Friday, November 15, 2019

Mt. Crested Butte grants funds toward marketing winter events

All applicants receive funding

By Kendra Walker

The Mt. Crested Butte Town Council recently granted marketing funding to eight organizations and companies through the council’s 2019/2010 Winter Admissions Tax Grant.

The grant comes from a tax that collects 4 percent from any event that enters Mt. Crested Butte town limits. The admissions tax committee recently revised the application guidelines and criteria in order to target events that will bring a higher return on investment to the town with hotel bookings and restaurant and retail sales.

In all, council granted $401,840, and everyone who applied this fall received an amount toward their winter marketing needs.

The following received their requested funding in full:

Adaptive Sports Center

Granted $22,690 toward marketing efforts to increase new individual and family participants from the Southwest and Front Range, as well as toward site visits to rehabilitation centers.

Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce

Granted $6,000 for the annual beer, cider, liquor and wine tasting event, Crafted, and $7,000 for the annual holiday celebration, Light Up Night.

CB Nordic

Granted $12,400 toward marketing campaigns for the Grand Traverse, Alley Loop and other CB Nordic programs.

Crested Butte Pole, Pedal, Paddle

Granted $2,000 in marketing funds for the CB3P ski/bike/kayak race.

Tourism and Prosperity Partnership

Granted $200,000 to support a Winter Air Marketing campaign in Houston and Dallas. Crested Butte Mountain Resort, which helped fund TAPP’s winter flights marketing in the past, is not supporting TAPP this year under the new Vail Resorts ownership; TAPP is doing it on its own. TAPP has evolved its mission to not only grow area revenues earned from tourism, but also to create more high paying jobs in Gunnison County through co-working spaces, startups, existing businesses and recruiting. With these new areas of bandwidth, the admissions tax funding will allow TAPP to continue a level of marketing to help drive flight loads and visitation this winter.

Travel CB

Granted $105,000 for the 72 Hours in CB campaign, which focuses on attracting drive market visitors, and for a winter flight market campaign to target air market visitors. Travel CB will be working with TAPP for updates on flight load factors and bookings data.

Others granted funding, with stipulations:

Mountain High Music Festival

Granted their requested $30,000, with a few conditions. Due to poor reporting in the past, council had denied funding to the festival in previous years and expressed concern about helping out again. However, the event takes place at the base area during off-peak dates, has proven to bring in a large amount of “spendy” visitors and benefits local non-profits Adaptive Sports Center and Tough Enough to Wear Pink (TETWP), which each receive $100,000 from event proceeds. Adaptive’s development director Allison Butcher spoke on their behalf, saying, “I truly think it is a valuable event for the mountain and it’s still relatively young. I would love it if we could give Mountain High a chance this year… We would ensure that they are reporting to you all. I am willing to put my butt on the line for them.” 

Council has asked Mountain High Music Festival to create a committee that includes Adaptive and TETWP throughout the planning process, with the conditions that the event will not be granted funds in the future if they do not properly report back this cycle.

Crested Butte Lodging

Granted $16,750, with $5,000 going toward managing and promoting the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte pages on Colorado.com, a website that highlights businesses and activities in Colorado towns. Council decided to fund half of what was requested, as the grant would typically fund non-profits rather than private entities. However, council determined Crested Butte Lodging’s marketing efforts would be valuable in engaging visitors to Mt. Crested Butte.

Crested Butte Lodging general manager Wanda Bearth later wrote an email to council addressing the need for more clarification about whether for-profit companies are less eligible for marketing grants. “We were somewhat shocked at the decision to fully fund the Mountain High Music Festival (for-profit?), with issues reporting ROI and the full funding for Travel Crested Butte, clearly a for-profit company.” During council’s October 15 meeting, councilman Roman Kolodziej addressed her email, “For clarity, we gave a full ask to a for-profit company who is doing work on behalf of non-profits. This company is a for-profit.” 

According to town finance director Karl Trujillo, the admissions tax grant brings in approximately $850,000 annually, with 25 percent going to transportation. Because of the excess balance, Kolodziej suggested council consider options for the surplus in the future. “I suggest that moving forward we seriously look at the percentages that we allocate to Mountain Express.”

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