Full Circle Podcast - Episode 6 - Elizabeth Fogarty - Visit Grand Junction
The full circle podcast. Compelling, interviews and incredible, tales from colorado's, western slope from the mountains to the desert. Christie reese and her team hear from the movers, shakers, and characters, of the grand valley and surrounding mountain towns, that make the western slope the place we all love, you'll learn, you'll laugh, you'll love, with the full circle. Hi everyone and welcome back to the full circle podcast, with christy reese group i'm kristy reese and today, i'm honored to have as our guest elizabeth, fogerty. The director, of. The, visit grand junction. Uh. So it used to be the visiting, and convention, bureau right but that changed, before, you came correct, before, i arrived. Our industry. Were known as destination, marketing, organizations. And we are a department, of the city of grand junction. Somewhat unusual, about 25. Of dmos, in the country, are a division of the city. And others. Are a separate, taxing district. Okay. And. Um. What about palisade, and fruita do they have their own, destination, marketing organizations. Or do you cover. Those, areas of the county as well they do have their own however we do, market the entire, area, consumers, don't see. Boundaries. And. They primarily, think through activities, and experiences, they want, so, primarily, visit grand junction, does talk about all the activities, in the entire valley, but palisade, and fruita do have their own tourism, boards as well, okay, awesome. So, elizabeth, tell us a little bit about how you got to grand junction. And how long you've been here and your tenure with visit grand junction, yeah thanks. I've been in grand junction, just 22, and a half years, short time. Uh originally, from western new york grew up south of buffalo, and started my career in buffalo, with delaware, north companies, they're. Very large. One of the largest, privately held hospitality. Company in the world three billion dollar, company. And was really fortunate, to start with them in their corporate marketing, department, so i was exposed to some, pretty progressive. Uh business. Industry. And stayed with them for quite some time, from buffalo i moved to syracuse. And then denver, at the old stapleton, airport. Dating myself. And then to boston, they moved me there and then my last stint with delaware north was in yosemite, national park so that was their first park service. Contract, they took over for curry company, and i was managing, the wabona, hotel. Which was, really interesting, it was in the red at the time and they said turn it around in a year get us in the black and we did it in six months, oh wow that's fantastic. Yeah, and then decided to take a break i had a brother in colorado, springs. Who was retiring, from the air force so decided to catch up with family. And. Worked at the broadmoor hotel, for, six years when gaylord, owned it. And then, kind of migrated, my way north, i, worked in denver, for, a consulting, company, primarily. Working with, boutique hotels, on the east coast. And. Then. Boulder, and then estes park for 13 years so that's where i resided, prior to coming to grand junction. And, honestly, i owe a big part of being here to debbie cavallic, we were at a conference, in colorado, springs a hotel conference. And she shared that i. That she was retiring. And i should consider. The position, in grand junction, so, i was somewhat familiar, i was a typical, front ranger, somewhat, familiar. You knew it was over here on this side of the state somewhere, you probably, stopped to get gas, on your way to utah, exactly. We call it in our office now gas and gatorade. And. Everything, we do, is to avoid, the gas and gatorade. Uh, consumer. In fact we have research now that says if they stay a certain amount of time in the grand junction area they actually returned, so, yes i was one of those. Glad i had that experience, because it allows us to have really good insight now that we're trying to convert, right you know what it's like to be a consumer, out there. Wandering, around colorado, and wondering what all these places are about exactly. And, i was just. Blown away my husband and i came out here, to spend some time and be incognito. And, really delve into. The community. Um, spent time at local restaurants. And sat at the bar at bin, and just, talked to the bartenders. And. And, you know said who we were, front rangers just visiting what's it like to live here what's it like to visit we learned so much and then. We really got excited, and uh, i really wanted, the position, so much um having spent some time here. Um. But again yeah debbie kind of put that bug in my ear, and. She deserves a lot of credit for the foundation. That she. Created. You know that. Lodging tax didn't exist. But grand junction was one of the first to have a lodging tax in the state and that was under, debbie's, leadership.
