CTO Partner Resource Guide

The Colorado Tourism Office Partner Resource Guide helps you fully leverage the resources of the Colorado Tourism Office and maximize your exposure to visitors. By working together, we can build the strength of our industry and attract travelers who share our values and will help our state thrive.

The guide is organized in five phases:

  1. Get Started: Start your involvement with the Colorado Tourism Office with these opportunities.
  2. Reach Higher: Dive deeper into our programs and opportunities, start getting funding, and diversify your marketing strategies.
  3. Think Bigger: Take your presence to a national level and learn about leadership opportunities. 
  4. See Further: Start your international presence and learn lead-growth strategies. 
  5. Maximize: Establish and maximize your international growth opportunities.

Phase 1: Get Started

Check out oedit.colorado.gov/tourism

At oedit.colorado.gov/tourism, find the Colorado Tourism Office's key initiatives, board and team member information, research and report statistics, industry toolkits and program information. This is your first stop for information about our programs, upcoming events and meetings, and grants.

Travel resources

Colorado is promoted to travelers through domestic and international marketing, national public relations outreach, social media, the Explore Colorado Official Travel Guide, and Colorado.com—one of the most visited state tourism websites in the country. The Colorado Tourism Office provides traveler services at Colorado Welcome Centers and through 1-800-COLORADO. 

Sign up for industry newsletters and communications

Stay up-to-date on our news, events, initiatives and ways to get involved through our weekly Tourism Tuesday email newsletter. The Colorado Tourism Office also produces a monthly newsletter, The Hot Sheet, to help partners keep current on public relations activities such as media opportunities, recent media highlights, requests for information and more.

Follow the Colorado Tourism Office on LinkedIn

Follow our industry Linkedin page to stay up to the minute on happenings and insights about Colorado tourism.   

Contact the Colorado Tourism Office

Are you a new business, attraction, or destination management organization representative? Introduce yourself and connect to our Communications Manager, Marketing Manager & Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships and Education at partner.inquiries@colorado.com. One of these representatives can answer questions and facilitate connections with relevant resources.

Reach out to your local chamber, CVB, or DMO

Familiarizing yourself with your local chamber, convention, and visitors bureau (CVB) or destination marketing organization (DMO) will help you gain additional insight into how they support and promote travel in your area and how you can work with them. Check out our full list of partners

Create free business or event listings on Colorado.com

Any tourism-related business or organization in Colorado can sign up for free listings on Colorado.com. To submit a listing for a business, special offer or event, you must first create an account. Please reference the business listing rules page for guidelines and listing specifications. 

Attend the annual Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference

The annual Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference, presented by the Colorado Tourism Office, is the premier education and networking event for members of the Colorado travel industry. It offers an ideal environment for tourism experts and industry leaders to build upon past successes and discuss future directions. Scholarships are available for first-time attendees.

Distribute brochures at Colorado Welcome Centers

Our ten Colorado Welcome Centers greet more than 800,000 visitors annually. Colorado destinations and attractions may submit brochures and other collateral for distribution free of charge to Colorado visitors. All materials must comply with Colorado Tourism Office guidelines.

Join the Tourism Industry Association of Colorado and the Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Organizations

Tourism Industry Association of Colorado (TIAC) is a non-profit advocacy association that shares a unified voice for tourism-related organizations and associations. TIAC members include associations representing restaurants, lodging, dude ranches, bureaus, the gaming industry, the ski industry, outdoor and cultural attractions, river outfitters and campgrounds. 

Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (CADMO) is a nonprofit organized to enhance and support the destination marketing organization industry in Colorado. Its membership includes about 40+destination management organizations (DMOs).

We rely on these associations and organizations to represent thousands of businesses across the state and advocate for a vibrant tourism industry. 

Email CADMO Chair Bruce Dalton to learn more. 

Become a Colorado Concierge

The Colorado Concierge program is a free resource for all frontline workers to help them become Colorado experts and develop their ability to deliver Colorado-style hospitality. The ultimate goal is to build a statewide community of visitor-friendly ambassadors who can answer the question "What's there to do around here?" People who can answer this question will be able to create better experiences for travelers, point them to lesser-known destinations, and coach them on how to reduce their impact on Colorado’s resources and protect others from harm. Explore the free educational resource here.

CRAFT Learning Labs provide Colorado tourism professionals with access to free educational content that supports continued learning opportunities related to the tourism industry. Learning labs are available on topics such as adventure tourism, sustainable tourism, and tourism marketing.

Tourism Subject Matter Experts provide Colorado tourism industry partners with access to complementary one-hour consultations on a variety of topics that include champion the value of tourism, outdoor recreation strategy, and International Dark Sky Place certification.

Connect with the CTO Destination Development team

Our Destination Development team supports Colorado tourism industry partners in the development and promotion of visitor experiences that align with their competitive advantage as a destination and help protect their unique sense of place. Various resources and opportunities are available throughout the year that they can connect you with depending on your current needs. Email the Senior Manager of Destination Development, Hilary Lewkowitz, to introduce yourself and start a conversation about current opportunities.

