Shifts messaging from promotion to information
[ by Mark Reaman ]
With the expectation of a very busy tourism summer ahead and a problem with staffing for many local businesses, the Tourism and Prosperity Partnership (TAPP) this week decided to stop any more summer marketing for the coming season. Instead, they will “pivot” to messaging that emphasizes stewardship, destination management and support for Western Colorado University.
“We want to adequately inform visitors about the current situation, move them through the valley smoothly and let them know what to expect,” said TAPP’s marketing director Andrew Sandstrom. “We will focus on that instead of attracting new visitors to the area. There are many places we can quickly turn on or off some of our marketing. If we are committed to some ad buys, we are looking to pivot the messaging.”
There has been much vocal community concern about the fact that many businesses, particularly restaurants, can’t find enough employees to work this summer. That has led to some restaurants not opening and many others cutting hours and not opening seven days a week in the peak summer times. That was a major topic at last week’s “Housing Forum” and many suggested all county marketing efforts be eliminated since the valley had been “discovered” and there was no turning back.
Travel Crested Butte put up a social media post last weekend that messaged Crested Butte was not all sunshine and rainbows. “As beautiful and breathtaking as Crested Butte is, the community you love to visit is hurting,” the post stated. “Wait times for food and even entrance may take longer as a result. The staff here are stretched thin and need your patience and kindness. This valley is full of resilient residents who are working diligently to address these issues, but we can’t do it alone. Please be aware, calm, and most importantly kind on your next visit.”
“The TAPP board and county commissioners have had conversations about pulling back the non-snow marketing efforts of TAPP,” said Sandstrom. “We can move to more informational marketing and more winter marketing where there remains a lag. So as of today (Tuesday, June 15) we are cancelling all the non-snow marketing we can and if we can’t cancel we are looking to change the messaging. A focus on informing the visitors is money better spent than attracting more people right now.
“We are still working through the details,” Sandstrom continued. “The decision has been made but we are figuring out how to have the most impact and looking at the long-term plan as well.”
Sandstrom said there is approximately $100,000 to $120,000 in promotional advertising that will be cancelled and redirected immediately with no strings attached. Another $200,000 is committed contractually but TAPP is exploring either moving those impressions to the winter campaigns or pivoting the messaging for those projects from promotion to mitigation, expectation information or support of Western recruitment.