Reimagine Destinations Success Story: Steamboat Springs Chamber


The Steamboat Springs Chamber was approved to participate in the Reimagine Destinations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office in July 2022. Program objectives included: 

  • convene local tourism stakeholders to align on the future of tourism
  • identify strategies that build local awareness of the value of tourism
  • advance strategies that broaden the scope of local tourism investments and enhance the quality of life of residents

Located in The Great West travel region, the City of Steamboat Springs is an established mountain resort community that has transitioned from its deep roots in agriculture and ranching into a vibrant, multi-dimensional city. Home to the Steamboat Springs Ski and Resort Corporation, the community is a desired winter destination that also serves as a gateway to the Continental Divide and a wealth of seasonal outdoor recreation opportunities. 

The Steamboat Springs Chamber (SSC) is the destination organization responsible for developing and managing tourism on behalf of the City of Steamboat Springs. SSC received a $500,000 annual budget for 2023 that was authorized by the Steamboat Springs City Council and allocated from general sales tax collections. Additionally, a 1% lodging tax provides funding for trail building, a 2% Local Marketing District tax provides funding for the Steamboat Springs airline program to cover minimum revenue guarantees for local fights, and a 9% excise tax on short-term rentals provides funding for affordable and attainable housing projects.

SSC was paired with David Holder and Tina Valdecanas, principals at Clarity of Place, a destination consulting firm with experience in destination marketing, organizational efficiency, and tourism development, to develop a destination assessment, facilitate a full-day community visioning and action planning workshop, and provide 100 hours of consulting to SSC.

SSC also convened a core team of tourism stakeholders to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. Two core team meetings were held 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 

SSC supported the development of a destination assessment consisting of background research, a visitor profile study, 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.

SSC convened its core team members on December 8, 2022 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center for a half-day workshop to align on priority actions for fostering long-term industry resilience. Commonly expressed community values included natural beauty, a culture of creativity, and a can-do attitude, a friendly small-town community, and community service

Workshop participants engaged in an initial group activity to align on the community values they associate with being a resident of Steamboat Springs and what values they want to instill in their visitors.

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:

  • champion the value of tourism
  • encourage responsible and respectful use
  • develop and enhance visitor experience
  • promote local businesses and experiences

CRAFT Mentor Results

Following the workshop, 100 hours of consulting were provided to conduct the activities listed below.

Project objectives included:

  • conduct research to better understand resident sentiment and tourism stakeholder perspectives about the tourism industry
  • compile information that informs different ways the Steamboat Springs Chamber and the Steamboat Springs tourism industry contribute to community quality of life
  • develop key messages that build awareness of the Steamboat Springs Chamber’s role within the community
  • establish a foundational understanding for how the Steamboat Springs Chamber can advance destination stewardship strategies

The Steamboat Springs Chamber achieved the following results through this Reimagine Destinations Mentor project:

  • strategic guidance that defines the foundational elements of destination stewardship for Steamboat Springs and provides insights into different perspectives on tourism-related issues between residents, stakeholders, and visitors 
  • “life without tourism” data that presents a vision of Steamboat Springs without a robust tourism industry, and the resulting impacts to community quality of life
  • inventory of timely research that the Steamboat Springs Chamber can utilize to develop messages that build awareness of destination stewardship activities with a variety of audiences
CRAFT Recovery assistance for Tourism

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.