ALAMOSA — On April 25, the Alamosa Convention and Visitors Bureau assisted the Colorado Tourism Office with hosting two of 20 Regional Branding Workshops. Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office, and representatives from the internationally renowned place branding agency, Destination Think! met with over 50 local representatives at the Wet Paintbrush in Alamosa to test proposed travel regions and learn about this region’s unique character.
On March 15 the Colorado Tourism Board unanimously adopted the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, a comprehensive strategic plan to build the Colorado tourism industry’s competitive advantage through closer collaboration, creation of new traveler experiences across the state and a fresh focus on sustainable tourism.
In the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, the need for new travel regions was identified as a priority. When creating the Roadmap, the Colorado Tourism Office heard from stakeholders across the state that the seven travel regions that were created in the 1990s are doing little either to drive consumer awareness or serve as meaningful platforms for regional marketing collaborations.
Many pointed out that the existing regions failed to encompass a shared experience that could be communicated to travelers or others. Others shared concerns that the regions’ geographically based names – such as South Central or Northwest –lacked inspiration for travelers.
It became clear that by identifying and branding the unique qualities of each part of the state, Colorado has an opportunity to build its tourism industry’s competitive advantage. Once complete, this work will lay a strong foundation for making consumers aware of unique experiences statewide, while creating a focus for industry collaborations and development of new regionally based traveler experiences.
To take on this task, the Colorado Tourism Office formed the Regional Branding Task Force to guide the development of the new travel regions. Jeff Owsley of San Luis Valley Hemp was chosen to serve on this Task Force. The Task Force selected Destination Think! out of nearly 50 bidders to develop a a research-based approach to identifying new travel regions and the “Place DNA” of each, relying on a blend of consumer research and Colorado tourism industry insights.
Destination Think!’s research led them to a proposal of nine travel regions for further testing. A series of 20 workshops are being held around Colorado to gain local perceptions and attitudes about the proposed regions. The main purpose of the workshops was to give the Destination Think! team an opportunity to test their findings face-to-face with a range of Colorado experts. Through a series of exercises, Destination Think! was able to gain valuable insights about the San Luis Valley.
The workshop participants included members of the tourism industry, community leaders and others with deep insight into a region’s unique character. The team at Destination Think! will incorporate the insights from these workshops into their next round of recommendations. The workshops will aid Destination Think! in establishing new travel regions and a description of each region’s “Place DNA”.
To learn more about this project and the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, visit industry.colorado.com/regional-branding.