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New tourism marketing director perfectly suited for the job

Kate Collins
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Very occasionally there are moments in our lives where professional achievements and personal experiences coalesce. Such is the happy case for me, a new resident of Glenwood Springs since June, and, as of October, new in my role as the vice president of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association (GSCRA). Having been in media, marketing, publishing, nonprofit management, and chamber of commerce leadership over the past 20 years in Eagle County, I bring my tourism promotion sensibilities with me on my westward migration. And as a Glenwood Springs tourist for the same period of time, I have a personal understanding of what makes our product extraordinary. My welcome from this community and my experiential fit for my position are a testament to the notion that opportunity is the coming together of both preparation and timing. In conjunction with the Tourism Board, my job is to promote our enviable and one-of-a-kind locale to visitors and prospects. My challenge with our already excellent product is to package it, make it easier to access, increase customer awareness, and to develop new customer segments from our existing base. With roughly a $500,000 annual budget derived from a 2.5 percent accommodations tax, the Tourism Board and the GSCRA undertake customer research, marketing, promotion, advertising and a continuous sales role in an effort to bring more visitors and increase tourism revenues for Glenwood. We measure our success by our efforts that are mirrored in the sales tax revenues in lodging, dining and activities. And in 2006, our lodging increases tell a great story, with a 19 percent net increase year to date. Estimated overall tourism economic impacts show an increase of 28 percent from 2005, with a heady jump from $98 million in 2005 to $126 million in 2006.In the year ahead, the GSCRA and the Tourism Board look forward to redefining the Glenwood Springs brand, creating an online booking mechanism for lodging and activities, and retooling and maximizing the effectiveness of our Web site, which is truly the portal to our product for today’s visiting consumer. In addition, we look forward to integrating all efforts and communication between the public, private and nonprofit sectors to make our product, Glenwood Springs, a seamless and wholly positive experience for the visitor. As we flesh out the ’07 plan, you will see more about our individual initiatives in subsequent articles.In the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the Ghost Walk to Doc Holliday’s grave and to the final resting places of the other, lesser-known but no less intriguing residents and pillars of the community, courtesy of the Frontier Historical Museum and many talented local actors. Recent trips with my family through the fascinating Glenwood Caverns and an afternoon at the pool still provide the same enduring and restorative appeal.There’s some kind of alchemy in the mix here, too, for me personally and perhaps at this pivotal time for Glenwood Springs, that is taking place much the same way water, geology and minerals coalesce to create our enchanting hot springs. Tourism has been the economic mainstay and driver in Glenwood Springs for well over 100 years, and the tourism industry benefits our community as a whole and for the long term when we provide stewardship and attention to our product. I’m ready to settle in for a good long while to continue our century-old tradition of hospitality and pride in our destination. I look forward to working with you to continue the trend.Statistics from EPS study 2002 and city of Glenwood Springs Finance Department.Kate Collins is the vice president of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.


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