Apply for a Scholarship as a First-Time Attendee to Gov Con

The Colorado Tourism Office provides funding for individuals with a dedication to Colorado tourism to attend the Governor's Tourism Conference. The scholarship includes conference registration and reimbursement for lodging and travel (mileage) expenses.

Apply for the Student Sponsorship and the Professional Scholarship.

Conduct an audit

Conducting an audit that analyzes your marketing initiatives and creative is important because it gives insight into its effectiveness. It also allows you to determine where you should allocate your budget and maximize return on investment.

Set up social media channels for your business or office

Develop a social strategy that reaches your target audiences through the most effective and efficient social platforms. No strategy yet? This article can help guide your organization or business in creating a plan. Keep in mind if you’re not seasoned in social strategy or content development, consider pulling in expert resources or doing some additional reading on the topic. Also, be sure to follow Visit Colorado on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and Twitter, and use #VisitColorado in your social media outreach.

Phase 2: Reach Higher

Familiarize yourself with tourism data and research

The Colorado Tourism Office conducts annual research in partnership with industry-leading research firms. In the annual Dean Runyan Associates report, you can find the latest economic impact data for traveler spending, including county-by-county breakdowns for jobs, business earnings, and local and state tax generation. For a more detailed look, review Dean Runyan's Colorado county-specific dashboard. The Longwoods International annual report shares deep insight into the travelers who came to Colorado during the prior year. 

Utilize Colorado Tourism Office toolkits

Learn how to take part in Colorado Tourism Office initiatives or access free marketing tips, crisis communication guides, and more through industry toolkits. New toolkits are added periodically, so check back frequently. 

Apply to participate in Destination Development Programs

Destination Blueprint seeks to partner with up to 10 destination organizations around the state to increase alignment between local tourism stakeholders and completion of one or more priority tourism projects.

Destination Development Mentor Program seeks to match up to 15 destination organizations and industry association partners with experienced tourism consultants to provide expertise, resources, mentorship, and capacity building.

Colorado Dark Sky Mentor Certification Program partners with tourism destinations across the state that are interested in advancing strategies that help achieve International Dark Sky Place (IDSP) certification and enhance Colorado's visitor experience.

Join the Care for Colorado Coalition

Join forces with the Colorado Tourism Office and the Leave No Trace Center to share important messaging about preserving and protecting our state’s natural resources. By joining the Coalition, partners receive access to resources including the Care for Colorado Leave No Trace Principles, monthly messaging, graphics, and videos to share through marketing channels. For questions on the Care for Colorado Coalition please email careforcolorado@colorado.com.

Submit a nomination for the Governor's Awards for Outstanding Tourism Efforts

The Governor’s Awards for Outstanding Colorado Tourism Efforts honor individuals and organizations and recognizes excellence in the Colorado tourism industry. Awards are presented at the Colorado Governor's Tourism Conference each fall during an awards ceremony. Nominations open in May each year.

Participate in our marketing and social co-ops

Through our vendor relationships, the Colorado Tourism Office offers co-op marketing opportunities for paid media and social media. A co-op is a co-branded program that promotes your destination as well as the state of Colorado. Financial support is contributed by both parties, which amplifies your marketing dollars and reach. Learn more about the Paid Social Media Co-op and the Paid Media Co-op.

Apply for the Tourism Management Grant

The Colorado Tourism Office Tourism Management Grant provides funding for tourism-related projects that develop, enhance, or manage visitor experience in Colorado. Destination organizations and industry associations are eligible for these grant dollars.

Apply for the Meeting & Events Incentive

Use the Colorado Meeting and Events Incentive to book your next meeting or event in the state. The Meeting and Events Incentive provides pre-approved applicants with a 10% rebate up to $100,000 against the eligible hard costs of hosting meetings and events that take place between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2024. Learn more about the Meetings & Events Incentive.

Add the Colorado Tourism Office public relations team to your distribution lists

The Colorado Tourism Office public relations team proactively pitches stories about travel trends and news from across the state and appreciates industry partners sending unique story angles, press releases, and news on a regular basis. Email our communications team to get in touch today.

Share content with the Colorado Tourism Office for social media use

With a combined following of over a million users across its social channels, the Colorado Tourism Office can help spread your message to future visitors. Send photos, news stories, or articles to our social media team for consideration.

Utilize Colorado Tourism Office marketing and advertising opportunities

Advertise to a highly qualified group of Colorado travelers by sharing your message on Colorado Tourism Office-owned channels, including Colorado.com, Colorado e-newsletters, and in publications such as our Explore Colorado Official Travel Guide and Love, Colorado seasonal magazine.

Visit our Colorado.com Marketing Promotion and Tourism Print Marketing Promotion to learn more about some of these opportunities, or visit our media kit to see a comprehensive view of all of our advertising opportunities.  