So. Um, we still lean on a lot of the learnings, that. She created with her team and, we've kind of taken it to the next, iteration, of where marketing, is now. And i think we're really lucky to have you obviously you've got an incredible, marketing background. And. I think when you came to town we all thought oh my gosh do we deserve, this you know, you're going to do great things and i think you really have so we appreciate, that did you go to school, for marketing. I did i primarily, majored in marketing, and accounting. And, my emerging. Kind of balances, that out i have, a lot of create, creativity. Side and then an analytical, side and, all of that. Really aligns itself with marketing, especially, in today's. Industry. Where. Our actionable, insights, truly come from data as opposed to anecdotal, information, or feelings. Right so, that's a great segue because i wanted to ask you about the analytical, data, and. How, are you relying, on that now and how is that different, from the way we used to, market. It's really exciting. The the data really began. In the hospitality. Industry with retail and restaurants. The data companies. Could wrap their hands around. The widget they were selling whether it was, a restaurant, meal or. A piece of clothing, or a toy, right it was, tangible. And tourism, was really, slow. With the data because these technology, companies couldn't really wrap their head around. Tourism, we don't have a tangible, thing. We're marketing, an experience. And we're creating. Relationships. With our community, and then, the broader area we're marketing, to so it only happened, recently. Even when i was an estus we were wanting to lean into the data but the companies, were. Saying. We can offer you this data but there really wasn't a connection. To, the roi. And a direct connection, to the consumer. Anonymized, data and aggregated, data but there still wasn't that connection like they had with retail. And restaurants, so when, i came here. We started reaching out to those companies, and, helping them, say listen treat us as a restaurant, draw. A, geo, around, the city of grand junction, or downtown. And let's treat that as, a retail shop or a restaurant. Um, and we worked with some. Really progressive, companies that were willing to do that and then while we were doing that larger companies were coming up the ranks, and seeing the light. With tourism, and it literally happened, just in the last year and a half two years where, we are, where we are now, where we can. Um, align the data with the consumers, we're looking, for, and, marketing, and done in a responsible, way is about, again creating relationships. So we want to speak to the people that want to hear from us. And if they don't we don't want to be, sending them ads and traditionally, marketing, we all remember right we were getting. Ads from a variety, of places. So. On one hand people may say i don't want to be tracked, and i don't like using that word but publicly. Those conversations.
Are. Happening. Right now. But. What's actually happening, is brands, now have access, to data again anonymized. That allow us to speak to the people that want to be spoken. To so instead of me getting. Ads, in my margin that are, polyester, plaid pants. I'm getting ads in the margin of things that i'm looking for. Or. Recommended, for you based on your other choices, exactly, so it's making our life easier, it does, creep some people out. But it also. When it when it nails it you're like oh gosh i hadn't. Heard of that book or that music, or that product, and, it is something that i would like because i did like this, other thing exactly, and we're becoming reliant, on it for example when i was looking. A couple years ago with those food delivery. Companies, right they send you a kit you make it that evening, right i researched, one and i expected, all of them to show up in my margin make my life easier i don't have time to go find you i don't even remember, all your names i think i remembered hello fresh. But there was many out there, they all showed up but one and i was aggravated. With the one, because i had to go, find it i mean. I had to go research all of them to make a decision which is a little obsessive, but. We're becoming more and more reliant, on the information. And, at the end of the day you can clear your cookies and show off, ads and if i'm served up an ad that's not, appropriate, to my hobbies, or something i'm looking for, you know it just takes a second to click on it, and say i don't want to be served up these ads and if you really lean into it, yeah it really helps your lifestyle. And if you choose not to you can, shut them off as well. So can you tell us what kind of data. Is the. Perfect, grand junction, visitor. Uh showing us i mean what what are how are you targeting. Yeah it really depends, on, season, and activity. You know if it's a specific, event, that we're looking to. Help of course pre covid. We would use that data we had events. Yeah. And seek out that information. So. It depends if we're talking season. Or. Event, or sometimes, it's just, the quality, consumer, so, we know that. No surprise, salt lake city is the number one. Origin, market, to grand junction. For out of state. But boise. Has a longer length of stay. So from a destination. Management, standpoint. We won't ignore salt lake city but we might lean into a city with a longer length of stay because quality of life is also always, our number, one. Strategy, we know that, if we enjoy our lifestyle, here people will want to visit but if we, encroach, on our amazing, quality of life which is why we all came here. Um. Then, why would people visit if we start encroaching on that and we're not happy as residents, so. Our filter is always what will help, and benefit, the community. Enough. Where we're not encroaching, and quality of life. Um. Cities, pop up unexpectedly. Like albuquerque, has been. Um surfacing, and right, everyone is surprised, it emerges, and you, yeah and we're able to track it and then, if, we triangulate, our data as well so we don't use any one data source it's a, risky way of going down a rabbit hole and data's not always correct so we triangulate.
