Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association marketing guru resigns | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association marketing guru resigns

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kate Collins
ALL |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Kate Collins, vice president of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, has resigned her position to conquer a new endeavor.

Collins said that she resigned on May 5, and her last day at the chamber will be Friday.

The decision was not made lightly.

“Obviously, I’m feeling some regret and sadness of leaving this position and this organization,” she said.

Chamber President and CEO Marianne Virgili said that Collins’ departure will be a noticeable loss for the organization, but that the organization has the staff and experience to continue.

“We’ve been in this spot before,” Virgili said. “It’s not unusual for a marketing person to leave.”

But for Virgili, losing any employee is somewhat of a sad event.

“I always hate to see a good staff person go,” she added, “but we’ve hired good staff in the past and will continue to do so.”

Collins, a 25-year marketing veteran, has worked for the chamber as VP of tourism marketing since October 2006 and is leaving to start a marketing and public relations business of her own called Write Brain West. Her company’s website can be viewed at http://www.writebrainwest.com.

“I’m looking forward to that opportunity and that next phase of my professional growth and development,” Collins said.

However, Collins added that the complexity of working with several entities including local governments and private businesses was difficult at times., none more so than the current economic climate.

“It’s a position where you have many disparate shareholders, and it’s been difficult to gain consensus from all those shareholders to be able to keep moving things forward right now,” Collins said. “I think until some new goal setting is achieved between local businesses and local government there is a little bit of inertia.”

Virgili mentioned that Collins will continue to do some marketing work for the chamber on a contract basis over the next several months and that the decision for Collins to leave had nothing to do with declining accommodation tax revenues that fund the marketing department. The budget has shrunk considerably since a peak in 2007.

The marketing budget is funded by the Tourism Promotion Fund – a 2.5 percent accommodation tax collected on all short-term accommodations in Glenwood Springs – 80 percent of which pays for marketing, two full-time staff positions, visitor center staffing and operations, and all associated administrative costs, according to Collins.

The marketing department budget is separate from the chamber’s operating budget.

Current chamber marketing project manager Lindsey Lewis will take over for Collins in the interim, until a permanent replacement can be decided upon by the chamber board of directors.

According to Virgili, the chamber board will most likely wait until the projected 2011 budget is presented this fall to determine which way to go with filling the position. Virgili said that the board could request an open application process or ultimately decide to promote Lewis. Virgili called a decision premature until they know what the budget for 2011 will accommodate but said that Lewis is a good candidate for the job.

“We want Lindsey to have an opportunity to fill that position,” Virgili said. “Kate [Collins] and I think that she is very capable to run that department.”

However, Virgili said, Lewis’ current position will not be rehired, leaving the chamber with a one-person marketing department.

Kevin Schneider, owner of Glenwood Canyon Resort, is the current chamber board chair and has worked with Collins over the past three to four years. Schneider said that Collins will be sorely missed.

“She’s a huge asset and did a great job for Glenwood and our tourism promotions,” Schneider said.

Some of Collins’ accomplishments while at the chamber include the creation of the city’s central reservations process, implementation of Glenwood’s promotional website http://www.visitglenwood.com, and several marketing campaigns such as the Springs Thaw and the city’s upcoming 125th Birthday Celebration. Collins is also proud to have been a key part in developing a Customer Relationship Manager that currently has 34,000 visitors, providing the ability to market Glenwood’s unique amenities to visitors with specific interests.

“I’ve really enjoyed marketing Glenwood,” Collins said.

jgardner@postindependent.com


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