Town Tourism Committee releases third-quarter report

The Town Tourism Committee has been working hard to establish a successful tourism industry in Pagosa Springs.

This foundation-building work takes time. In 2008, committee members started seeing leading indicators to let the know the work of active board members and staff has begun to pay off.

Here are some key accomplishments in 2008:

1. Visitor packet requests are up 19 percent this year over last year. In addition, lodging taxes were up 2 percent in July and 17 percent in August over last year.

2. The TTC just launched the first-ever conversion study (currently ongoing) and tracks how many people who received a visitor packet actually came to Pagosa, and why they came. Current trending is showing 60 percent of visitors who received a visitor packet came to Pagosa on vacation.

3. After a new interactive Web site was launched in January 2008, the site started seeing an increase in traffic. In July 2008 the visitor center Web site received more than 16,000 hits. This Web site is also driving a significant amount of new traffic to local lodging facility, restaurant, retailer and outfitter Web sites. In-house staff makes changes to the site on a weekly basis.

4. The TTC has implemented the first-ever e-mail marketing campaign, reaching more than 7,000 visitors per month. The database of potential visitors continues to grow each month.

5. An external marketing campaign has extended marketing reach and awareness of Pagosa Springs as a destination with a first-ever outdoor billboard campaign, search engine optimization, and Internet marketing .

6. In coordination with town staff, the TTC has established an accurate reporting system that tracks lodging tax dollars by property and by the actual month the visitor came to Pagosa. Prior to this TTC project, lodging taxes could not be tracked by property or converted to reflect the actual month the visitor came to Pagosa, due to limitations in tax collection by the state. The town’s Home Rule status allows the town staff to be more active in collection and reporting.

7. In July, the TTC rolled out the first-ever visitor guide. These new guides went into the visitor packets starting in mid-October. Work continues on development of a companion recreation and shopping guide that will be ready in January 2009.

8. By the end of the year, the TTC will offer Web site visitors the ability to either receive a visitor packet by mail or through online delivery.

The committee is establishing a new brand and logo that will set Pagosa apart from other mountain towns. A firm working on this project, Barnhart Communications, has had success turning around the State of Wyoming’s tourism industry. The TTC has also engaged Barnhart to develop a first-ever proactive public relations campaign.

There are other new projects in development. To find out more, the public is welcome to attend monthly board meetings. They are held the third Tuesday of every month at the community center, 4-6 p.m.