Get them on the steeps
By Crystal Kotowski
The Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism Association (TA) plans to continue its marketing efforts on the trail element of the county. Whether it is mountain biking trails in the summer, fat biking opportunities in the winter or the Extreme Limits ski trails at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, the TA is focused on trails.
The TA’s annual report to the Gunnison County commissioners outlined their objectives, results, and strategies for the coming year. Its major objectives are to grow lodging occupancies faster than DestiMetrics’ competitive set and to work closely with the Air Command to make airline programs successful.
DestiMetrics is the leading supplier of lodging metrics and market intelligence for the North American mountain travel industry.
The TA noted its current strategy of focusing on millennials: advertising extreme ski terrain and avoiding luxury. “Our target audience has shifted to affluent millennials and those who are slightly older as opposed to a family-friendly message. We continue to target those who look for adventure in their vacation, and consider the remote location of the Gunnison Valley a blessing, not a curse,” the TA’s annual report reads.
The report further divides its target audiences and messages by season. Regarding the winter, the TA will focus on solidifying the Gunnison Valley as “the best Colorado destination” for fat biking, lending support to the events that make Crested Butte the Nordic Capital of Colorado, and on air markets. “We will test our millennial extremes message in the two air markets that have struggled the most with non-stop flights: Los Angeles and Chicago. By partnering with Teton Gravity Research to sponsor their new movie premieres we hope to build awareness of Crested Butte as a mecca for steep skiing and the culture that revolves around it,” the report continues.
In the summer, the TA will focus on mountain biking, continuing to promote the history and culture of mountain biking in the Gunnison Valley and collaborating with important partners such as the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Gunnison Trails.
Commissioner Jonathan Houck asked the TA to reach out to Gunnison Trails, as their work with the Bureau of Land Management for winter fat bike grooming would be a “great complementary opportunity.”
The report to the commissioners last week also touched on the budget. The 2017 budget proposed by the TA includes a requested contract amount of $1,680,000 compared to the $1,400,000 approved for 2016, noting an increase in revenue that would offset the increase in expenditures. The contract labor amount in the 2017 proposed budget increased approximately 29 percent from 2016 to $262,238.35 in the 2017 budget proposal.