COLORADO FLIGHTS ALLIANCE REPORTS RECORD NUMBER FOR PASSENGERS TO TELLURIDE, WINTER 2014-2015
By Heather Sackett, Telluride Daily Planet
Wednesday’s Telluride Tourism Board annual meeting covered wide-ranging topics, from record sales tax and visitor numbers to the importance of restoring commercial air service at the Telluride Airport and even a lesson on psychology and branding.
According to the TTB’s 2014 annual report, 2014-15 was a record winter for the number of passengers on Colorado Flights Alliance flights into the Montrose Regional Airport. Passenger traffic was up for the season on all flights, providing service for 40,000 travelers and about 32,000 winter visitors to Telluride. That translates to an estimated $58 million in spending and $173 million in overall economic impact, according to the report.
“We are just really excited about what we’ve been able to put on the books over the last year,” said CFA Chief Operating Officer Matt Skinner.
And there’s more good news for the upcoming ski season, Skinner said. CFA has confirmed a daily and twice Saturday American Airlines flight from Dallas to Montrose for the 2015-16 winter season. There will also be flights five days a week from Phoenix with seven days a week over the Christmas holiday as well as flights from Chicago and L.A. Skinner said 71 percent of visitors consider a direct flight very important for coming here.
“Non-stop service results in the highest traffic stimulation and maximizes visitors,” Skinner said.
As for restoring commercial flights to the 9,070-foot-high Telluride Regional Airport, Skinner said CFA and its partners are exploring every option possible and are making headway on upgrading to a category 3 approach, which would allow larger aircraft to land at TEX.
“We are still working very hard on TEX,” Skinner said. “It’s a priority to get some kind of scheduled service in there.”
From air service, the presentation turned to record occupancy rates, which have continued to rise each year for the last several years.
“If we finish this year how we are pacing, this will be the fifth consecutive record year,” said TTB CEO Michael Martelon. “This year is going to be more important than last year. We don’t have ‘The Hateful Eight.’”
Martelon then gave a preview of the TTB’s upcoming marketing and branding strategies, saying that the “Made In Telluride” logo will be phased out. It will be replaced by marketing efforts that focus on four of Telluride’s natural strengths, which Martelon called “pillars” on which the organization will hang its hat: authenticity, experiences, community and mountains.
“When we can build our brand around truth, it’s a powerful thing,” he said.
Giving a short lesson on psychology, Martelon said the new marketing approach will be based on Swiss psychologist and father of analytical psychology Carl Jung’s 12 archetypes. The Explorer, who represents the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world, is a core Telluride archetype.
“We need to be the enabler of the journey,” Martelon said.
Another core Telluride archetype is the opposite of The Explorer — The Innocent. This target archetype wants to be happy and their faith and optimism are main qualities.
“We need to fuel their optimism and welcome them into our community,” Martelon said.
Martelon said the TTB hasn’t yet figured out a new tagline or how the new research about archetypes will be molded into a marketing campaign.
The meeting closed with a Q&A session, moderated by Martelon, with Telluride Mayor Stu Fraser and Mountain Village Mayor Dan Jansen. The mayors fielded questions on issues like workforce housing, sales tax, broadband and new construction projects. Fraser paid tourism its due, acknowledging it is what fuels local industries and makes the towns and local governments run.
“Tourism is what pays the bills right now and cleans the gutters and makes water treatment plants function,” Fraser said.
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