As Much as we can, sometimes, we'll use an ad tech company for a little while. Achieve some learnings and then we'll shift to another. But when we. Are able to consistently. Consistently, see good data we'll often share it for example we shared, the albuquerque. Story with cmu, and we said this might be a great opportunity, for your admissions, office so the marketing department. Has been looking into that as well and then chicago's, another good example. Long before. The negotiation. Was happening, for that direct, flight that we were getting in the summer. We knew that there was a lot of potential, for chicago, and grand junction it was a growing market for colorado. And our data showed it was a growing market. Here even without the flight. So, literally two and a half years ago we were marketing, and still due to chicago, heavily. And it's one of our top cities, even now without the direct flight. Wow, what do you think the attraction, is, what makes chicago. Folks. Like grand junction, what is it about our area, yeah every city is a little different and we're, learning, more about that, um. We're get we're getting those learnings a little more in-state, especially with covid, we're doing, more, uh, marketing, focus, in state so we know. Um the leanings of arvada. Versus littleton. First denver. You know arvada. Our data's showing there's a lot of scuba, divers, in arvada, i saw this in colorado, springs too and i lived in colorado springs it was like the number one scuba store. West of the mississippi, other than the coast it was, like odd hobbies, right it's not unusual. It gets this cult following. So we're not sending scuba ads to, our vata. Um. But. We. We can maybe, show up in their feed if they have a preponderance, to wanting to be outside. And, like. Outdoor recreation. Things like that. Um, chicago, it's definitely the wide open spaces, and getting away from the city, so we also use.
Programmatic, Content, so. When chicago, goes to our website, they likely see a hello, chicago, message. And then something that speaks to them and that goes back to the relationship, building. We do that for all our direct flight cities it's really fun. That does sound fun because you get to learn about these other places. And other populations. I have a realtor, friend in fredericksburg. Texas. And i was looking at my facebook feed, and, she said we just had the best time in colorado, and utah. And they did a big trip where they. Did some. River rafting. I believe. Over in, around moab, and then. Uh some four wheeling, and then they went to gateway canyons. For a few nights, and did some more outdoor activities there and then they did a wine tour. In grand junction and i was scrolling through the photos and i said you were just in my town i wish i knew you, you were coming here, and she said it was the best trip yeah the photos she posted were amazing i mean, this could be an ad, for great function. Uh everything that she did and i think, there's such an opportunity, for us to capitalize, on the utah. People that know that as canyon country. Right because they don't typically, think of colorado, as being canyon country, agree or even the arches. Another. Thing i learned being the front ranger i was, was the second, largest concentration, of arches, is here. And it's in large part while we put it on the back, cover of our new visitor guide just released, this week, so. We're very careful, with that though we do educate people on what type of hike that is that falls into our destination, management, piece. We have a full page. On, leave no trains trace, principles. On the inside back cover of the guide. Fairly unusual, for a dmo to devote, that amount, of education. In a guide. But again we really want to make sure we protect. This area, and we know tourism, has an impact, to a community. And we want to make sure that we minimize. That impact. So let's talk about this guide a little bit more because it's uh it's not on the stands yet, but um, we have an advanced copy. Uh it's beautiful. And, there's no ads in here right correct, very unusual, information. And, we're really proud of that, it's it's really nice i have to say, my first reaction was can we put an ad in here but then, when i thumb through it and i think there are no ads it's just about grand junction, not about any of the businesses, here, but you can find information, about the businesses, easily because you have links to websites. And, agree all kinds of things, agree, we wanted it to be a trusted. Source as opposed to, putting ads in front and kind of forcing, that messaging, and we know the community. Has many, opportunities, to purchase ads and we don't want to encroach on that either, we'll leave that to other partners, who really depend on that funding. So that was an important, decision. As well because we could have easily, added ads to this piece especially. Kovid. And trying to, increase our revenue, because we are dependent, on lodging tax. But, we decided, it was important to maintain the integrity, of that piece. And. Continue