BRC marketing tries to bring sales tax revenue "back to flat’ |

BRC marketing tries to bring sales tax revenue "back to flat’

BRECKENRIDGE – The Breckenridge Resort Chamber winter marketing plan projects growth in many sectors – including getting sales tax revenues back to “flat,” in part by promoting the town to out-of-state and “Colorado overnight” skiers.Retail sales tax revenues have declined this year when compared to the same period last year, and town and BRC officials want to reverse the trend.”Even getting it back to even is the first step to increasing it,” said BRC Executive Director Corry Mihm. “That will be a pretty good achievement in and of itself.”The ski and snowboard segments the BRC is targeting represent the largest numbers of visitors to the High Country, and are credited with helping salvage tourism-related businesses last season.According to the marketing plan presented at a Breckenridge Town Council work session last week, chamber officials also plan to increase Breckenridge Central Reservations revenue, Web site user sessions, repeat guest percentages, database names and addresses.Another goal is to entice more businesses to participate in community events to improve the guest experience.The goals are based on a list of assumptions that define a normal operating environment, Mihm said. Recent headlines about United Airlines’ financial woes and President Bush’s plans for war with Iraq put a shaky underpinning to the BRC’s sense of “normal.”Among the assumptions is that United Airlines will continue to exist and service Denver as it has in the past, that Denver International Airport is operating in an acceptable fashion, that the High Country has normal snowfall this winter, that there are no more international incidents or escalations of war and that the economy begins to stabilize.But United Airlines is facing bankruptcy and labor woes as employees are asked for wage concessions. Barring those downfalls, local merchants complain that DIA isn’t user-friendly.Predictions are all over the board regarding snowfall, and the Denver metropolitan area economy could take another hit if the AT&T Broadband-Comcast merger goes through. That could mean the layoff of more than 2,000 employees at AT&T Broadband’s Douglas County headquarters.”We’re brave souls,” Mihm told town council members Sept. 24. “We’re charging forward. If any of those things change, all that means is we’ll be required to re-look at our plan and see if the change requires us to change.”For example, if United Airlines stopped operations, marketing officials might focus their efforts on the drive market, defined as those visitors within a 12-hour drive from the High Country. Details would be determined based on what changes are seen, Mihm said.If more than one of the assumptions collapse, Mihm said, the BRC would remain flexible and adjust its efforts accordingly.”It’ll just take more soul-searching,” Mihm said. “We’d never just give up and go home. The more assumptions that don’t hold true, the more creative you have to be, the more out of the box you have to think.”—Getting thereThe marketing plan outlines ways the BRC intends to attract repeat guests, get more people to use the Internet to book vacations and, in general, improve the guest experience.In sales, the BRC wants to expand their presence on the Internet and vacation planners and meeting guides at trade shows; track town-wide group sales goals, and focus less on the travel agent sector and more on groups of people.Steps the BRC plans to take in the special event arena include increasing the awareness of marketing and sponsorship opportunities and “capitalizing on the marketing value that makes Breckenridge a unique destination spot.”In public relations, the BRC will focus primarily on next summer, but until then, plans to provide timely information to the media and community, focus on BRC and town events and work with Breckenridge Ski Resort to market the ski area and town as a package.Officials also plan to organize the various business sectors to bundle together products and services, continue putting consistent messages out to the targeted audiences, and update research related to occupancy forecasts and Internet and visitor demographics.The BRC plans to spend 63 percent of its marketing dollars on targeting the out-of-state visitor, 23 percent on getting Colorado skiers to stay overnight, 6 percent on the local market, 5 percent on international visitors and 3 percent on day skiers. The”That’s one of the keys to Breckenridge’s success,” Mihm said. “We have some international, our out-of-state market is very strong, our Front Range is very strong. It’s like being diversified as a company; we’re diversified in who comes here.”The upcoming season could be a difficult one, regardless, particularly for marketing experts.”It certainly is a challenge,” Mihm said. “But we still have a fantastic product. When things get tough, you get back to basics. For us, that’s “Look out the window; what we have is wonderful.'”—Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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