Chamber seeks 100K for new group sales program
April 2, 2016
Steamboat Springs — Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that the Chamber never billed the city and local lodging properties for a previous group sales effort the entities approved funding for. The Chamber absorbed the cost because the program was unsuccessful.
The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is again asking the Steamboat Springs City Council to contribute money to a program that aims to lure more group conferences to the city.
The $100,000 funding request comes not too long after a similar effort by the chamber was launched in 2014.
In a letter to the council, Chamber CEO Jim Clark deemed that effort unsuccessful “for a number of reasons.”
Clark said one of those reasons was that the person the Chamber contracted with lived and worked in Denver.
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“We believe in having a full-time staff member in Steamboat Springs is a better alternative,” Clark wrote.
Clark said the new group sales program would aim to reduce the “peaks and valleys” of the visitor seasons and attract more groups such as the Mustang Roundup, which fills hotels and brings visitors to downtown Steamboat every year.
“For the last several years, we’ve neglected this key area of business,” Clark said of group sales.
The Chamber’s funding request to the city is significantly higher this go round than the last time the council supported the idea with a $21,000 check.
The $63,000 cost of the initial program was split evenly between the city, the Chamber and the Sheraton Steamboat Resort and the Steamboat Grand.
Clark said Monday because the program was unsuccessful, the city and the hotels were never billed for it, and the Chamber absorbed the initial costs.
The Chamber believes the new program could provide a significant boost to the city’s sales tax coffers.
The council will consider the proposal Tuesday night.
“I’m certainly going to listen to what (Clark) has to say with a great deal of interest,” Councilman Scott Ford said. “I understand the need, and I’m not sure the way it’s proposed is the way we’re going to get there.”
Ford noted the city currently supports the Chamber’s efforts to the tune of $860,000, and the additional request should give the council pause.
Of that number, $100,000 is a pass-through for the Special Event program, which the Chamber administers on behalf of the city.
“I think it’s time for the council to think and pause and deliberate,” he said.
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