to receive feedback, from the community, that they liked it the way it was and just stick to the refresh, so. Yeah we're really proud of it we did add a new section. In this edition there's now a restaurant, section. We didn't do that in the past because the restaurants, changed so much. But we literally were making changes, the day, it was going to press, and uh we got everybody, in, and it's okay if it changes. We direct them throughout the guide to go to our website, for. Additional, information. And even events. We felt, it was important to continue, to list all of the events, so, we didn't remove any of them obviously we confirmed with all the event promoters, and managers. We did reorganize, the events based on season. That they, are historically. Hosted, in right but we did remove the date so there's quite a few subtle kovich's. In there. There's a few photos of crowds but a little looser, than what we've done in the past. But we're really proud of it the front and back cover, are by. Michael, rouche who. Was born and raised in grand junction, still has family, here. Really proud of his images and he actually wrote. A story, inside the guide, that, will bring cheers, chills to you every time i read it i get goosebumps, it's really amazing, that's great so the teams worked really hard on it they deserve a ton of credit, i bet, i know, what it takes to put out a publication, it's a lot of work. So this is a yearly publication. Yeah yearish. So we try to have it last a little longer. Uh we printed 95, 000 copies, of this. Uh we. Increased them, every year other than the resident. Print that we did last year. But it continues, to grow in popularity.
Both. Within the community, and outside. And it does convert, when people their studies, done, on. The industry-wide, that say if someone looks, at a visitor guide either print or digital. They do extend, their stay, and that's what we're trying to accomplish, as well, so where can people pick these up in grand junction, and i think even more importantly, where, else are they distributed, where people that might not know about grand junction where can they pick it up, we, mail them so a few, few ways you can go to our home page on visit granjunction.com. In the upper right corner it says order a guide, and that's where you can view the digital, guide as well and we, have hundreds of thousands, of digital views of the guide and we track all of that, we know what pages they're clicking on and what links and that helps us with our, actionable, strategies, of what people are interested, in or what we might be missing. And then. They are. They will be. Um, distributed. Outside the visitor center which is temporarily, closed due to covid but we stock it outside so people can stop by and pick one up. And then there's areas, around, the community, i think, uh here as well christy, where we have racks. Of the guide, many hotels. Retail stores, restaurants. Any, uh establishment, that would like a rack, a typical magazine, rack. We stock it and then we stop by. When it's running low and fill it so. If any business, in town would like one we take care of, all of that and we refill it as needed so it's really nice and are are they stocked at welcome centers. Uh yes, throughout the state yes outside the area. All the state welcome centers. Aaa offices. Other travel, companies. The airport. There's really no limit to where we put it if someone asks we. We asked them would you like a case or a rack and. The more places the better yes the digital. Copy obviously gets a lot of, leverage. And we were talking earlier, about an insert, that's going into, the colorado, visitors, guide. So. We have exclusive, rights to this insert this will be our third year producing, it, so anyone that purchases, or, requests, the colorado. Official visitor guide that's produced, yearly as well. The. Grand junction insert is literally. On top, and then the whole thing is bubble wrap so when people receive their state guide it really helps grand junction. Stand, out and it really is this coffee table piece or something you put on your fridge that, we think lasts longer than the actual. Guide which is quite big eventually, that winds up in a closet. But we've heard that this piece. People keep for a long time and we keep it out it is really beautiful. We also do a lot with postcards. Especially. Covid, we thought we'd lean into some traditional. Marketing, some guerrilla marketing, so we've been sending out. E-newsletters. Through the state. List. Saying. If you'd like a postcard, in the mail and we had a little jingle that went with it a little poem that said you know none of us love getting mal. Except when we get a postcard, from a beautiful, place, and we'd love to send you, a beautiful, postcard, and so many people, are, requesting, those postcards, from, all over the country, i love it, we did that for residents last year as well everyone who received. A visitor guide last year they got a postcard, and we asked them to mail it to someone who's never been to grand junction before.
