Chamber still working to grow number of summer visitors recommending Steamboat to their friends | SteamboatToday.com
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Chamber still working to grow number of summer visitors recommending Steamboat to their friends

Tubers and sunbathers enjoy a sunny day near Charlie's Hole this summer on the Yampa River.
Scott Franz

City set to boost Chamber's marketing budget

The Steamboat Springs City Council is poised to increase the city's annual contribution to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's summer marketing budget from the $600,000 in 2014 to $660,000 in 2015.

The city's management team said it was impressed by the Chamber's pitch for more marketing dollars and agreed to the 10 percent increase.

Before agreeing to the increase, though, several council members wanted to hear the recent marketing presentation from the Chamber.

Council member Scott Ford said he also wants to see a set of more detailed metrics used when weighing the impact of marketing dollars.

He pointed out that although the Chamber's overall goal of increasing summer sales tax was realized, a significant amount of the gains came from local spending not attributable to the marketing efforts.

Chamber Marketing Committee Chairman Jeff Daniels said it's difficult or impossible to measure all of the impacts of the marketing dollars each year.

He also acknowledged that the lodging barometer used by the Chamber is “not perfect by any means.”

“The Chamber doesn't control all of the data we'd like to control,” Daniels said, noting that once visitors get here, businesses become competitors.

The summer marketing presentation concluded with praise from council member Scott Myller.

“I think we're getting a good bang for our buck, and hopefully we'll see these same increases next year,” Myller said.

City set to boost Chamber’s marketing budget

The Steamboat Springs City Council is poised to increase the city’s annual contribution to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s summer marketing budget from the $600,000 in 2014 to $660,000 in 2015.

The city’s management team said it was impressed by the Chamber’s pitch for more marketing dollars and agreed to the 10 percent increase.

Before agreeing to the increase, though, several council members wanted to hear the recent marketing presentation from the Chamber.



Council member Scott Ford said he also wants to see a set of more detailed metrics used when weighing the impact of marketing dollars.

He pointed out that although the Chamber’s overall goal of increasing summer sales tax was realized, a significant amount of the gains came from local spending not attributable to the marketing efforts.



Chamber Marketing Committee Chairman Jeff Daniels said it’s difficult or impossible to measure all of the impacts of the marketing dollars each year.

He also acknowledged that the lodging barometer used by the Chamber is “not perfect by any means.”

“The Chamber doesn’t control all of the data we’d like to control,” Daniels said, noting that once visitors get here, businesses become competitors.

The summer marketing presentation concluded with praise from council member Scott Myller.

“I think we’re getting a good bang for our buck, and hopefully we’ll see these same increases next year,” Myller said.

— Events were busier, even when it rained.

Sales tax collections reached historic levels.

And the free concerts at Howelsen Hill attracted record crowds.

But there’s one big summer data point that still isn’t going the direction the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association wants it to: the net promoter score.

The score, which gauges how likely summer visitors are to recommend Steamboat to their friends and family, did not improve this year.

This was despite the recent launch of an ambitious customer service training program that aims to help bring the score up while boosting Steamboat’s reputation in the eyes of summer visitors.

Nobody’s panicking, though.

Visitors surveyed by the Chamber continue to see Steamboat as a friendly place.

“We get feedback from visitors who say ‘The minute I landed in Newark, I knew I was home because nobody looked up at me,’” said Jeff Daniels, the chairman of the Chamber’s marketing committee.

Daniels recently told the Steamboat Springs City Council that the overall score isn’t “broken,” but the Chamber would like it to be higher.

The score slipped from 68 percent in summer 2013 to 67 percent this summer.

The Chamber made it a goal to get the score up to 75 percent.

“The good news is we’re working on it,” Daniels told the council during a presentation on the Chamber’s summer marketing results.

The Chamber and the city are in the early stages of collaborating on the customer service training program led by Ed Eppley that has started with a focus on service at local restaurants.

The program could expand into the retail sector this year and already has reached city employees.

Last month, The New York Times took notice of Steamboat’s unique citywide drive to improve its customer service.

While previous Chamber CEO Tom Kern said it was too early to gauge the success of the program based on the latest net promoter score, some business owners interviewed by the Times reported success from the training.

Kerry Shea, the owner of McKnight’s Irish Pub & Loft, said credit card tips at his pub were up 2 percent since employees underwent the training.

Late last month, council members stressed the importance of the net promoter score and expressed support for the efforts to improve it, including training for employees in city government.

“I think it’s important that we’re on board with that net promoter training,” council member Kenny Reisman said. “I would hate to see a gap in that.”

The static net promoter score was reported amid a flurry of positive summer tourism data ranging from busier special events to higher revenue from lodging.

Daniels said sales tax in July 2014 was approaching sales tax revenue collected in the busy ski month in February.

“I don’t know 15 years ago when I moved to this valley that I would have believed that summer was going to grow to the point where we’d start seeing summer months exceed ski business months, but we are,” Daniels said.

On the marketing end, the Chamber reported increased engagement on its social media pages, more attention from media outlets outside Steamboat, a 41 percent increase over 2013 in visits to the Chamber’s website and 88 percent increase in mobile Web visits.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10


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