BRC unveils 2005 marketing plans
BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge Resort Chamber officials are trying to get more bang for their buck with next year’s marketing plans.The organization is operating on virtually the same budget it has for the past few years – $1.09 million – but officials hope their plans for 2005 will increase lodging sales by 4 percent, restaurant sales by 3 percent and Web site hits by 15 percent.The bulk of those plans aren’t much different from the marketing plans for 2004, said executive director Corry Mihm.The BRC plans to use 60 percent of its budget to market Breckenridge and what the community has to offer, 30 percent on “managing the guest experience” by making sure people have a good time and the remaining 10 percent on developing partnerships within the community.Mihm said they plan to advertise more in the traditional markets – Houston, Dallas, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha and Colorado.Their goals are to increase the number of “impressions” of Breckenridge from 300 million to 316 million, increase Web site use by 15 percent to 740,000 hits and leverage their $1 million budget to $7.3 million from the $5.3 million it estimated it did this year.That’s not easy when one has such a relatively small marketing budget.The BRC works under one of the smaller budgets when compared to other mountain resort towns. In an attempt to get the organization more marketing dollars, the town council polled citizens this summer to figure out how favorable a sales tax would be. If it was favorable in the eyes of the community, the council had planned to put the question to voters.But surveys taken by the town and the BRC both showed citizens were not in favor of such a tax because they weren’t sure what they were going to get in return.Mihm and other BRC board members argued they need more money in an increasingly competitive environment to get the message out. She said the economy is slow but improving, and travel is expected to be flat or slightly up again next year.The BRC also plans to spend money this year to update its Web site to attract more visitors to town, Mihm said, noting that they will also have to follow up on that to ensure visitors have a good time.”If we spend a lot of money to get people to the Web site and they don’t have a great experience, we’re doing a disservice to our community,” she said.The organization also plans to attend trade and travel agent shows, continue building on its successful special events, put a new spin on stories when working with the media and direct ads and promotions to first-time visitors.Lisa Corry-Cheek of KSMT radio suggested the BRC spend more money in local media outlets.”The money spent locally is inconsequential; it’s really small,” Corry-Cheek said, adding that competing resorts are spending money to advertise their special events and lure people away from Breckenridge, and that people in Summit County often don’t know what events are going on in Breckenridge.”We spend all this money to have events,” said retailer Steve Lapinsohn. “We have to spend money to advertise them. It’s critical.”Mihm said the BRC is looking to make the shallowest cuts in the budget.”We don’t have the money,” she said. “We have to work harder to get the message out. We have to make tough decisions. Do we like it? No. But our choice would be to take it (funds) from somewhere else.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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