Winter visitor surveys reveal few surprises in Breckenridge |

Winter visitor surveys reveal few surprises in Breckenridge

Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge is on top of the heap when it comes to success stories throughout the state this past ski season, Chris Cares of RRC Consulting of Boulder told resort chamber members at their annual meeting Thursday morning.

But that and other information didn’t come as much of a surprise to those in attendance: International skier visits are down, tourists are most dismayed by prices and most satisfied with the bus system, and the use of the Internet in booking vacations is on the rise.

BRC officials worked to address challenges they faced from a weakening economy, terrorist activities, anthrax scares and a low-snow year – and they prevailed. But they need to continue following the changing trends to stay there, Cares said.

BRC officials likely will face a number of challenges next season. They likely will include the public’s perception of the national economy – the primary concern of those surveyed throughout the past season – how to hook the growing number of people using the Internet to book vacations and the increasing number of snowboarders making those decisions.

“You frequently hear ambivalence about snowboarders in Breckenridge, Cares said. “But you really have a corner on young people in the marketplace. You’ve got the high ground, and you need to work to protect that.”

BRC officials need to continue adapting their Web site to accommodate an increasingly techno-savvy clientele, too.

“There’s been a huge decline in people using the telephone,” Cares said. “They often make a single call, but they’re not making five or six calls to book a vacation.”

Cares, whose company conducted five surveys on behalf of Breckenridge last season, also asked people about their in-town and on-mountain experiences.

They’re spending less – again, no surprise to merchants and town officials. According to Cares’ survey, visitors spent an average of $194 a day, compared to $240 a day in the 2000-2001 season.

“Even the locals spend more than the day visitors,” Cares said.

Customer habits have changed, too, in large part because of congestion on Interstate 70, Cares said.

“They’re leaving earlier,” he said. “But they’re also staying overnight.”

And advertising associated with Buddy Pass holders has encouraged skiers to stay and eat in town, another study shows.

The Survey Says…

-21 percent of those on the slopes are snowboarders in Colorado, compared to 41 percent on the West Coast and to Breckenridge, with 25 percent.

– Internet use: 22 percent of out-of-state visitors and 19 percent of

Coloradans book

vacations over the Web

– 45 percent of shoppers said their in-town

shopping experiences

was “very positive”

– 60 percent of international visitors – and 40 percent of destination visitors- said they planned to visit the factory outlet stores in Silverthorne

-75 percent of those said they planned to visit downtown Breckenridge

– 30 percent of day

visitors planned to visit downtown Breckenridge

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