Moffat County, Colorado. Few states have a reputation for being colorful Colorado.
“Get your camera ready,” one visitor said. “Colorado is on the wish list of so many Americans.”
The State Tourism Administration has captured the beauty of Colorado perfectly in a new commercial titled “Shine A Little Brighter.”
Tim Wolfe, director of the Colorado Tourism Authority (CTO), says that while tourism is the lifeblood, travel revenue has been hit hard in Colorado during the COVID-19 pandemic, from $24 billion in 2019 to $15 billion in 2020 year.
“Right now, all the signs are pointing in the right direction,” Wolfe said.
Patrick Pahlke, director of marketing and commerce for Sage Hospitality, also believes that the direction of tourism is moving in a positive direction.
“Over the past two years, we have really focused on how to strengthen the empirical part of our objects,” Pahlke said.
At the Rally Hotel right across from Coors Field, the stage is a prime example of experiential travel, combining a time in America with an overnight stay at LoDo.
“Game days are here, it’s just a thrill and energy,” said Megan Copenhaver, Rally Hotel marketing manager. “It’s just electricity. All Colorado in one bottle.
It worked for Jason and Julie Gilmore from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“She talked me into buying a purple shirt,” Jason said.
The couple came to the concert, but ended up staying for baseball.
“We literally went downstairs and bought some T-shirts,” Gilmour said.
Palke says leisure travel is back, while business travel is still down 30%.
“It’s very encouraging to see that both the state of Colorado and the City of Denver are once again prioritizing tourism spending,” Palke said.
The state will invest an additional $9 million in tourism this year and next.
“We were cut without our social interaction,” Wolfe said. “So now we want to go out and be sociable and busy.”
“Revenge trips are very popular right now,” said Christian Hardigrey, dean of the Denver Metropolitan State University School of Hospitality.
She says Colorado needs to strike while the iron is hot and capitalize on pent-up demand.
“We have to think about people who may not know Colorado,” Hardigrey said. “We are trying to attract new people. We’re not trying to sell to people who’ve already been sold.”
“She’s 100% right,” Wolfe said.
Colorado’s tourism marketing spending far outstrips other states, including California, Arizona, Michigan, and Florida, just to name a few.
“The budgets and campaigns of these other states are getting extremely aggressive,” Wolfe said.
California, for example, spends about $195 million on tourism campaigns compared to Colorado’s $20 million—about 10 times more.
“And Arizona is three times bigger, Wyoming is bigger,” Wolfe said.
“So the more they invest in [tourism]the more we need,” Hardigrey said. “Or they’re going to take our travelers from us.