Pagosa Springs of Southwest Colorado, for now!
The article below is from Cathy Ritter director of the Colorado Tourism Office. It describes a movement of the CTO to redraw and rename the various territories in the state. As it states, this will make changes directly affecting people’s vision and perspective for decades to come. It makes one wonder, what will our new name be? We have been Southwest Colorado for a long time and it seems to be an apt description for the area. It is also a name that is well known and likely better known than several other geographically descriptive areas. The question is, what should we think of being renamed and what, exactly, will our region be? Norm
Cover photo by Jacque Aragon
Quick. Name a top attraction in Colorado’s South Central Region.
If you didn’t come up with Pikes Peak or the Royal Gorge or the Salida Creative Arts District, don’t feel bad. That challenge would probably stump most Coloradans, not to mention out-of-state visitors. It’s a sad fact that the geographic naming of our current seven regions is doing little to inspire consumer awareness of the unique travel experiences they might find there.
But the solution is not as simple as just coming up with catchier names. Our research last year also shows that the current regional structure, created more than 20 years ago, is doing little to support regionally based marketing collaborations.
All of this is why the Colorado Tourism Office is on the hunt for a branding/marketing agency to apply a research-based approach to identifying and naming new Colorado travel regions. A Request For Proposals already has been shared with more than 70 marketing/branding agencies around the nation, with responses due Sept. 15.
The initiative is the latest to come from the findings of the new Colorado Tourism Roadmap, adopted last March as a strategic plan for building the Colorado tourism industry’s competitive advantage.
In nearly every one of the 20-plus, face-to-face listening sessions we held across the state, we heard a strong interest in creation of marketing collaborations, along with a whole lot of frustration with the way geographic boundaries had been drawn decades ago.
My own opinion is that a fresh look at Colorado tourism regions is one of the most important projects the CTO will take on this year. Not only does it hold potential for shaping Colorado tourism for decades to come, but it offers a significant opportunity to gain insight into how visitors connect experiences across our state. This knowledge could be a key for all of us to market more effectively.
Due to the impact of this project, we thought it was important to engage a consultant — former Michigan state travel director George Zimmermann, now CEO of Longwoods International — to assist us in developing the RFP and recruiting a strong pool of bidders. Additionally, we’ve named a representative industry group to work with us side-by-side, first in selecting the right agency for this work, then in sharing insights on shaping and naming the new regions.