From the Chamber: Kindness Floats the Boat
Steamboat Springs Chamber
Spring is one of the most magical times of year here in the Yampa Valley. Hillsides turn bright shades of green, snow melt creates prime river recreating opportunities and flowers bloom, all creating new energy after a long winter.
Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s time to look ahead to a season filled with outdoor recreation, special events and visitors to our mountain paradise.
The past few years have seen unprecedented changes in the way people live, work, travel and recreate. New travel trends, remote work and a renewed interest in our public lands have led us to look at our tourism economy in a new way.
As a result, the Steamboat Springs Chamber has been evolving our destination management messaging efforts. Destination management is a stewardship approach that destination marketing organizations like the Steamboat Springs Chamber have been pioneering to help balance the need for tourism with the needs of the community.
It includes responsible visitation messaging, stewardship programs and resources to educate and disperse visitors. We want to make sure the positive impacts of tourism outweigh the negative ones, and we believe an increase in both visitor activity and a growing local population dictates the need to actively manage our destination.
Last fall, we made a considerable shift in our annual proposal to Steamboat Springs City Council. We proposed putting the majority of our efforts toward destination management messaging. Historically, our efforts have focused on bringing people to town, or promotional messaging.
As we consider the needs of our community and work with City Council and staff, businesses, and other nonprofits in town, we feel strongly that a shift is needed. As a result, we’ve drastically reduced the amount of promotional marketing we’ll deploy this year. Instead of encouraging visitation, we’re focusing on educational and inspirational messaging on what it means to care for Steamboat Springs and how to visit in a responsible way.
This spring we’ll introduce our new campaign, Kindness Floats the Boat. The campaign will be distributed to visitors with high likelihood to visit or already here in Steamboat Springs. We’ll use tools at our disposal like our website, social media channels and digital ads to spread the campaign’s message.
Activations around town will reach people in a highly visible and tangible way. We’ll speak one on one with locals and visitors at the farmers market and in our Visitor Center. Kindness Floats the Boat messaging will be a reminder of how we can all take steps to make our home a better place.
Kindness Floats the Boat has three pillars that highlight our social, environmental and personal impacts.
Spread Kindness speaks to the way we treat people, taking care of front-line staff and being patient with others around us.
Preserve the Place speaks to treading kindly on the environment and respect for wildlife and trails as well as wildfire prevention.
Take Care encourages personal responsibility including Know Before You Go, knowing your limits and taking care of yourself in our mountain environment.
All three pillars work together to form a broad message of being aware of your surroundings and how, as either a visitor or a local, you can create more memories with less impact.
Destination management is a team effort. No one entity, business or nonprofit can do it on their own. The Chamber is focused on communicating sustainable tourism and responsible visitation efforts to our visitors, but there are also many other people and organizations in our community that are championing destination management principles.
For example, the Routt Recreation Roundtable has a subgroup working to put ideas into action, creating Know Before you Go resources for backcountry users. Members of that group come from many different organizations like activity providers, government agencies, private citizens and non-profits including the Chamber. Our collective ideas and actions will help advance destination management efforts throughout the region. And the Chamber’s communication team will be the megaphone to get the word out to visitors and locals alike.
Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for Kindness Floats the Boat messaging around town. We encourage everyone to pause and take a minute to reflect on what that message means to you and how we can all use it to make Steamboat a better place.
Laura Soard is the marketing director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber. For more, SteamboatChamber.com.
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