Restart Industry Associations Success Story: Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (NHA) was approved to participate in the Restart Industry Associations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) in September 2021.

The mission of the Sangre de Cristo NHA is to promote, preserve, protect, and interpret its profound historical, religious, environmental, geographic, geologic, cultural, and linguistic resources. These efforts contribute to the overall national story, engender a spirit of pride and self-reliance, and create a legacy in the Colorado counties of Alamosa, Conejos, and Costilla.

Sangre de Cristo NHA was paired with Kyle Blakely, a CRAFT Mentor with experience in tourism marketing, communications, and strategic planning, to deliver 75 hours of free consulting to conduct the activities listed below.

Sangre de Cristo NHA, Cache La Poudre River NHA, and South Park NHA are collectively planning a series of Heritage Weeks (one in each location) beginning in summer 2022 at Sangre de Cristo NHA and at the other two areas in 2023. One of the key elements of these Heritage Weeks will be a scavenger hunt.

The purpose of this project was to conduct research on organizations that had similar scavenger hunts, provide input on the branding for the NHA scavenger hunts, develop a marketing strategy for the events, and provide peer-to-peer tourism marketing training. 

Project objectives included: 

  • background research on NHAs that includes a review of previous marketing plans and creation of a summary of how other entities have advanced similar event initiatives
  • marketing strategy for Heritage Weeks including identification of target audiences and appropriate promotion platforms, branding guidance across the NHAs, and design of the scavenger hunts
  • six peer-to-peer training sessions on tourism marketing

Sangre de Cristo NHA achieved the following results with its Restart Industry Associations Mentor:

  • scavenger hunt marketing plan that includes a schedule for the 2022 event, and can be replicated by all three partners
  • branding for the Colorado Heritage Journeys partnership among the three NHAs
  • recommended marketing best practices, marketing support recommendations, and funding opportunities to improve future NHA events 
  • draft creative concepts for four elements of the marketing campaign
CRAFT Recovery assistance for Tourism

About Restart Industry Associations Program

The Restart Industry Associations Program supports Colorado tourism industry associations to drive faster recovery as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Awarded industry associations receive 75 hours of free consulting and $10,000 in direct marketing support from the Colorado Tourism Office. This program was made possible by a CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.