The Town of Lyons, in the Denver & Cities of the Rockies travel region, was awarded a Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) Recovery Mentor program by the Colorado Tourism Office in fall 2020 to advance recovery efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this CRAFT Recovery Mentor program was to identify timely winter assets and tourism experiences within Lyons and to create marketing collateral that inspires visitation throughout the winter and into the spring.
The delivery of this CRAFT Mentor project provided a framework to support the town of Lyons recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and establish itself as a more resilient, year-round tourism destination. Work performed included engagement with Town staff and Economic Development Commission.
CRAFT Recovery Mentor Program Results
The Colorado Tourism Office matched the Town of Lyons with Mimi Mather, a CRAFT Mentor with experience in destination management, visitor experience design and creative communications, to achieve the following recovery-related project outcomes:
- Development, distribution and analysis of a survey for Lyons’ businesses. Designed to engage local businesses, the survey solicited ideas for winter tourism in Lyons and feedback for how the Town of Lyons can draw more wintertime visitors and support the local economy. Additionally, the survey confirmed winter hours of operation and inquired how the businesses would like to be promoted. Survey results produced a list of tourism assets that provided a foundation for developing travel itineraries and promotional content.
- Compilation of timely winter activities, including outdoor recreation, retail, dining and lodging experiences to inspire visitation during COVID-19 and support local tourism industry recovery. Content was developed for each so the Town of Lyons can easily promote these experiences on its website and in other communications (e.g. social media, newsletters).
- Development of a toolkit for a themed winter marketing campaign titled “Get Some Lyons Love.” The toolkit includes campaign objectives, key messages, example content and graphics to support implementation by the Town of Lyons and its local partners. Additionally, the toolkit offers implementation strategies for getting the word out about Lyons’ winter offerings, attracting more visitation and supporting local businesses. Toolkit development also included content for “Show Some Love,” a related campaign focused on raising awareness of the town’s COVID-friendly winter experiences and enticing Front Rangers to make a convenient escape to Lyons for a break from the pandemic doldrums. Additionally, content was created to encourage visitors and residents to support Lyons’ local businesses.
- Development of Colo-Road trips to support promotion of Lyons in winter and spring of 2021 that include appropriate experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Itineraries focus on providing a break from the pandemic and big, healthy doses of outdoor fun and beautiful nature. The winter itinerary, titled “Winter Escape to Lyons,” was submitted to the Colorado Tourism Office and the recommendation is to hold on submitting the draft for the spring itinerary, titled "Springtime Adventuring in Lyons," until March when more information is available about the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the things I think is most helpful about this program is that for small communities like ours, with a small staff – this type of consulting and programming is invaluable. We have less resources than larger organizations, as we don’t have developed departments or hierarchy. - Kim Mitchell, Town of Lyons
About CRAFT Recovery Mentor
The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) developed the Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism (CRAFT) to support communities across the state integrate tourism into their economic development strategies and develop new visitor experiences aimed at attracting increased traveler spending.
The CRAFT Recovery Mentor program provides up to 50 hours of mentoring for Colorado tourism partners to advance one or more tourism strategies that bolsters their response to a recent crisis or natural disaster.