Chamber to promote Glenwood Spring’s 125th anniversary in 2010 |

Chamber to promote Glenwood Spring’s 125th anniversary in 2010

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association will focus on filling Glenwood’s 1,753 hotel rooms during the summer months of 2010.

And they will do it by promoting Glenwood’s Quasquicentennial, the celebration of Glenwood’s 125th anniversary next year.

However, they will be doing it on a much tighter budget.

City Council approved a $600,000 budget for the Glenwood Chamber’s 2010 marketing plan. That is a 20 percent decrease from the Chamber’s 2009 marketing budget of $754,555.

The 20 percent decline was “not an easy thing to navigate,” said Kate Collins, Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s vice president of tourism marketing.

“But we were able to do it,” Collins said.

But Collins said that for Glenwood Springs, the recession and its impacts have been “less severe” than they’ve been in other Colorado destination areas. And the chamber is positioned to promote Glenwood as much as it has in the past, with fewer dollars.

“We are pretty well positioned to take this hit this year,” Collins told council. Collins said that the chamber is in good shape because it was able to create some infrastructure over the past three plentiful years that will allow for similar marketing measures through less plentiful times.

She said that the chamber is doing “more with less” and that a lot of the marketing work is being done in house by the chamber’s two-person marketing team in Collins and Marketing Project Manager Lindsey Lewis.

Collins said that the Chamber’s 2010 marketing plan will shift the focus from the shoulder seasons in 2009 back to the summer season in 2010. Over the past two years, Collins said, the strategy has been to attract people in the months from October through April because that is the time of year when Glenwood’s hotel room availability was high.

Collins also told council that she believed the days of 85 percent occupancy rate – which Glenwood has recorded in recent years due to the influx of energy and construction workers – are over. So now, the chamber can get back to promoting popular summer activities during June, July and August, with the availability of more hotel rooms and the addition of 225 rooms between the two new Marriott hotels currently under construction at the Glenwood Meadows.

Collins expects that the two hotels will add to the “collective destination marketing of Glenwood,” and that the increased supply may also influence lower and more competitive rates locally, which could make Glenwood more attractive for travelers.

The marketing plan focuses on niche markets and will target free independent travelers, group meetings, and destination weddings, which Collins gave as examples. However, there will still be some emphasis on traditional multi-night visitors and day travelers, as well.

And being that it’s Glenwood’s 125th birthday, the chamber is hoping that the city’s rich history will help lure front range travelers to the Western Slope next summer.

In a presentation to City Council, Collins explained that tourism contributes roughly 30 percent of the town’s retail sales tax. The chamber presented information from a report by a market research company named mTRiP, which measures tourism and economic impacts in western mountain destinations. The report cited Glenwood Springs ranking fourth behind Durango, Aspen and Vail in overall retail sales tax revenues for 2009.

Collins said that 2010 will be a more realistic year in terms of tourism and will be a good base to measure future years.

“This will really be the reset year,” Collins said. “The new normal, if you will.”

Collins told council that the chamber planned for no decline in revenues in 2010, and expected flat growth in tourism market shares.

Other council business

City Council also voted Thursday to do away with the city’s vendor’s fee, which allowed merchants to keep 2 percent, or $50 per month, whichever is less, of the sales tax collected each month.

Estimates of the 2008 sales tax collected amounted to $100,685 that would add to the city’s general fund.

The vendor’s fee will be eliminated beginning in January 2010.

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