Phase 3: Think Bigger

Get involved with national associations

By becoming a member of national travel associations, you will gain a greater knowledge of the tourism industry as a whole and will keep your business or community competitive. These associations actively monitor domestic and international industry trends as well as political issues to keep you informed. Consider these to start:

Attend domestic trade shows through Tour Colorado and Destination Colorado

Tour Colorado promotes group tours and packaged travel within and throughout Colorado by being the primary liaison between the suppliers of tour products and professional tour operators looking to purchase these products. To learn more about Tour Colorado, please contact Julianne Fredrick at tourcolorado@gmail.com.

Destination Colorado is a nonprofit organization designed to provide resources and information for meeting and event planners. Among the more than 130 members, you’ll discover the solutions to every planning challenge. To learn more about Destination Colorado, please Contact Kelly Layton at kelly@destinationcolorado.com.

Though both are membership organizations, each receives sponsorship funding from the Colorado Tourism Office and is charged with representing the entire state of Colorado. However, membership allows for participation in trade shows and other events.

Apply for the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey

The Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey is a one of a kind program aimed at professionals who are seeking to grow their tourism leadership skills. This tuition-based, year-long program, creates an opportunity to strengthen leadership skills not only for the benefit of the participants, but also for their employers and communities. For employers, it is a cost-effective means for developing, rewarding and retaining top talent. By equipping tourism leaders and emerging professionals with skills to inspire others, create change and overcome challenges, we are building a competitive edge for a key Colorado industry. Limited scholarships for tuition, travel reimbursement or child care stipends are available based on need. Applications for the program launch in mid-April each year.

Apply for Marketing Matching Grant

The Colorado Tourism Office Tourism Marketing Matching Grant helps support tourism marketing and  promotional campaigns . Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) throughout the state are eligible for these grant dollars, as well as statewide associations and other nonprofit tourism leadership organizations responsible for promoting tourism on behalf of a destination or tourism industry sector.

Host a media or public relations familiarization (FAM) tour

The Colorado Tourism Office public relations team pitches and hosts about 40-50 journalists each year to experience Colorado offerings firsthand. These journalists are usually on story assignments or have strong story prospects. While the Colorado Tourism Office typically covers transportation costs for these journalists, we rely heavily on industry partners to assist with itinerary planning, meals, lodging and activities. The reward is story coverage in top national publications. Learn more about Tourism Public Relations Promotion opportunities.

Content creation

Create engaging content for your brand by sponsoring articles and videos on Colorado.com. Learn more about Colorado.com Marketing Promotion opportunities.

Participate in a media reception

The Colorado Tourism Office hosts media receptions each year to gather industry partners and local journalists to discuss the state’s latest news and story angles. Each reception is attended by about 20 industry partners and over 30 Colorado journalists and is a great networking opportunity. Connect with our team today to attend our next reception by emailing media@colorado.com

Phase 4: See Further

Attend a national industry conference

Get exposure to national experts at a top industry conference. The U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) is the annual educational conference for state and local destinations. Destinations International represents hundreds of city and regional destinations across the US, and holds a multi-day annual educational conference.

While these conferences can be a financial investment, they provide valuable information and connections with your industry peers.

Grow your opt-in email list with the Welcome Leads program

Colorado.com visitors who request Explore Colorado Official Travel Guide or other marketing materials are directed to a confirmation page where they can elect to receive more information from your business or destination. Once they opt-in, your organization collects their email addresses for use in your own marketing efforts. Learn more about the Welcome Leads program.

Host an international familiarization tour (FAM)

One of the best and least expensive ways of being involved with international tourism is hosting international media and travel trade on a familiarization tour (FAM). Please contact our international team to learn more.

Translate your promotional materials into other languages

The Colorado Tourism Office's international representatives can translate your marketing pieces at a discounted rate. Please contact our internationalteam to learn more.

Build your lodging inventory for international travelers

Receptive tour operators are wholesalers of tourism products who create packages to market to tour operators worldwide. These operators play a major role in getting your destination into tour itineraries globally, which expands your reach and audience considerably.

Please contact our international team to learn more.

Consider US-based international trade shows

Attend a US-based international trade show. These include the Go West Summit, Connect Marketplace, or North American Journey’s Receptive Tour Operator Marketplace. Please contact our international team to learn more.

Get involved with Brand USA partnerships

We provide a variety of co-op opportunities through Brand USA (the USA's Destination Marketing Organization) for partners around the state. Learn more about the Brand USA Marketing Program.

Phase 5: Maximize

Get involved with international co-ops

We provide a variety of international co-op opportunities with major tour operators through our international representatives. Offerings change annually, please contact our international team to learn more.

Join the Colorado Tourism Office’s booth for an international trade show

The Colorado Tourism Office arranges for booths at major international trade shows and offers destination partner participation to create a unified presence for Colorado. Participation is limited.

Shows may include:

IPW, the USA’s largest international travel trade show, is hosted by the U.S. Travel Association. IPW takes place each year in May or June and brings together 1,300 international tour operators, 600 international journalists, and more than 3,000 U.S. suppliers to transact billions of dollars of business in a meeting format. The US location changes from year to year.