ACRA digesting ad campaign numbers |

ACRA digesting ad campaign numbers

Naomi HavlenAspen Times Staff Writer

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association will announce the results of its winter advertising campaign at an April meeting, but no sooner.The campaign that pitched the “Aspen Effect” was launched mid-January, and included paid advertising in Los Angeles and Dallas publications as well as nationwide press releases. It is being funded with just over $500,000 of Aspen’s lodging tax.A major selling point of the advertising plan for ACRA is its ability to track the number of phone calls and Web site “hits” the campaign generated. Denver-based PRACO, Public Relations Advertising Company, dreamed up the campaign that pitched Aspen as the quintessential mountain town and ideal vacation spot.”We need to share the results with the marketing advisory committee first before they appear in the media,” said ACRA president Chris Nolen. “That will be the first time we’ll look at our comprehensive results.”Nolen did say ACRA is beginning to see some “things that [they’re] pleased about” from the campaign. The full-page print ads featuring a woman wearing fur and playing in the snow ran in the Dallas and Los Angeles editions of Food & Wine, InStyle, Vanity Fair and Travel & Leisure.Each ad cost about $34,000 to run. Specialized versions of Sports Illustrated, Time, U.S. News & World Report and Newsweek in Beverly Hills, Calif., also featured the ads. ACRA officials said the campaign was aimed at members of the public who have the means to visit Aspen, but never have.Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen-Snowmass said “without question” the ad campaign helped reservation numbers climb this winter at his agency. “It made the phone ring, and made people visit the Web site, and we’ve seen sizable reservations as a result,” Tomcich said.Although advertising effectiveness is often difficult to track, separate 800 numbers on print ads, in radio spots on NPR, and on mailer cards told Stay Aspen-Snowmass officials exactly how callers had gotten a phone number. PRACO has also tracked “click throughs” from the Web site that led to Stay Aspen-Snowmass bookings.Tomcich said the results presented to the marketing advisory committee will ultimately be split into purely informational calls, and calls that led to bookings. There may be some holes in the results, he noted, because some people who see the ads may ultimately go to the Aspen Skiing Co. Web site to check snowfall, and could book reservations there.”There are also so many things that drive call volume,” Tomcich said. “One of the biggest is when people get wind that it’s snowing in Colorado, whether its during a Broncos game on TV, or the Weather Channel showing the Eisenhower tunnel. That’s amazing P.R.”

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