Breck hopes to expand marketing to Boulder and Grand Junction
BRECKENRIDGE – At a time when Breckenridge town officials are trying to cut expenses, they’re also planning to spend more money to entice more visitors into town.
One of the ideas is to expand advertising into Boulder and Grand Junction, said Corry Mihm, Breckenridge Resort Chamber (BRC) executive director.
“We’re trying to make a splash and make a difference on sales tax revenue,” she said. “We’ve seen what’s happened with winter, and we have an opportunity to really impact summer. We’re trying all the tactics we can to make a difference for the summer.”
Overall, sales tax revenue in the first two months of 2003 is down 2.4 percent. But retail and short-term lodging tax revenue are both down 11 percent, and restaurants are flat. The “tourism sector,” which includes retail, lodging and restaurants, is down 8.5 percent.
Mihm believes expanding advertising to new markets could boost those sales. She asked the town council for an additional $39,000 to market to the Boulder and Grand Junction areas. Currently, the BRC advertises in Denver and Colorado Springs.
Town council members agreed at a retreat Friday to give the BRC the money after Town Manager Tim Gagen said $90,000 in the town’s marketing budget had yet to be allocated. The council also will spend $20,000 for summer entertainment at the Blue River Plaza and about $7,000 on a strategic marketing plan.
The BRC is spending $259,235 to market the Breckenridge summer experience to national, destination and statewide markets. With those funds, Mihm said, BRC officials expect to make 46.1 million impressions on people reading newspapers and magazines, listening to radio stations and watching television.
By spending $15,000 in Boulder and $24,000 in Grand Junction, BRC officials could make an additional 2.7 million impressions on markets yet to be tapped. Additionally, Mihm predicted that money would attract more than 800 callers, 104 reservations and $54,000 to the Breckenridge Central Reservations office.
She told council members Tuesday afternoon that other areas, notably Boulder, have boosted in-state marketing efforts to expand into the leisure travel market.
“If someone is spending money to attract people to their place, we should jump on their back and get people to expand their trip up here for a day or two,” said Mayor Sam Mamula. “We’ve got to start chasing business. If we’re not proactive, we’re going to get caught up with all the other resorts that are behind the eight-ball. We don’t want to be there.”
Last year, Colorado tourism was adversely affected because of the sagging national economy and state and national publicity about wildfires burning in several parts of the state.
This year, some of the stiffest competition for tourist dollars could come from the cruise ship industry, Mihm said. Because of security risks in the Middle East and health risks in Asia, those companies are pulling their ships back into North American waters and offering competitive packages.
Locally, wildfires shouldn’t be the impediment to tourism they were last year, thanks to big snows even through this week. And that should help Colorado capture summer business.
“People have higher hopes,” said John Daisy, owner of Fatty’s Pizzeria on Ridge Street. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand.”
Recent studies indicate 81 percent of Americans intend to travel this spring or summer, Mihm said. And gas prices, which many believed would hit the $2 to $3 range, have stabilized, which could serve as an incentive for more to travel.
Town council members agreed it would be a good idea to explore the new areas, with the exception of council member Dave Hinton, who said he thinks the BRC should spend any additional funds in existing markets rather than expanding into new ones.
Many popular conference sites throughout the nation are luring groups to their cities by offering “value-added” incentives such as reduced fees to other amenities in town. Additionally, people are uneasy about international travel because of the war in Iraq, so they are planning vacations closer to home, much like people did after Sept. 11, 2001.
Bookings for the summer, however, are on pace with last year, Mihm said. And booking trends show travelers are making reservations closer to the date they plan to travel and that they’re shopping for deals, particularly on the Internet.
“The brand Colorado owns is clean, safe, family, adventure and scenery,” Mihm said. “Breckenridge is the epitome of that. Within the dream destination market, we’re positioned very well.”
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or email@example.com.
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