Our View: New marketing push worth the effort
January 5, 2013
As long as Steamboat Springs relies on sales tax as its primary source of revenue, city government has a role to play in tourism and marketing. To that end, the city's new in-house marketing efforts seem to address a long overdue effort to call attention to city-owned facilities and programs.
City staff has undertaken a new push to promote Steamboat's public recreation facilities, including the Howelsen Ice Arena, the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and Haymaker Golf Course. That promotion is being accomplished through posters and signage at bus stops and on city buses as well as through updates and more detailed information, to city facility descriptions and listings on the popular TripAdvisor travel website.
Additional work is under way. Winnie Delliquadri, government programs manager for the city, said employees are working on new posters with a historical theme that will lead viewers to the city's website, where they can find more detailed information about the history of Steamboat Springs as well as city-owned facilities. Another more significant improvement possibly coming is digital signage at city bus stops to alert riders to when the next bus will arrive. Rival resort towns like Vail have similar setups in place, making public transportation a much more attractive option for visitors and locals alike.
The significance of the city's self-promotion comes down to dollars and cents. The inability of most city recreation facilities to be self-sustaining entities necessitates annual subsidies from the general fund. If increasing the exposure of those facilities leads to increased use and fee revenues, the city inches closer to the challenging goal of making those recreational amenities self-sufficient, or at least closer to self-sufficiency than they currently are. Further, it appears the city's marketing efforts to date are relatively inexpensive as a result of having all work done by in-house staff. The city may even consider tapping into the extensive marketing expertise of other individuals and organizations in the community by forming a volunteer committee.
Regardless, we applaud the efforts being done in City Hall to promote and, hopefully, to drive more people to valuable city-owned amenities. We urge the city to closely monitor the results of the marketing efforts in order to determine whether the time and resources end up being worth the while.