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For the week of November 7 - 13, 2001


Chamber launches new winter promotion

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce has created a new marketing program designed to help offset the softened economy by encouraging visitors, primarily from western markets, to travel to Sun Valley this winter.

Visitors who book stays prior to Feb. 1 at Sun Valley-Ketchum accommodations for two days or more will receive $25 each in travel tokens that will be honored at more than 80 local businesses.

The program, "Sun Valley: An American Tradition—Come Play and We’ll Pay," will feature new Sun Valley-Ketchum travel tokens, which are gift certificates that can be redeemed at more than 80 local businesses.

Visitors booking stays of at least two nights at participating local lodging properties through Sun Valley Central Reservations or Daman Nelson Travel, will receive $25 per person in Travel Tokens to use during their visit in the community.

It may not sound like much at first, but "for a family of four, it could be a good incentive, actually," Chamber Executive Cirector Carol Waller said.

The promotion is valid for reservations made prior to Feb. 1.

According to chamber marketing director Carrie Schiller-Westergard, the new program was developed to respond to the changing nature of travel patterns in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

"We know that the public is currently more interested in staying closer to home and in seeking out destinations that are perceived as being safe and offering the chance to bond with friends and family," she said.

"It is very important for us to be flexible in adapting our marketing strategy to address these new priorities for travelers, and we are hopeful this promotion will help provide incentives for regional travelers to choose Sun Valley this winter."

"Our goal is to sustain business from last year," she said. "We’d love to surpass that, but our real goal is to keep it level, (and) good snow will also be a big plus."

The Travel Tokens are a variation on the Chamber’s gift certificate program, which has been in place for the past three years to encourage local spending.

Those winter businesses already participating in the Chamber Choice Gift Certificate program will be automatically included in the new travel token program. Any member business is invited to participate, and can do so by contacting Chamber membership manager Pamela Perry at 725-2105 no later than today, Nov. 7.

Participating businesses will be printed on the Travel Tokens for easy user reference.

To fund the new promotion, the chamber is redirecting $63,500 in winter marketing funds from other programs. Of those funds, $45,000 will be used for the travel tokens, and the remaining $18,500 will be used to advertise the promotion.

The Chamber will reach past and potential visitors through a direct mail postcard and newsletter, direct e-mail to past visitors and Bogus Basin season pass holders, radio and newspaper ads in Salt Lake City and Boise, and through cooperative programs with airline partners and tour operators that offer air service to Sun Valley.

The goal is to "minimize the anticipated decrease" in winter business by booking at least 1,800 visitors through Sun Valley Central Reservations, Schiller-Westergard said. Last season, 1,774 visitors booked winter trips through the two reservations centers, so the objective is to try to maintain a similar level of business.

Because past marketing research shows the average expenditure per winter visitor is $186 per day, and estimating the average length of stay will be four days (down from the longer and more typical seven-day average), the economic impact from this new promotional incentive program is expected to help offset anticipated decreases in overall business volume.

The new promotion is designed to build on the strength of the Chamber’s current award-winning national advertising campaign message of "Create Your Own Traditions in Sun Valley."

Marketing research shows that 71 percent of Sun Valley winter visitors are married, and a third of these visitors typically bring children under age 16 to the slopes with them, according to the Chamber. The new Sun Valley: An American Tradition- Come Play and We’ll Pay promotion will also highlight the opportunities to create memories of special times with family and friends in Sun Valley, Schiller-Westergard said.

To further broaden the program, a monthly "Thank You for Visiting" vacation giveaway will be conducted throughout the winter season. Beginning in late December, names of guests staying in participating local properties from the previous month will be eligible for a drawing in which a week-long ski vacation will be given away.

Drawings will be held on Dec. 31, Jan. 30, Feb. 28, March 31 and April 30.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.