And Then we asked them to email us and tell us where they mailed it and then they were entered into, a contest, so, postcards, have been really fun for us we've just had. Um. A, huge. Uh, response. To the postcards. And we just, purchased. Uh. A bunch more they're super economical. And we throw a stamp on it and um. The first, 3000, of these that we'll be mailing out to people have requested, them they received, two stamp postcards. One of the front and one of the back of the guide. And, we had we were saying in a letter. Um. Hopefully you come visit bring these postcards, with you fill them out and mail them while you're here. Um to kind of complete that, circle, so it's been fun some creative ways the team has come up with. Um and you have a team of eight you said. When we're fully staffed. Everyone, dabbles, in data, so, um. These positions, are, currently, difficult, to fill because we're really at the head at the. Very lead of what marketing, is doing from a data standpoint. And these positions, haven't been around, for very long. But um, now that it's been about a year and a half two years that these positions, have been in the market. We think we'll have some, better luck and good postcovid. Will help too. There are benefits, of kovid, right um unemployment, was, really low pre-code but it was hard to find people but, now we've got um. Some. New folks that are looking to. Expand, their marketing horizon, and we're starting to attract them awesome. Let's talk a little bit about the trends that you're seeing in tourism, here, and co-fed, has obviously. Changed things, but what trends were you seeing. Before kovid. And, what do you expect. Um. The long-range. Trends to be here and and how has covet affected, things i mean how how far. Down has the, um. Uh the lodging tax. Dropped and how has that affected you and, but i i, want to think about, i mean obviously, we, that live here know, lots of people are coming here, lots of people want to live here, and we feel like we're getting more tourists from different areas. Um so talk a little bit about the trends that you were seeing before covet. Uh, we, were seeing some substantial. Growth and visitation. Um we were very cognizant, to spread these people out as much as possible. But um, we were seeing some, significant, growth i think. It was, appropriate. We, it's not a dial on the wall that we can. Turn on and off but we, knew that there was opportunity, to grow tourism, in this community. And we were hearing from businesses, that they really needed, an extra push from tourism. Uh if we've learned anything from covid, nationally. Uh these businesses, can't survive with just resident, purchase, whether it's restaurant, or retail or activities, so. There was, uh healthy growth pre-covered. Post coven, and the time we're in now we're still doing okay certainly businesses, are hurting in this community and we're doing everything and everything we can to help them. But during the. Quarantine, that was happening, nationally. Instead of just shutting down our marketing. We did create a roam from home campaign. And that was a very. Ris, very responsible, messaging of not inviting, people but we saw it as an opportunity, to educate people about, what the grand junction area offered because that's a huge gap. In the market right but still people don't know about our area. So. We. Created. A, grid, of photos, with no one in the photos, just beautiful, scenery. And, deployed, this messaging. Uh digitally. To people, and we, let them know you know please don't come visit, but here's an opportunity, to learn about us so when, visitation, does open up either by state or by country. We've kind of laid that foundation. So that was a significant. Part of our strategy, during covid. We also, as dmos, you kind of turn inward and start helping the community.
Even, More. So we created a google sheet that was live that businesses, could go in on their own or we would do it for them and it was everything from restaurants. Hours. With the to go and the take out. A nice partnership, with the city, as far as the eat out campaign, that was a lot of fun it was gg strong and then, gj strong appetite. That was a lot of fun so we promoted, that. Um. And just advertising, the hours of businesses, and as they would open we would give them a bit of a, nudge, on the marketing, side and it seems to have worked. Because. Our. Numbers, aren't, as. Dire as we're seeing in the state and even the country, so. Although we're about. 48. Below. Last year year to date for lodging tax, our most obvious, barometer. We think we'll end the year. At about, 38, percent, below. 2019. And that's ahead of the country which likely will end up at 50. Below, 2019.. So we're pacing ahead of the state. And the country. But again we don't want to get too far ahead we're pretty comfortable, with. Where we are now. Um. We don't want to attract, too much visitation. We stay really close, obviously to the covid, numbers, and mesa county health. And, um, obviously. The, restrictions. With um. The governor, and, the state rules we follow those really quickly it could be a complicated, message i think for, uh, lots of people in lots of industries, how do you say, we want you but. Not too many at one time. Yeah not all at once. We do that with the length of stay. So. If we you know we have limited. Revenue, and limited time so. Uh in some cases that's a good thing so we we can't market to all of these cities, that we would, love to. And then we choose, longer length of stay, and sometimes that depends, on season as well so we monitor, that. What do you see is that ideal length of stay, the tourists you're targeting, we'd like to get it to about four, nights. Depending, on the city, it's one and a half to two. And we'd like to get it to, four because that's when they are, visiting multiple, restaurants, and shopping at multiple retail, stores, and. Um you're not flipping rooms constantly. It reduces the amount of cars into the community. Um so that would be ideal and i think we can, we can get there. Are you doing surveys. With.
