Steamboat Springs Chamber CEO: Planning for responsible summer tourism
Spring is here and so is the unpredictable Colorado weather. As much as the weather might keep us guessing, one thing we can rely on is the fact that tourism matters in Steamboat Springs. Tourism creates jobs, enhances the local economy and improves the quality of life for locals. The reason our valley is such a great place to visit is because it is a great place to live. At the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, one of our priorities is generating economic development and higher quality of life through the benefits that tourism brings.
The Chamber Marketing department’s goal is to deliver the highest return on marketing dollars to drive tourism with a focus on spring/early summer and fall seasons. We recognize summer is already a popular time to visit, so instead we’re focusing on introducing visitors to quieter times of year.
Rather than focusing on the weekend traveler, we want to attract a high-value guest, one who stays longer and spends more money while here. We hope this will help mitigate the peaks and valleys of summer visitation and allow businesses to count on steadier traffic, in turn, keeping employees longer and bringing more money into the local economy.
Part of delivering the highest return on our funds is leveraging our many partnerships. From Colorado Tourism Office cooperatives to partnerships with other destinations across the state, we’re able to stretch our dollars by combining resources and sharing best practices. We rely on the CTO to promote Colorado as a dream destination in key markets and then tie into marketing programs they offer.
As in years past, this spring we’ll participate in a social media co-op with the CTO, sharing our stunning imagery and messaging with their 700,000 followers. We’re also continuing to partner with four destinations across the state to highlight the best hot springs in Colorado, two of which are in the Yampa Valley.
One of the areas where we can leverage partnerships to improve the quality of life for both visitors and locals is responsible tourism.
Colorado tourism professionals are gaining recognition as national leaders for promoting responsible tourism practices. The CTO recently entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Leave No Trace to encourage the state’s 82 million visitors to travel like locals and be active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources.
As this program is rolled out, we’re able to take advantage of these partnerships and create similar programs specific to our region. Education is a huge area of opportunity for us.
We’re able to craft our messaging to visitors on topics like exploring less-visited destinations, proper trail etiquette, river stewardship and wildlife awareness. A little education can go a long way, and we are committed to spreading the word about mountain manners.
As summer visitors begin to arrive, we encourage you to share some of the friendly hospitality for which Steamboat is famous. We invite you to see our city through a visitor’s eyes: recall the awe you experienced the first time you saw Fish Creek Falls or sit and relax by the D Hole, soaking in the sun and the smiles of water-lovers.
Remember that Steamboat is a great place to visit because it’s a great place to live. Keep in mind the value that tourism brings to our community and share our piece of paradise with those who can’t believe we actually get to live here.
Kara Stoller is the CEO of Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
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