Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tourism conference - Wednesday update

Lisa Amend, communications manager for Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak Convention and Visitors Bureau, is attending this week's Governor's 2007 Colorado Tourism Conference, which started Wednesday. Here's what she had to say via an e-mail about Day One:

"Here we are at the 2007 Governor's Conference in Grand Junction. The Experience Colorado Springs team rose bright and early at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and were on the road by 5:45. It was a beautiful drive and fall colors are in full splendor out here!

The opening luncheon was well-attended by representatives from all over the state. There is even someone here from the Alligator Farm. He's carrying around a darling little baby tortise who has been a big hit with everyone so far.

Our speaker Wednesday was Dennis Snow, who used to work for the Walt Disney World Co. He was very dynamic and passed on lots of great tips about how to make a customer's experience unforgettable. He had some great methodology, like asking the crowd what they remember about the Disney World theme park. It was interesting to me that nobody who spoke up mentioned any of the rides. Instead, they said things like "The park was so clean!" or "Everyone is so friendly there!" Snow then mentioned that for the Tower of Terror ride alone, Disney spent over $100 million dollars... but it means nothing if the customer does not have a good experience in the park. He advised us all to take the time to experience a visit to our area through the lens of the customer (visitor) and to ensure that we were not doing things for our own convenience, but for theirs. He also condones empowering staff since "The best ideas can come from within. They can cost nothing and change everything!" He was a wonderful speaker.

The ECS team separated for the various breakout sessions Wednesday afternoon. I attended "The Trails of Colorado" since I've been working with Dan Cleveland from the Trails and Open Space Coalition to integrate trail maps into our new website when it launches next year. I'm also part of the Watershed Access Advisory Group (through Springs Utilities) to help drive the public process to form a policy that will accommodate recreational use of trails on the south slope of Pikes Peak while protecting the water supply. So Wednesday's trails session gave me some good background information on what types of visitors other trail systems are attracting and how to incorporate these visitors into our marketing plan."

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