ACRA, CCLC have different visions for marketing Aspen
Catch phrases like “Show us the money” and “Getting heads in beds” were tossed around at Monday’s meeting of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association marketing committee.But a central question remained: Should the committee spend money on advertising Aspen to out-of-towners, or spend money creating local events that will increase local excitement and ultimately draw tourism? A special-events subcommittee is requesting the latter, arguing that a sizable chunk of the community’s half-penny bed tax should be used to market Aspen from the inside out.”Our philosophy is that the time and money is better spent here, showing something positive to the voters,” said subcommittee member Andrew Kole. It’s a “more bang for your buck” strategy, according to Rick Jones, who heads the subcommittee.But Bill Dinsmoor, chairman of the Commercial Core and Lodging Commission, who also sits on the marketing subcommittee, said his group’s goals are even more ambitious.Dinsmoor said out of the $400,000 marketing committee budget, the $20,000 allocated for special-events planning “doesn’t come close” to what they’d like to see spent. He presented the CCLC’s version for the future of special events, with an operating budget of $200,000 to hire a full-time planner who could go after sponsors and formulate new community events.”With special events you can feel it, you can taste it, you can smell it, and you can hear it,” he said. “Its intent is for the business community, for the people who live here and for our guests. It’s important that we develop those events, because the notion that Aspen is no fun anymore is pervasive.”Although Dinsmoor conceded that the CCLC’s start-up costs were around $80,000 to $90,000, the ACRA marketing committee ultimately decided that any special events plans were still too conceptual to throw such a large wrench into their budget.The marketing committee decided to go ahead with the $20,000 for special-events planning, but will reserve an additional $20,000 for funding specific events that might be proposed in the future.Jones told his fellow marketing committee members that the subgroup wants to see more tangible action taken with marketing funds. The group is looking at developing Winterskl as a larger event as an example in the short term.”We need money for special events, and whatever you allocate us, we’d like more,” Jones said.ACRA President Hana Pevny said while fundamentally special events are a great idea, she still must allocate just $400,000 in a way that will make Aspen known to people worldwide, 365 days a year. With a special event, a specific group of people participates for a couple of days and only amounts to a certain percentage of Aspen visitors, versus “the potential of year-round business.””You’re not seeing results now because the money is being spent outside of the community, and I don’t have a story to tell until we have some results to share,” she said.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org@aspentimes.com]
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