-neutral business group: Studying air service users | SteamboatToday.com

Location-neutral business group: Studying air service users

The Yampa Valley Regional Airport was created as a mechanism for attracting tourists, and as such, Ski Corp. and the Chamber long have been responsible for both air service marketing and airline revenue guarantees. Their focus naturally is on tourists. But our community has evolved considerably in the past decade, with local travelers increasingly relying on the airport each year especially location-neutral business owners and employees. At the same time, we now find taxpayer money going toward the airline revenue guarantees.

We think it's time for the community to better understand the true demographic of air service users in our area, including:

  1. The total population of travelers, including tourist, business and leisure fliers who use alternate airports like DIA and Eagle County Airport for traveling to/from the Steamboat area.

  2. The travel behaviors of that population, including where they commonly fly to/from and their usual flight schedules.

  3. Intelligence on the cost versus revenue per seat mile for each airline on each route to/from Hayden/YVRA to verify claims made by the airlines requiring the revenue guarantees.

There is a tremendous amount of anecdotal evidence that Hayden/YVRA could capture significantly more travelers, both locals and tourists, at less cost through understanding the issues above and making more precise, data-driven decisions regarding air service at Hayden/YVRA. There are consultants who perform this exact type of analysis. The output clearly would identify demand for additional flights (including summer service), look for optimization opportunities in existing and new flight schedules and give us more leverage for negotiating revenue guarantees with the airlines. Combined, these could make more people choose Hayden/YVRA at less of a cost to our community.

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These are not radical concepts. Airports like Branson, Mo., and Montrose have used these same techniques not only to improve air service for the local and tourist traveler but to reduce or even avoid revenue guarantees all together.

Such a study is estimated to cost about $20,000, a worthy return on investment. While we respect and appreciate the analysis that Ski Corp. already does, we also feel that it's not broad enough in scope and that the taxpayer deserves an independent study that looks at both the tourism and nontourism demographic.

Scott Bideau

Location-neutral business executive living in Steamboat

Mark Satkiewicz

President of Smartwool

Carrie Request

Steamboat-based location-neutral business owner

Alan Rudolph

Location-neutral business executive living in Steamboat

Paul DeCrette

Steamboat-based location-neutral business owner

Emily Beyer

Location-neutral business employee living in Steamboat

Travis Mattern

Location-neutral business employee

Sharon and David Smith

Steamboat-based location-neutral business owners (since 1994)

Tim Walsh

Steamboat-based location-neutral business owner

Kris Stouffer

Location-neutral business employee living in Steamboat

Tim Sittema

Charlotte, N.C. (frequent visitor to Steamboat via HDN and DIA airport)

Eric F. Meyer, M.D.

Yampa Valley Airport Commission

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