People That are traveling, here and what kind of data are you seeing what do you think that grand junction still lacks. That. Tourists, want, to see in our community. Yeah so this came out in our branding. We'll be. Sharing, publicly, soon, uh the final, recommendations. Of the branding process this has been a year and a half. Of working with the community, we did a lot of executions, within. The city, we can talk about that if there's time. But the consumers. Are intrigued. About what we have here, we just need to communicate. Confidently. What we have that's unique. So one of the things that came out of the branding. Which we're really excited, about. Is, residents. Are confident. About grand junction, i think historically. The messaging, was. Grand junction. Just doesn't have the confidence, it needs. But that's, changed, and i think it's recent. Um a lot of changes have happened, thanks to the partnerships, in the community, and the great organizations, like gjp, and the chamber and airport, and sports commission. I think all of that has been elevated. Organizationally. And then individual, businesses, as well so. The residents. Through, our. Branding, surveys, absolutely, said they were confident. I think what's lacking, is how to message, that confidently, and we're going to be helping with that as part of our. Branding. And, and, how we communicate, with the public and we'll give them tools, and resources, and assets. To say you know here you can apply this to your own brand. This will not only help you but it'll you know, raise all. Ships and. Help the community, as a whole but, yeah consumers. Once they hear about us they do want to visit. And again once they. Visit. They often tend to come back our research is showing that as well we're not a bucket list disneyland. Check and that's it, once they visit they absolutely want to come back and you know we're not surprised, right, yeah the monument, and the mesa, and the book cliffs and the rivers. There is they just don't know about it so it's not. Over complicated. Um i think people look for. This silver, bullet, when, uh branding, is, finished, and they look for a logo, and a, fancy, tagline, and we've avoided that at all cost, we may, get a new logo at the end of this branding exercise, it's not something we're focused, on, in fact we removed the logo, from this, visitor guide purposely, just to distance, ourselves from that. Conversation. Yeah you'll find it in the book, but it's not something that needs to be our brand. Um so that was a subtle way to say you know what we're so much more important than a logo. And we'll see what comes out of it we may end up with a logo, our brand is the experience, that people have right and they visit here exactly, and the relationship, we're creating with them. Exactly, and it's not a tagline. So we did an outdoor. Retailer, campaign. With g-drop, two years ago and, created. New imagery, and tag lines it all comes together, here, and, mother nature, plays favorites. And, don't hate us because we're beautiful, and, it was wonderful, because, palestine food and grand junction all loved it.
