Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marketing board, chamber merge

New organization known as Sun Valley Marketing Alliance


By TREVON MILLIARD
Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau has merged with the fledgling Sun Valley Resort Area Marketing group to form one organization called the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance, the marketing group announced Tuesday.

Two operating units will exist within the alliance. The marketing board—consisting of Ketchum representative Jake Peters, Sun Valley representative Scott Montgomery, at-large members Jane Rizzo and Zach Crist, and Sun Valley Resort General Manager Tim Silva—will oversee a new national marketing campaign to attract more visitors to the area, as was originally planned.

"We are moving forward, currently interviewing major marketing agencies to help us create a comprehensive, sensible strategic marketing plan," Peters stated in a news release. "We will explicitly coordinate our efforts with the new marketing efforts by the Sun Valley Co. and with local business interests. We expect to present a plan to the cities for approval in November."

The alliance said its marketing arm will be funded by the two cities—which have pledged a total $800,000 to the marketing effort—and the Idaho Travel Council, which awarded the chamber a $201,000 grant for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. Peters said the plan of hiring and paying someone to lead the marketing effort full time has been put on hold.

"That's completely TBD," Peters said in an interview. "Once we have a [marketing] plan, we'll know if that's a good way to spend the community's money."

The marketing board will coordinate its efforts with the local tasks of the alliance's second unit, to be called the Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce. The streamlined chamber will focus its efforts on engaging the local business community to "maximize the visitor experience," according to the news release.

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The chamber will continue to operate the Ketchum visitor center, host and coordinate local events, and provide regular events for the Sun Valley/Ketchum business community. Chamber funding will come from member dues—totaling $120,000 this year—and an undetermined portion of the Idaho Travel Council grant money.

Four of the chamber's board members—Scott Desserault of Sun Valley Heli-Ski, Toni Bogue of Toni's Sun Valley Ice Cream, Peter Scheurmier of Avis Rent A Car, and Debbie Fox of ResortQuest—and the marketing board's five members will lead the alliance as its board of directors.

Outgoing chamber board President Rob Santa stated in the news release that he supports the merger.

"Ketchum and Sun Valley have common economic goals as we enter a new era of national recognition," he said. "Winning the bid for the U.S. Cycling National Mountain Bike Championships is the first demonstration of what we can do with productive synergy. My business, Sturtevants, will be among the first to renew our membership in the new Sun Valley Marketing Alliance."

In the news release, both cities' mayors expressed enthusiasm for the new organization.

"I will be working closely with Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall over the next few months to insure that proper metrics are established to measure the utility of our funding," Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich said.

"Obviously, our economic health is significantly tied to the health of our tourism business," Hall said. "We at the city of Ketchum are pleased with this new structure, as our goal has always been to maximize the strength and effectiveness of our collective marketing efforts."

Trevon Milliard: tmilliard@mtexpress.com




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