Chamber looks at boosting shoulder-season tourism |

Chamber looks at boosting shoulder-season tourism

Broncos fans shouldn’t have all the fun.And visitors to Glenwood Springs shouldn’t limit their fun to summer and winter.Those are some of the premises behind some brainstorming aimed at boosting the city’s “shoulder” tourism seasons of spring and fall.One of the ideas, outlined in a tourism marketing plan approved by Glenwood Springs City Council Thursday, is to offer a “Broncos Widows Weekend” targeting women who want to get away for the weekend while their husbands, fathers, boyfriends, etc. are consumed by the latest Denver football game.”Fall in Love with Glenwood Springs” and “Spring into Glenwood!” are two other shoulder-season ideas suggested as part of the plan, which will be carried out by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. Council on Thursday also approved a contract with the chamber to do the city’s tourism marketing next year.Council members approved the plan and $540,000 contract without comment, following an acrimonious year between the city, Chamber and some Chamber members.Early in the year, the Chamber formed a tourism board to oversee the marketing plan following discontent from major tourism businesses in town about the Chamber’s handling of the plan.Then the city raised questions about how the Chamber was spending money under the contract, which is funded by a city lodging tax and amounted to about $510,000 this year. Council has told the Chamber it plans to put the 2007 contract out for bid, breaking a long-standing tradition of automatically awarding it to the Chamber.The city also alleged the Chamber may have overbilled the city over aspects of the contract. However, the Chamber denied the allegation and the city eventually dropped its investigation of the matter.The Chamber also hired a new tourism marketing director, Stephanie Keister, after the previous director, Lori Hogan, left the Chamber and became a vocal critic of it.The new marketing plan represents the work of Keister and the new tourism board. One of the plan’s goals is to make Glenwood a year-round destination within five years, while increasing shoulder-season lodging occupancy rates by 7 percent in one year. The plan hopes to boost year-round occupancy to 73 percent in five years.It also aims to increase visitation at Sunlight Mountain Resort 10 percent next year, and rafting trips by 7 percent. Within five years, the plan seeks to boost those industries by 30 percent.Those goals would help the city build on its continuing recovery from the setbacks of Sept. 11 and the 2002 Coal Seam Fire. The city’s lodging tax revenues show the tourism industry already is coming back strong.”As of this writing, the city’s accommodations tax is up more than 9 percent for the year, and it appears that 2005, as a whole, will have proven to be a successful year for tourism in Glenwood Springs,” the Chamber says in its marketing plan.As the Chamber and tourism board proceed with the plan, one task they see ahead of them is launching a successful branding campaign. This could involve coming up with a new slogan, or simply enhancing the current “Relax: You’ve Got Options” campaign.Tied in with this, the Chamber hopes to better research and identify its target market. Previous research has suggested Glenwood tourists are fairly evenly split between families, and couples/singles.

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