Breckenridge survey shows resident thoughts on livability, tourism and special events |

Breckenridge survey shows resident thoughts on livability, tourism and special events

The Breckenridge Tourism Office’s 2021 expectation survey received 1,447 responses, providing feedback on many aspects of life in the area including special events, visitors and resident priorities for town culture.
Photo by Jeff Andrew / Breckenridge Tourism Office

The Breckenridge Tourism Office presented its 2021 expectation survey to the Breckenridge Town Council on Tuesday, May 25, focusing on tourism, the outdoors and quality of life for residents in a post-coronavirus era.

The survey was sent to more than 11,000 people, including year-round residents, second-home owners and residents of surrounding communities. It received 1,447 responses, with more than half coming from year-round residents of Breckenridge, though the survey is ongoing.

Jake Jorgenson, representative from RRC Associates, the data research firm that facilitated the survey, and Lucy Kay, CEO and president of the tourism office, presented the results to the council.

Kay said the survey results show that the Breckenridge community remains engaged, pointing to the number of respondents. She said the state of Colorado did a similar survey recently that received only about 400 responses.

“The data reinforces that we continue to go in (the) right direction between the harmony of quality of life for residents and quality of place for visitors,” Kay wrote in an email.

The survey included net promoter questions, which ask respondents how likely they are to recommend something on a scale of zero to 10 — in this case, Breckenridge as a place to live or visit. Promoters fall into the 9 to 10 range, passives 7 to 8 and detractors zero to 6.

A net promoter score is then calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters, giving an overall look at survey respondents’ attitudes.

When asked whether they would recommend Breckenridge as a place to visit, 16% of respondents were detractors, 18% were passives and 66% were promoters, leading to a net promoter score of 50%. The average score given was 8.5, just shy of the promoter range.

When asked whether they would recommend Breckenridge as a place to live, 42% of respondents were detractors, 30% were passives and 28% were promoters for a net promoter score of minus 14%. That’s down from 2019, when the question received a net promoter score of minus 2.3%.The average score given this year was 6.5.

Of the detractors for the place to live question, 49% gave a 5 or a 6. Tourism office Director of Operations Bill Wishowski said respondents who were promoters in previous iterations of the survey have shifted to the higher end of passive and that passives have shifted to the higher end of detractors.

“Residents that live here now … they may struggle with being able to live here or recommend it, but at the same time, they view the quality of life that exists here,” Wishowski said in a meeting with the Summit Daily News on Tuesday.

Council member Jeffrey Bergeron said the responses don’t necessarily mean that residents dislike living in Breckenridge. They could also mean it’s difficult to live there.

“I interpret that — not necessarily that Breckenridge has lost its appeal — but mostly that the expense of relocating and getting established here is astronomical and prohibitive for the ski bum that I once was and many hope to be,” Bergeron said.

Kay agreed and said the decline in net promoter score since 2017 shows how increasingly difficult it is to find and keep housing in the community — something that was exacerbated by record real estate sales during the pandemic.

During the meeting, council members agreed that people like living in Breckenridge but that it is difficult to do so for a variety of reasons.

Jorgenson further broke down the statistics in the presentation, looking at how people responded based on whether they own or rent, by household income and by resident type.

The only group that had a positive net promoter score recommending Breckenridge as a place to live was respondents with a household income of $200,000 or more, with a score of 18%. Those who make less than $50,000 had a net promoter score of minus 48%.

Graphic by Taylor Sienkiewicz /

The survey also included a new section on special events, asking questions about how various special events are valuable to the town.

Respondents were asked to rate the degree to which they believe special events add value to Breckenridge on a scale of 1 to 5. Iconic Breckenridge events like the International Snow Sculpture Championships, Oktoberfest and Ullr Fest had 83% of respondents give a 4 or 5.

The survey also asked whether respondents would prefer fewer, about the same or more events on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 meaning more events. Overall, 43% of respondents said they’d prefer about the same amount of events, while 25% said more events and 32% said fewer events.

Looking at the split on the question between full-time residents and second-home owners, residents were more likely to request fewer events while second-home owners were the opposite.

In the open-ended responses to the survey, respondents who wanted more events said events are beneficial for the local economy and help Breckenridge compete as a tourism destination. They also said special events highlight the uniqueness of Breckenridge and make residents proud to live in the town.

Those who wanted fewer events said it’s important to prioritize quality, not quantity, and said events are too focused on attracting visitors rather than residents. Respondents also expressed concerns that there are too many alcohol-based events and that many of the special events don’t represent Breckenridge culture.

Bergeron said he took the responses about special events to mean the town is doing a good job for the most part but needs to be more cognizant of mitigating how events impact residents.

“We have to just be aware that these revenue-generating events do come at a cost,” Bergeron said. “They come in at a revenue gain, but they also come at a cost as far as life experiences, quality of life for the people that live here.”

Kay emphasized that finding harmony between tourism management and attracting new visitors was another key desire based on survey results.

The survey also covered a variety of other topics, including asking residents about their priorities for different attractions in the area, including recreation and access to the outdoors.

The full presentation can be found at the end of the Town Council work session packet. The tourism office will present the data to the greater Breckenridge community at its summer preview event June 16.

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