In 2003, when Susan Hamley started with the town of Snowmass Village, she, a coordinator and a five-member marketing board handled the duties of attracting visitors.
What a difference a decade makes. The town announced late Wednesday that Hamley is resigning from her job as the director of Snowmass Tourism, an office that now boasts an annual budget of about $5 million, 13 employees and a marketing campaign reaching into major cities.
Hamley said Thursday that her 10-year stint directing the town’s marketing efforts was a milestone that caused her to reflect on “where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going.
“And I found that this is the right time to take on a new challenge,” she said. “I also think it’s healthy for the town, that it’s important to bring in new viewpoints, new experiences and keep it fresh.”
Mayor Bill Boineau and Town Manager Russ Forrest praised her tenure in the town’s press release.
“She leaves a great legacy in our community,” Boineau said.
Hamley was hired in 2003 as marketing director, a year after town voters passed a 2.5 percent sales tax to fund marketing and special events efforts. In 2004, voters also passed a 2.4 percent lodging-only tax to fund group sales efforts.
Four years later, the town merged its group sales and marketing arms under the Snowmass Tourism umbrella, and tapped Hamley to lead the office.
The seven employees on the group-sales side, which last year had about a $1.3 million budget, have continued to focus on bringing in more events, including tournaments this summer for volleyball and kickball, Hamley said.
Snowmass Tourism’s marketing and special events, meanwhile, focuses on direct mail, print and online ads, as well as social media, and billboards in certain markets. Hamley’s office also oversees the town’s Ice Age Discovery Center on the Snowmass mall that showcases the 4,500 fossils, ranging from mastodons, mammoths and sloths to deer and tiny salamanders, recovered from Ziegler Reservoir.
The office’s marketing budget is devoted to “robust programs for winter and summer,” Hamley said.
One focus of late has been summertime billboards in the Chicago market, which she said has great air service to the valley.
Hamley also touted her office’s collaborations with groups like the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, central reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass and the Aspen Skiing Co. The cooperative efforts, which have included marketing to bring in Australians and Brazilians, make a difference, she said.
“It costs us less and has more of an impact,” Hamley said. “As a result we see good numbers.”
Hamley, who lives in Snowmass Village with her husband, said she doesn’t know yet what’s next after her last day April 15. She’d like to stay here but also is open to relocating if she finds the right job.
“I want to be picky at this stage in my life and find the right opportunity,” she said. “The town of Snowmass Village is like a big family. ... This is bittersweet.”