Breckenridge is attractive to destination visitors, but other places are stealing them
Many other states would love to have Colorado deny the existence of destination visitors. Perhaps that has contributed to Utah’s success over the past several years – it’s stolen those vacationers from Colorado. Though I currently work in the tourism promotion industry in Park City, Utah, I’ll shortly be moving to Breckenridge and I’ll be very interested in Breck’s ability to promote itself as a vacation destination.The tourism marketers there should be, and I’m certain they are, focusing on putting heads in beds.Once they are lodged in Breck, the destination visitor spends money on dining, skiing, shopping and any number of other activities in the county.The fact that the destination visitor spends more than the day visitor is a given in the resort industry and can be proven by countless marketing studies. Breckenridge and greater Summit County are uniquely beautiful destinations, with many competitive advantages that other resort towns would love to claim.Breck has a vibrant and friendly town presenting an authentic mountain experience. Other resorts submit a contrived impersonation of Breck, but they cannot duplicate the soul of a true mountain town.The county has four exceptional ski areas that for the most part are easy to ski consecutively with flexible passes that are not found in other areas – Park City, for example. Though this spreads the wealth throughout the individual resorts within the county, the destination visitor loves the variety. Breck, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain all offer a unique experience. Breck’s elevation, which often is seen as a negative, could also separate it from other resort towns. If you want to ski in the Colorado Rockies, you go to the top to find Breck. And as another Summit County publication says, “When in doubt, go higher.”Both visitors are important, but if Breckenridge fails to market itself to Chicago, New York, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, London, Mexico and Brazil among other markets, someone else will, and they are, today. That’s a lot of potential revenue going to competing resorts. In a scenario where Breck settles on being a playground for the Front Range daytripper and does nothing to attract the destination visitor, the business community suffers.You can debate the definition of destination visitors. How long do they stay? How much do they spend? How do they make their travel plans? Those are all legitimate issues to debate as a marketing plan is conceived. Undoubtedly, the destination visitor has changed with the changing times. That visitor has not disappeared. And if you don’t see them in Breck, they’re just someplace else – like Park City.
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