“We want to compel the pass-throughs to stay longer and engage them early on,” said Avery.
Close to 25 people attended last Thursday’s meeting at the Ouray Community Center where Avery discussed the marketing analysis results of a 12-member team that met over a span of three months.
Avery described Ouray’s “power of place” as the ice park, hot springs, Box Canyon Falls, hiking and off-road trails, and the San Juan Skyway. Along with these unique attractions, Avery said Ouray must also promote its culture of a slower, relaxed pace and its unique dining and lodging opportunities.
Along with what Ouray already has to offer, Avery said the team discovered that visitors are actively seeking out healthy choices while on vacation. She said 66 percent of people who travel let a destination’s ability to be green influence their decision of where to travel.
The 2009 plan includes marketing Ouray as a base camp, rather than just a destination, with easy day trip access to surrounding popular areas.
“Silverton or Telluride, they can pose a bit of competition,” Avery said. “When we are marketing to the Front Range, our competition is anybody who is marketing there. We thought we weren’t as much as competitors as we thought. If they come to Telluride, hopefully we can pull them into Ouray.”
Avery emphasized the importance of marketing to growing cities like Grand Junction and Albuquerque, N.M., and said canned itineraries for three-, five- and seven-day visits can be effective.
One way to better compete with other resorts is to improve Ouray’s marketing technology, especially online. “Technology can level the playing field,” she said. “Regional efforts to market southwest Colorado are gaining momentum.”
And while the 2009 marketing plan focuses on Ouray’s unique attractions, Avery said maintaining and improving the town’s infrastructure and beautification are also very important. She went on to say that the chamber would love to get the Colorado Department of Transportation to make a visitors/CDOT rest area in Ouray with WiFi, Chamber Chats and trained personnel that are able to direct visitors to various destinations within Ouray.
The marketing strategy also includes plans to further develop coherent marketing of group travel to fill Ouray’s shoulder season.
Finally, the Colorado Tourism Office has awarded OCRA with a $15,000 marketing grant. Avery stated in an email on Nov. 23 that the money will be used to create 30-second video ads to be aired on specific cable networks in the Albuquerque television market. The specific grant proposal was a joint effort between the City of Ouray, OCRA, the Ridgway Chamber, and the Town of Ridgway.
For more information on the 2009 Ouray Marketing plan, visit www.ouraymarketing.blogspot.com. Avery closed the meeting by saying the group is looking for speakers and topics to begin next year’s slate of business roundtable discussions.