Chamber/Bureau begins marketing efforts
The Park City Chamber/Bureau is increasing efforts to market the upcoming ski season to first-time and international visitors.
According to the Chamber/Bureau’s annual marketing plan for the 2013-2014 ski season, transient room tax sales in Summit County increased to $6.7 million this past year. Cathy Miller, the director of sales and marketing, said that the transient room tax, which is charged on hotel rooms and other lodging properties, is submitted to the state every year. The state then gives that money back to the county where it was generated.
"The state says that money needs to be re-invested in marketing," Miller said. "So that money goes right back into our marketing programs and campaigns."
Every time a visitor stays overnight in Park City, they are charged a transient room tax of 3 percent. According to Miller, an out-of-state visitor will spend an average of 5 ½ half nights while an international visitor will stay an average of 10 nights. That is why the Chamber Bureau is using its increased funds to market specifically to international visitors.
Stephen Lane, the tourism marketing manager, said that international visitors from countries like Australia "come to ski and they’re out on the slopes every day." Visitors from countries like Brazil, he said, come to shop. These sorts of activities are great sources of revenue for Park City, which is why he hopes the marketing campaign will attract more international visitors.
Miller said that in addition to working with representation firms – which build business for Park City in their respective countries in the United Kingdom and Germany, the Chamber/Bureau is now working with two new firms in Brazil, one in Australia and one in Mexico. It is also trying to expand its efforts to Russia and China, which are emerging markets for Park City, now that international revenue is up by 2 percent.
The Chamber/Bureau is also pushing for new, first-time visitors. In order to do so, they have purchased digital media ads, a multi-channel television ad campaign, and print advertisements.
It has also improved its social media connection. For example, Lane said there is nothing visitors enjoy more than a response from the official Twitter account.
"We meet every Tuesday and plan social media posts for the week," Lane said. "When we notice a visitor mention us in a tweet, we reply to them to thank them for visiting and invite them back, and they really seem to like that."
Lane said the hardest thing is to get people who have never been to Park City to visit, and once they do so, getting them to come back is easy. He said that Outside Magazine’s recent declaration of Park City as the Best Town in America should help to get those first-time visitors to Park City.
The Chamber/Bureau is also attempting to attract first-time, well-heeled visitors with their print advertisements in magazines like Condé Nast’s Traveler Magazine. Lane said it is not that people do not like Park City; it is just that they do not think of it as a high-luxury resort town.
The television ad campaign the Chamber/Bureau has purchased will run from Dec. 26 until February of 2014 on NBC affiliates in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. These cities all have world-class cuisine available nearby, which means that the push to overcome the stigma that you cannot get an alcoholic drink or a quality meal in Utah is one the Chamber Bureau will have to make, Lane said.
Miller and Lane also argued that Park City’s close proximity to Salt Lake City International Airport is both an advantage and a difficult selling point.
"It doesn’t really resonate with someone that they only have to drive 30 minutes in from the airport as opposed to two hours from the Denver airport to Vail until they actually experience it," said Lane.
With the ski season fast-approaching, the Chamber/Bureau is confident that they will continue to improve the economy of Park City by attracting out-of-country and out-of-state-visitors.
"None of our competitive destinations have an organization that is as well funded as ours is," Miller said.
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The Vail Resorts announcement ends months of speculation about the mechanics of the ski season at PCMR.