Colorado Tourism Office
The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) is a legislatively created division within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). Responsibilities for policy and budgetary development of the CTO are within the purview of the Colorado Tourism Office Board of Directors (CTOB), made up of members from the tourism industry and the state legislature.
Marketing & Advertising
The CTO has developed a targeted and strategic national and regional domestic advertising campaign, marketing to travelers through broadcast, print and online media. The purpose of the campaign is to inspire potential visitors to take a vacation in Colorado. The CTO has implemented a four-season, integrated marketing message. Every year, a marketing plan is developed with outlined media objectives, strategies and target audiences.
The CTO’s International Program markets the state to international visitors through trade, consumer and media relations. The program’s goal is to attract a steady increase of international visitors to Colorado to experience the state’s year-round travel product. The CTO currently has international marketing representatives in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Mexico and Canada to market travel and tourism.
Marketing Grant Program
The CTO manages a Marketing Grant Program that provides assistance to Colorado’s tourism industry with their promotional efforts. Destinations throughout the state are eligible for these grant dollars, as well as statewide associations, organizations and other nonprofit entities that engage in promoting travel to their area. These grants are competitive and are awarded annually.
Public Relations Program
The PR campaign generates positive publicity for Colorado as a premiere, four-season travel destination with diverse attractions and experiences.
Pro-active media relations tactics, including an integrated approach that works collaboratively with the advertising campaign is executed.
Media and international tour operator familiarization trips are hosted in the state.
The campaigns target international, national, regional and in-state media to gain exposure for Colorado’s travel industry. Media events and targeted consumer travel shows provide participation opportunities for the tourism industry.
Official Colorado Communications & Travel Resources
The Official State Vacation Guide (OSVG) provides valuable travel information to inspire and help tourists plan their trips to Colorado. COLORADO.com further promotes the Colorado brand and provides comprehensive tourist information on what to see and do year-round while in the state. The website provides planning tools, along with added inspiration to book a Colorado vacation. The CTO and the Colorado Department of Transportation collaborate to produce the official state map – the map has proven to be one of the most used travel-planning tools the CTO creates. Another marketing initiative is the eCRM program that distributes electronic consumer newsletters featuring exciting Colorado destinations and activities to an opt-in email address database.
An integral part of the Colorado Tourism Office promotional efforts is the operation of a network of tourist information centers or “Welcome Centers.” Currently, there are 10 facilities, strategically located at high-volume entry points into the state and in Silverthorne west of Denver. The Welcome Centers greet approximately one million visitors a year and rely upon nearly 500 Colorado citizens who volunteer their time to assist travelers stopping at the centers.
CTO Co-op Marketing Program
The co-op marketing program leverages state marketing dollars so that the tourism industry’s marketing dollars can go farther through greatly discounted rates.
The co-op program provides:
- Discounted broadcast, print and online media programs
- Diverse media offerings, reaching multiple target audiences
- Cost-efficient pricing to meet industry budgets
- Most programs are supported by editorial and CTO ads
Heritage Tourism Program
In partnership with the Colorado Historical Society, the CTO developed the Heritage Tourism Program to promote the state’s rich cultural heritage, including providing grants to develop and market heritage products around the state, enhanced materials online and a concentrated marketing effort. The CTO, State Historical Fund and Colorado Department of Transportation produced a Scenic and Historic Byways Program featuring the State’s 25 scenic drives. The CTO promotes strategy, research, marketing, and manages grant opportunities from the State Historical Fund.
By partnering with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the CTO has initiated an agritourism program that will showcase Colorado’s agriculture roots and current opportunities for visitors to experience agriculture in the state. The initial steps of the program have included a review by both the Colorado Department of Agriculture and the CTO of previous efforts including PR, research, web content and advertising.
Industry Relations & Outreach
The CTO has an Industry Outreach Program designed to communicate with Colorado’s tourism industry to maximize the support needed to grow tourism businesses, attractions and destinations. A large portion of the CTO industry relations involves communicating with chambers, convention and visitors bureaus and tourism-related businesses throughout the state and disbursing leads and opportunities related to media and travel trade. Relevant travel and tourism research, advertising opportunities, marketing plans and other tourism programs are shared with the industry and featured in Colorado.com's Industry Partners section, which is dedicated to industry members.
The annual Governor’s Tourism Conference brings industry members together to discuss the challenges and opportunities for one of Colorado’s most important economic sectors. This event provides a forum for Colorado businesses, destinations and attractions to share information on the state of the industry and explore ways to strengthen combined efforts. Each year, this event is held in different locations throughout Colorado.
The CTO commissions research projects every year to measure the success of its promotional efforts and to identify the impact of tourism on the state’s economy. This research provides valuable information to the CTO by identifying visitor profiles to use in the marketing campaign planning process and measuring the return on investment of the CTO’s advertising campaign. Other research includes identifying the economic impact of tourism on Colorado.