- celebrate the results of the Restart Destinations Program and foster collaboration between Hinsdale County tourism stakeholders
- build awareness of winter tourism opportunities in Hinsdale County
- identify opportunities to support local businesses to remain open and enhance visitor experience during the winter months
Located in the Mountains and Mesas travel region, Lake City and unincorporated Hinsdale County is a tourism-dependent destination that experiences a robust summer tourism season, but sees a significant decline in visitation during the winter months. The area boasts a variety of winter outdoor recreation opportunities and stunning winter scenery, yet many businesses do not offer consistent operating hours during the winter. This has created a challenge to building winter tourism.
Lake City Hinsdale County Marketing Committee (LCHCMC) is funded through the Hinsdale County lodging tax and consists of seven members: Town of Lake City Trustee, Hinsdale County Commissioner, Lake City and Hinsdale County Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Lake City and Hinsdale County Lodging Tax Board Member, Lake City DIRT Board Member, and an at-large member. The role of LCHCMC is to develop and implement a comprehensive tourism marketing strategy for Lake City and Hinsdale County, and oversee the work of the Marketing Manager.
LCHCMC was paired with Mimi Mather, President of Coyote Clan, a planning and design firm with experience in destination marketing, tourism product development, and creative communications, to develop a destination assessment, facilitate a full-day community visioning and action planning workshop, and provide 100 hours of consulting to LCHCMC.
LCHCMC also convened a core team of local tourism stakeholders to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. LCHCMC hosted two core team meetings to identify priority barriers and opportunities for advancing tourism, discuss the findings from the destination assessment, and guide workshop design.
Destination Assessment and Workshop Results
LCHCMC supported the development of a destination assessment consisting of background research, a visitor profile study, sales and lodging tax review, a tourism stakeholder survey, and input from the core team. The findings from the assessment were compiled into a report that informed the design of the full-day workshop.
LCHCMC convened 25 tourism stakeholders on October 27, 2022 for a community visioning and action planning workshop to review the destination assessment and align on priority actions for fostering long-term industry resilience. Workshop participants represented a wide range of tourism stakeholders, such as public officials, conservation and trails organizations, the Lake City Reporter, Hinsdale County Historical Society, accommodations, restaurants, and retail.
Workshop participants engaged in small group activities to align on the future changes they would like to see implemented that benefit the tourism industry in Lake City and Hinsdale County. Participants identified tactics to assist local businesses and ensure that visitor needs are met during the winter months. They also developed content for winter tourism promotions and developed winter travel itineraries.
As a result of the workshop discussions, participants aligned on key priorities and action items to inform the development of an action plan. Key priorities include:
- grow winter tourism sustainably
- support local businesses to meet winter visitors’ needs
- enrich the winter experience
- improve communications to winter visitors
CRAFT Mentor Results
Following the workshop, 100 hours of consulting were provided to conduct the activities listed below. The purpose of this CRAFT Mentor Project was to build awareness of winter tourism opportunities in Lake City and Hinsdale County through increased promotion of visitor experiences, and to support more local businesses in remaining open during the winter months.
Project objectives included:
- develop marketing and promotional content for LCHCMC to promote winter tourism opportunities
- conduct outreach to media and winter outdoor recreation partners to build awareness of Lake City’s experiences and attractions
- convene local business owners to better understand their challenges to operating in the winter, and explore opportunities to expand winter operations and fill operational gaps
The Lake City/Hinsdale County Marketing Committee achieved the following results through the Reimagine Destinations Mentor project:
- winter tourism campaign content targeting visitation during Winter Whiteout events
- winter tourism campaign messaging and graphics that drive demand to local businesses
- media and winter outdoor recreation partners outreach promoting winter experiences and upcoming events
- strategies and tactics to increase LCHCMC’s newsletter distribution list
- stakeholder engagement to evaluate Winter 2022-2023 successes and learning opportunities
“I was fortunate enough to partner with the CTO and participate in the Reimagine Destinations program, which has been invaluable to our winter tourism efforts. The resources and insights provided by the CTO allowed us to enhance our offerings, create collaboration within the community, and grow our winter tourism economy. ”
-Kate Hopson, Lake City/Hinsdale County Marketing Committee
About Reimagine Destinations Program
The Reimagine Destinations Program supports Colorado tourism destinations to foster long-term industry resilience. Awarded destinations receive a destination assessment, a full-day workshop, 100 hours of consulting, and a $20,000 creative asset production shoot from the Colorado Tourism Office. This program was made possible by a CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.