Key Card program to end in April
Ryan Summerlin February 15, 2013
The Winter Park & Fraser Chamber of Commerce will discontinue its Key Card program on April 21 due to changes in funding levels as well as a re-evaluation of the program.No new promotions will be offered through the Key Card program, and users will have until the discontinuation date to utilize what promotional dollars they have on their cards, according to an “Action Plan” for the Key Card program released by the Chamber.The program was considered a success by Chamber staff and others in the communities, generating 12,660 registered users whose information is being used for marketing efforts.About 12,660 cards were issued, generating 7,603 card swipes, according to Chamber information. The program also reported more than $2 million in consumer spending related to the program.”We have already begun to market them [the registered users] directly and we will continue to do so,” said Catherine Ross, executive director of the Winter Park & Fraser Chamber of Commerce.The Key Card program started in early 2011 as a promotional program offered by the Chamber. The program was created with a number of goals in mind, all of which were aimed at driving traffic to local businesses in Winter Park and Fraser.The Town of Winter Park is “committed to trying things out to see what works and what kind of programs we can have in place to enhance business opportunities,” said Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson. “The program was successful in terms of getting money back into business owners’ hands,” Nelson said.A roundtable discussion was conducted with some of the merchants involved in the program in March last year and a survey was sent to all chamber members in the fall of 2012.The feedback from the roundtable discussion and the surveys found that while the programs goals were met and satisfied, there were challenges and hurdles to the program including: Difficulty in operation and reliability of the program, staff training, communication of program attributes to end users, and volume of use for consistency were among the highest noted challenges, according to the action plan released by the Chamber.The Chamber is looking into new programs to replace the Key Card program that might accomplish the same goals, including a Visa gift card program. The remaining budget for the program will be applied to a new program, which is expected to be presented sometime in early spring.Program fundingThe program was started in 2011 with $96,396 in funding, some of which utilized existing dollars from Ski Free promotions, a program where the Town of Winter Park offered free ski tickets for staying multiple nights in participating lodging locations. The Town of Winter Park contributed $60,000 to the program in its first year and the Town of Fraser contributed $25,000. In 2012 the program received $190,770 in funding. Grand County contributed $15,000 to the program in its second year while the Town of Fraser contributed $40,000 and the Town of Winter Park contributed $140,000.In 2013 the program received $125,000 in funding from the Town of Winter Park. The Town of Fraser opted not to contribute to the program in its third year as they took a fiscally conservative approach to the town’s budget for 2013.”The Fraser Board are interested in doing anything they can to ensure a vibrant local economy and to make sure local businesses succeed, and the Key Card program fit that bill,” said Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin. “The bottom line is the board took a conservative approach on the budget [this year].”The program has received a total of $427,166 in funding since 2011, according to figures and a fact sheet released by the Chamber on Feb. 12.Since the program’s inception, more than $150,000 in promotional dollars have been issued through the program, and more than $70,000 of those promotional dollars have been redeemed.The project anticipates about $52,000 in costs for shutting the program down on April 21. This estimate is based upon no further promotions being offered through the program.According to a breakdown of expenditures related to the Key Card program issued by the Chamber on Feb. 14, about $317,350 has been spent in relation to the program. Expenditures include: Setup and initial programming fees, hosting and technological fees, swipe and equipment fees, card production and miscellaneous costs, marketing, and promotional dollars redeemed.The estimated cost to discontinue the program was not listed on the breakdown of expenditures.The remainder of the funds in the program’s budget have been allocated to promotional dollar redemptions as well as for use in future promotional programs.A full report of the program is set to be released in early June.