State launches new tourism campaign
Ryan Summerlin June 16, 2012
VAIL – Colorado has a new tourism marketing campaign, and it may be different enough to draw more paying customers to the state.
Several officials from the Colorado Tourism Office were in Vail on Thursday to talk about the campaign – called “Come to Life” – and explain how local businesses can benefit from the state effort.
John Ricks, the department’s associate director, said research into the tourism campaigns of just about every other state in the country end up looking pretty much the same. One early exercise involved putting ads from several states up on a wall, but cutting off the destination. Participants were then asked to identify the destinations.
“You couldn’t do it,” Ricks said.
Ricks said that exercise and other research led to a different line of thinking – “The reason people come isn’t the same as what they do when they get here,” he said.
That ultimately led to a TV, print and social-media campaign based more on wanting to come to Colorado rather than doing anything in particular. The TV spots, which were created entirely with in-state talent including the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, focus on landscapes and their effects on the people in them.
One of the TV spots tells prospects, “Waiting is the opposite of living.” Colorado, of course, is the place to come to live.
A print ad is titled, “Some things happen exactly once,” and features a photo of a waterfall. There’s the image of a heart in the waterfall’s mist.
All that work is being reinforced through social-media sites including Facebook and Twitter, and the state has sales representatives in Germany, France and other countries. People in those countries can get state tourism guides in their languages.
And, Ricks said, people who get guides often make the trip to Colorado.
Once people come, then they can work on the particulars of their visit. The tourism office’s new website has a host of events, maps and a feature that allows people to link straight to lodge sites for easier booking.
Dennis McMahon, of Edwards-based Hill Aevium Marketing, said the state’s efforts can be a big help to local
“You can really ride the coattails of the state campaign,” McMahon said.
The campaign and the efforts to include local tourism marketers made a solid impression on people from both ends of the valley.
“This is a 200 percent improvement over their efforts in the past,” Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Committee member Beth Slifer said. “I’m so excited about the potential for Vail.”
Slifer said the local marketing district hadn’t been involved with the state’s efforts, but will be now, especially since the state’s theme of “living life to the fullest” so closely parallels Vail’s efforts.
But the state campaign also hopes to pull in small towns. The town of Gypsum has recently rolled out a marketing campaign taking advantage of recently being recognized as a “Playful City.”
“There was good stuff here today,” said Marie Sanders, of the town of Gypsum. “We have some things we’re going to be able to take back to the town.”