August 13, 2009
McDonald’s does it; Ford and Budweiser do it.
All successful companies do – that is, they work hard to market and promote their products and to keep their brand in front of the buying public. Is there anyone who does not know McDonald’s? Yet McDonald’s continues to spend millions on advertising and promotion. What about Ford cars and trucks? Or Budweiser beer? They advertise and promote all the time, spending millions of dollars every year.
There is a lesson in this for all of us. No matter how familiar people may be with a product and no matter how good that product may be, marketing and promotion is always essential to business success.
Is our vacation product in Aspen any different? People everywhere know of Aspen, and our “brand” is very strong; but we still need to be out in the travel marketplace telling our story and inviting people to come visit us. Past visitors need to be reminded that it’s time to come back again, and we need to attract new guests. All this takes marketing money, especially in today’s very competitive travel marketplace.
To help raise marketing funds, several Aspen lodging properties have proposed establishing a Local Marketing District to levy an additional 1 percent lodging tax on Aspen lodging. This will generate about $1 million annually in new marketing funds to help business in our community.
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The Aspen Chamber Resort Association has a marketing budget of about $600,000 annually, which is generated from the current lodging tax. This is a woefully inadequate budget for a premier resort community like Aspen, and markedly below budgets in most other major mountain resorts. The goal of our Local Marketing District is to increase our Aspen room tax by 1 percent, adding approximately $1 million for community marketing and promotion.
We are all aware that the nation’s economic distress has hit Aspen. Business was down this past winter and is down again this summer. The winter ahead is still a question. Clearly, we need to do more to provide effective, results-oriented marketing and promotion to encourage business when we need it most.
The proposed 1 percent room tax will be charged to our visitors, not locals. Our tax rate remains lower than most comparable mountain towns, and the minor additional tax on lodging will not be a detriment to visitor sales.
Voters within the district boundaries will vote to approve the marketing district and the new 1 percent room tax this November. You will hear more about it in the weeks ahead, as we urge all who will vote on this issue to vote yes. Our goal is to ensure the economic vitality of our resort community – we can make it happen, and we encourage everyone’s support!
Aspen Square Condominium Hotel