And They loved it so much that they said this should be our brand. Um so it's a good problem to have but we said this isn't a brand this is creative. A brand is so much more involved in that and the community, has you know listened, and responded, in that way again when we did. Community, surveys, i think everyone started understanding, based on the questions we were asking. Something that came out of that was. Not just confidence. But also. A little bit that we're a teenage, city, trying to figure out who we are. And, we are evolving, it's a really good thing, like we're kind of in control, of our future, and we're not. Overly dependent, anymore, on any one industry. And i think this diversification. We're seeing, is really helpful for our brand, and i think that's part of the confidence, we're seeing in the community, as well. I love that thinking about, the confidence. That we have, and i, i went to one of the branding. Workshops, and. The the word i specifically, remember was when the guy asked, do you feel like we're sexy. Here yeah you know because we a lot of us felt like, colorado, has this. Sexy, mystique, but we thought grand junction just doesn't feel sexy but we we're getting there you have that opportunity. And. Yeah, agree we're becoming cooler and, how do you think that grand junction's, identity, has changed over the last 10 years. I think more, awareness. I think it's less. Other than the identity, of the residents. You know i think, the boom and bust cycle. Sucks the wind out of a community, of course, and then you're trying to, pull it back together. Um, but i think the assets, have always, been here. And. Oftentimes, it takes the destination, marketing organization. To kind of, organize, that in a way that the community, can deploy, it. So i wouldn't say much has changed it's more. The attitude, of the community. Has to change and we're already, there and now they're open to it like you have to have confidence. In order to, take this messaging, and deploy, it. So we're seeing that, and. Again some of the. Exercises. We did with branding, you probably remember we had the holiday, trees at city hall. Where we had wooden ornaments, and we encouraged everyone to write down what they loved about grand junction, and that was, subliminal, we didn't say, we're doing a branding exercise, come to city hall, and fill out an ornament it was just. Very subtle, and to get people thinking, about. What is special, it's already, here, it doesn't necessarily. Need to change, and then we also did the tickets of good cheer. Where during the holidays, instead of people getting a parking ticket, it was random, so some got parking tickets, me included. But uh we won't show you our stack here. Exactly, it's our donation, i think we pay for a city employee with the perfect tickets, me too and i'm one of them. But we did like that you know it was really nice surprised, to go out and find a. Just a nice note on your car exactly, and we encouraged people to email, us as they're fine they didn't have to but to once again say, what's special. About grand junction yeah and then we do the traditional, surveys, as well we did some covid surveys, even, of, um. How coveted was affecting, them. So impact survey, recovery, survey. And. Even though, the chamber, in geoff and cmu do those surveys too that's a good thing, um and then i just encourage everyone to be sharing that information, and, see where there might be some conflicts, in the data and then we know to and maybe, question uh ask the question differently. Or. That all the data is lining up consistent, and then we all can really depend on that data so that's something else that, we've really, leaned into on a community-wide. Level is, sharing information, and, cross-uh. Pollination. Of ideas. And strategies. And data. Um to help each other, that's really important, yeah we have three distinct, communities, but we can't all work together. And bring more people to our whole area that we have so much to offer in the three different communities, agree, and in our regional, partnerships, even go beyond the valley you know there's partnerships, sometimes we do with moab, utah, we can, tourism, is that way sometimes you compete. And other times you're partnering. And then the southwest. Mountains and mesas, is our new region, from the colorado, tourism, office, rebrand, of the state.
So We used to be part of the northwest. Region. And then destination. Think, the same company we're using for our branding. Drew new lines, across the state that made a lot more sense. And now we're in the southwest. Uh region which is mountains of mesa so now we've created, i think three different. Itineraries. To move people around. Our region and get them to stay a little, longer, because just like your friends did, no one's staying in any one destination. Culturally, that long we're trying to increase length of stay but, they are moving around, so if they're in durango, or glenwood, springs. We want to get them out here too or maybe they'll come here and stay longer the next time they come to the area. I get excited just thinking about. Having all these different people from all over the world come visit our area and i'm sure you do too, we do be really fun we do we're tempering, it with coved. We're being much more direct with our invitation, in state. And then much more inspirational. Out of state. But we think we're primed, for for both and as. Restrictions. Lift. Whether it's a vaccine, or what have you we don't really know what the future looks like but we can still. Lay a really good strategic, foundation, to make sure grand junction, is recovering. That's what everybody needs to be doing right now right working on their systems laying foundation, so that when we open up we can really take advantage. Right. That time, agree. Anything, else that you want to share about what