Breckenridge is losing ‘mental real estate’
I refer to the editorial “Marketing 101: It’s About Traffic” on Sept. 16.It saddens me that a town that reels in cash on beautiful real estate, has been losing its market share in the “mental real estate” in the minds of travelers and visitors. The question is not about how much was already spent on marketing, nor how good or bad the Breckenridge Resort Chamber and the town council have performed over recent years to lure more visitors.The question all residents should ask and perhaps answer is: What are Breckenridge’s attractions? And to answer that, we have to know, what is the unique soul and flavor of Breckenridge?To give a few examples, in the bustling city of Seattle, we have Pike’s Place Fish Market and The Ole Curiosity Shop; in Paris, we are immersed in the air of romance; in Rome, we can look forward to its history and arts; in Singapore and Hong Kong, the endless euphoria of shopping; in Brazil and Turkey, the colorful, exuberant feeling of being alive, and of course, the authentic and memorable taste of coffee; and closer home, Whistler’s beauty and the ethnicity of Vancouver. I remember reading a report a year ago on a survey on how Breck’s residents wish to develop the town. The majority chose for it to remain as a subsistent small town, Victorian and all, to bring up children or to retire. Unfortunately, gone were the days where the economy of Breckenridge can be sustained by the wealthy skiers and their kids during the ski months. They have gone looking at other mountains and resorts with towns more vibrant and lively (or more peaceful and spa-filled) to spend their dollars. Even if there are returning wealthy skiers, there are too few in between. Breckenridge used to “sell” the high-end lifestyle. Unfortunately, the landscape of tourism and competition has changed, and Breckenridge and everything in it have to rediscover themselves in order to stay competitive. So, what is the soul and flavor of Breckenridge that will lure travelers to visit and revisit? And more critically, to spend money during their visits? Are we satisfied being just a half-day rest stop for cyclists and skiers before they move on to a more exciting neighboring town? Even Breck’s residents spend more time shopping and relaxing in Frisco and Dillon than in our own backyards. What happens if locals don’t even spend enough money in local businesses? Will Breckenridge turn into a “ghost town” where only occasional tourists stumble upon it?It’s most vital for us to realize that we cannot afford to maintain as a small town attraction, because there are so many other alluring small towns, right next to us and within the U.S. We have started on some good things: the Riverwalk Center, the jazz weekend, Oktoberfest, bike trails, etc. What we have to do is to give it Breckenridge’s special brand. Or make use of current premises to hold international events and world-renowned concerts. Once the people come, we will then suck them in with our local flavor so that they will come back for more. We have to start thinking of projects that the average American, like our own residents, will enjoy and be willing to spend their money on. As for me, I travel halfway across the world to visit Breckenridge at least twice a year in the last four years. My very own Breckenridge attraction is in the form and shape of my fiancé, Scott, a resident up at Tordal Estates. To me, Breckenridge has become almost like my second home, and in a few months time, I may just become its resident.
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