Inside the Chamber column: The power of water
I was recently asked why water was the main message for Glenwood Springs tourism marketing campaigns and branding assets. It made me wonder if members of the community who weren’t involved in the process of this major marketing decision may be interested in how we arrived at “The Land of Water.”
When marketing a destination, the marketeers must look to the most exclusive and inexhaustible offering of that destination. What sets it apart from other similar communities or attractions? That’s when we become competitive within the marketplace.
In most Colorado mountain towns, you can find incredible beauty, numerous recreational opportunities, exceptional shopping, breweries and dining experiences. Glenwood Springs has all that, but it’s renowned throughout the world for its water. That should be the obvious focus with a town with a name that includes “Springs.”
Here, geothermal springs bubble up from the earth to create the world’s largest hot springs pool, a one-of-kind vapor cave steam bath and another 16 mineral pools just downstream. The Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers flow through town, inviting locals and visitors to raft, kayak, fish and float. High atop Iron Mountain, the Glenwood Caverns were formed by water. In winter, our water freezes to create skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling opportunities.
For emphasis, here are a few water-related statistics from a National Summer Travel Trends report:
- 196,542,000 people in the U.S. participate in a watersport. The most popular watersports in the U.S. include fishing, kayaking and rafting.
- In 2014, guided fishing trips increased 40 percent and whitewater rafting trips increased 20 percent.
- Health-focused travelers represent 40 percent of the travel segment.
- Wellness tourists spend 130 percent more than the average tourist.
- The number of spa trips grew an average of 9.6 percent between 2007 and 2015.
- 82 percent of people say they want access to a spa/massage when on vacation.
- 49 percent of people planned to swim on their summer vacation in 2014.
- 40 percent of people name a pool as “the amenity I can’t live without” on vacation.
- In 2013, Colorado Parks and Wildlife administered an Outdoor Recreation Participation Survey in which they learned that 57.3 percent of Coloradans claimed they participate in some sort of water activity.
- From 2014-2017, “Hot Springs” was the most searched term on Colorado.com.
By putting our water assets first, we entice visitors to come to Glenwood Springs. While here, they can experience not only skiing, fishing and rafting, but also new mountain biking trails, hiking, paragliding, horseback riding, the adventure park, Vaudeville Revue, and the list is nearly endless; then they can relax their tired muscles and minds with a soak in our famous, healing, hot springs amenities.
The community’s economy succeeds with a steady stream of visitor dollars. That’s why the Glenwood Springs tourism promotion team will continue to “just add water” to our marketing efforts.
Lisa Langer, IOM, is director of tourism for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.