you're doing at visit grand junction, or, projects, going on or looking ahead, sure there's a new. Technology, we're bringing to the table that will be. Primarily, for the businesses, in the area it's called benwango. Said. Benwingo. Okay that's just the company, name we won't lead with that but it's basically, a web-based, app so it's not an app people. Even though we have lots of apps on our phone we, traditionally, don't use them seems like a good idea, so this is more of a web-based, app it's a website. That, offers, the convenience, of an app but. Actually is a website behind it so an example of what this would do. From a free standpoint. And this ties into our strategy of destination, management, so one of the things our team is working on is. Itineraries, that are free in the area, so we're coming up with. Mild hikes, and there'll be 15. Mild hikes, 15, or so. Medium. And, a dozen or so extreme, and then let's say they complete. We'll say you need to complete. Five of these hikes, five of these mild hikes and you literally can ping the app. So they'll literally go to our website. Click on a link, they get a link on their phone. And then everything is super seamless so they can go to the trailhead, even if there's no signal. And, ping that they're at the trailhead, and if they do five. Then depending on the partner, we've, uh we're working with if they do all five they can go to like rockslide, and get a free beer, and what happens when the family. Goes and gets a free beer, at a business or a free gelato, everybody, purchases, something right. So that's kind of the destination. Strategy, around it there'll also be. Pay passes, where if you visit these three museums. Then. You might win a prize so it's a lot of it is gamification. As a strategy, but we're super excited about it um. You know we, again want to be really careful that trails, aren't overused. So we're constantly reaching out to our public land partners, to say, if you see a trial getting overly, popular, even if it's residents. Let us know and we'll swap that trailhead. For a different one we really want to disperse, the visitation. So this new technology, is a great way to do that as well as. Create, really, cool, experiences. Another one we're doing is sculptures. So every, sculpture. Will be, on that sculpture, itinerary. And then we may create. Sculptures, that you need to see on certain, blocks. You know especially if a few stores, said, we're not getting the traffic we're kind of at the end of downtown we're not in the middle. Um, we'll create a little itinerary, around that get people out there people love to play games people are just inherently, competitive. And that'll be a way to drive some traffic to that end of town so. We're super excited about it it's just going to continue to grow over time and we think the community, is going to love it and the residents get to use it too, yeah, yeah that's it, yeah. There's places my husband's a grand junction native and, there's times when uh we do scavenger, hunts with our kids exactly and he's always the one that creates them because he knows all these hidden things that i.
We Should meet with him it's so fun, yeah. Um yeah. Lastly. As we wrap up um. I i just want to thank you for being here, and, um i'm really excited about, all the things that you're doing. Um we talked to a lot of non-profit, organizations. And you represent, every business. Uh in the city especially, but okay, in the whole region, right, uh if people want to know more they want to get in touch with you they've got ideas. Um i mean how do you how do you interact, with the general business public. We get a lot, of. Reciprocal. Conversation. From the three monthly, e-newsletters. That we send out so if someone hasn't signed up for those go to visit grandjunction.com. And at the bottom. There's communications. Just click on that and you could sign up for one of them or all three, one is marketing, another is stakeholder, where we share, what the team is achieving, and also. How the community. Can, partner, with us, to help whatever their mission. Or whatever they're trying to accomplish, is and then we also the third one is a pr, e news where we're sharing, stories we're pitching so the last one we sent out was. Fall and even holiday. If they have ideas, they can pitch those to us and then we pitch those to press and colorado, tourism, office and we, again a lot of people reply to those. E-news, and i pass them on to the team and then they. Take ownership of them and work with the business. Obviously, our website's, a great place, for information. Emailing, me directly, is always. Wonderful, i love hearing from people my email is elizabeth. F as in fogarty. Gjcity.org. Okay. And then our offices. Are, open the visitor center is temporarily, closed but our team. Is at the office. Monday through friday eight to five. Ish. Um and we're always available, so residents will come up to the door we see them and, they might need visitor guides they might want to drop off some information. So we're. Very. Easily, accessible, either, in person or through. Email, or communication, pieces wonderful. Elizabeth, fogerty we want to thank you for joining us today, it's been a pleasure to talk to you and learn more about what's going on at visit grand junction and we, appreciate, all of your hard work and, stay healthy stay safe, and uh, we'll hope to talk to you again sometime soon thank you for having me i really appreciate it it's fun to talk about what the team's accomplishing, they deserve a ton of credit yes we just want to give them a shout out a lot of teamwork. This is not, we know you're not just doing all this single-handedly. So that's a good job to everyone at visit grand junction, yeah thank you thanks for being here, all right. Thanks for listening, this is christy reese signing out from the full circle, podcast.