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Operation occupancy now underway

Little improvement is expected for Park City’s lodging industry until room rates increase, but that won’t happen until occupancy improves.

At its annual meeting Thursday, Park City Chamber/Bureau president and CEO Bill Malone and marketing director Cathy Miller said a major goal of the coming year is to increase occupancy in Park City area hotels in order to stimulate higher rates.

Miller said $500,000 in additional advertising spending has been allocated from a reserve budget to buy more ads.

For the first time ever, during January 2011 television spots will run simultaneously in Park City’s two target markets: Los Angeles and New York City. Previously money would only be allocated toward one at a time.

Print and Internet ads will emphasize the accessibility of Park City from the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Malone said his staff is hopeful about the coming fiscal year. Last winter saw a 5.7 percent increase in skier days and a 5.4 percent increase in visitation nights over the previous year. This summer, visitation has been growing weekly over the previous season.

The following updates on Chamber/Bureau initiatives for the past and upcoming fiscal year were given:

— There was a slight drop in membership renewals, but over 150 new businesses signed up with the Chamber/Bureau, said membership director Colleen Burke. The visitor centers at the Park City Museum, Kimball Junction and on Prospector Ave. served 90,000 people last year, she said.

— Ongoing initiatives include efforts by the Summit County Food Coalition to promote the consumption of locally-produced food, she added.

— A new program introduced by Miller is called, "Backyard Marketing" aimed at getting every business with available conference or meeting space in a database.

— The winter vacation planner in magazine format was discontinued. Trips are now planned and booked online, so that funding was redirected, Miller said.

— An initiative is in the works to offer vacation planners free airfare if they visit Park City and end up booking a meeting here, she added.

Also at the meeting, Zions Bank executive Becky Kearns officially succeeded Park City Mountain Resort General Manager Jenni Smith as chairperson of the Chamber/Bureau board.

According to statistics presented at the meeting, the Chamber/Bureau was able to book 38 percent of meetings and convention leads a four-year high. Unfortunately, that was only 4,835 room nights compared to the 2007 high of 17,940.

The Chamber/Bureau website received over 2.3 million page views two-thirds being new visits.

The Myles Rademan Spirit of Hospitality Award was presented to former Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer (see related story).


View Chamber/Bureau annual meeting in a larger map


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