Rob Perlman: Winter air program news | SteamboatToday.com

Rob Perlman: Winter air program news

With just a month to go before we welcome winter flights from nine nonstop cities, I wanted to share some positive and exciting news regarding this year's winter air program.

We were able to increase load factors for contracted flights, even while the combination of recession and consolidation in the airline industry led to a reduction of total incoming seats last winter. As a result, we were able to lower our costs per seat and rebuild the Local Marketing District reserves to $1 million. Thanks to these successes, Steamboat was able to negotiate significant enhancements to this winter's air program, including:

■ New airline partner and nonstop flights on Alaska Airlines from Seattle

■ New Chicago flight Saturdays onboard United Airlines

■ Los Angeles adds third day (Thursday, Saturday and Sunday)

■ Bigger aircraft to Houston and Newark on Saturdays

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■ Capacity gains during peak periods

■ Saturday seat capacity up 21 percent, the highest Saturday seat availability in five years

For the 2013-14 winter, we feel we have been able to more accurately align demand with capacity throughout the season, supporting our strategy of maximizing every dollar invested in the program. It's all about increasing visitors for the community.

All similar regional airports are facing increasing costs relative to winter service. While there is no silver bullet, Steamboat's success is the result of our cooperative strategy and our model is sought after or emulated by other organizations.

Kent Myers, president of Airplanners, LLC who consults with other resort communities including Vail/Eagle, Gunnison, Montrose and Mammoth, said "All small mountain communities are challenged when it comes to air programs. Steamboat's winter air program is strides above the rest proven by the recent addition of new routes and partnerships with Alaska Airlines and adding additional service on previous popular routes such as LA and Chicago. Steamboat's solid relationships with airline partners allows them to weather the storm as airlines merge, raise costs and change their business plans."

Equally important to the Steamboat Air Program is an aggressive marketing effort to send out the word about easy air access into the Yampa Valley. Strong relationships between the resort and the airlines allow us to create special airline products unique to Steamboat, such as the recently announced fare sale from 37 markets across the country. We utilize geo-targeted emails and online advertising to communicate with past, current and prospective visitors in key air markets.

During the past 27 years, we've seen it takes a lot of work from a wide variety of entities across the entire Yampa Valley to be successful. For Steamboat, the goal remains the same — maintaining a diligent and responsible fiscal management outlook (more than two decades experience), leveraging established relationships with industry air executives and implementing innovative marketing programs.

Thank you for your support of the winter air program and ensuring Steamboat shines for our nonstop guests.

Sincerely,

Rob Perlman

Senior Vice President of

Sales & Marketing

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