Tourism office road show stops in Vail |

Tourism office road show stops in Vail

Scott N. MillerVail, CO, Colorado

VAIL More money equals more people.Thats the simple math behind a big boost in funding last year for the Colorado Tourism Office. Folks from that office have now hit the road to tell local businesses how they can get a piece of the states new efforts.A group from the tourism office made a stop in Vail on Thursday to explain the Lets Talk Colorado campaign and where and how its focused.That focus has been expanded in the last year, thanks to a large infusion of cash from the state. Colorado used to devote about $5 million per year to marketing. That budget has swollen to $20 million as of last year, with the money coming from state gambling revenue.Colorado Tourism Office Director Kim McNulty said the new money has allowed the state to hit the New York City media market. In addition, state tourism commercials are now running on the Food Network and other cable TV channels, and ads are being placed in magazines including The New Yorker and Gourmet.McNulty said the new, improved tourism office budget also will allow more advertising of Colorados different season. Now, about two-thirds of the budget is dedicated to spring and summer.Falls kind of our best-kept secret, McNulty said. We really want to do more there.And, while most of the states tourism marketing is aimed at people out of state, McNulty said theres also an effort to get residents to travel inside Colorado. Anyone who visits the Web site can enter to win one of three trips given away in a year. Theres also a promotion aimed at the states welcome centers near the borders. People can get a free T-shirt through the Web site, but have to stop at one of the welcome centers to get the shirt.Research shows that people who stop at the welcome centers stay longer and spend more than those who dont.McNulty added that the welcome centers also welcome brochures and other promotional material from businesses. And, of course, the states official visitor guide and other publications have advertising space available, and individual businesses can piggyback their own ads into the state campaign.The biggest opportunities, though, may be on the Internet. Businesses can take advantage of free calendar listings as well as free business listings.Well make sure were signed up for that, said Cameron Lowe, of the Antlers Lodge marketing department. Were always up for free stuff.Christine Mahorney came to the session from Silverthorne, where she supervises the marketing of that towns pavilion. I came over to learn how we might capitalize on opportunities to reach out to audiences we havent reached before, Mahorney said. It was a good session.

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