2020 Study of Outdoor Recreation & Business Impacts
During the pandemic, visitor patterns changed, and the Lake County Tourism Panel is looking at the effects. In late 2020, the Lake County Tourism Panel used 50 hours of no-cost mentoring from the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) and its Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) program to learn of visitor impacts.
The CTO CRAFT mentor led two community outreach efforts in Lake County–a focus group of local land management stakeholders and an online survey of tourism-related businesses. These efforts captured 2020 impacts on public lands and the visitor traffic to local businesses and attractions.
Resources You Can Use
- See the Outdoor Rec Resources page for visitor messaging you can use: Backcountry Winter Safety article from the Lake County Tourism Panel, plus outdoor safety resources from the Colorado Tourism Office, Leave No Trace, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Stay the Trail, and U.S. Forest Service.
- See the CRAFT Recovery Mentor Summary Report for project findings and recommendations.
Next Steps: Next steps include convening stakeholders to discuss mid-winter impacts and project findings. The Tourism Panel will use project learnings to develop messaging to guide ongoing visitor behavior. Long-term considerations include using outdoor rec messaging with bilingual translations, discussing a trail ambassador program, and presenting ways for visitors to contribute to projects that enhance local public lands.
Use the Community Brand Book
Process: The Panel updated the branding in the summer of 2020, based on community feedback. The Panel held two community visioning sessions in late June to hear what local business owners and residents felt were the most compelling reasons to visit Lake County. The Panel presented branding findings and recommendations to interested community members in early August via Zoom.
All local businesses are welcome to use this branding to promote their own businesses. Lake County Tourism Panel’s marketing contractors Donna Childress and Dave Santucci, who facilitated a similar discussion in 2017, facilitated the series of meetings and created the branding book.
Questions? Please email us!
Ongoing: Get Free PR to Promote Your Business
The Lake County Tourism Panel works closely with the Colorado Tourism Office, and through its own contractors, to promote local tourist-related businesses. Please share any visitor-focused news with us! Let us know about new business offerings, openings and closings, trends you are seeing, etc.
We can help you reach a large audience. In July 2020, 23,000 users visited LeadvilleTwinLakes.com. News articles in regional and national outlets can reach up to 500,000 people. Share your news with us so that you can get publicity for free! Please email VisitLeadville@gmail.com.
Find Visitor Data from Past Guest Survey
Past Guest Survey research released in May 2020 presents data from approximately 1,000 past visitors to Leadville and Twin Lakes. It shares survey respondents’ demographics, when they visit, which activities they do, where they stay, how they feel about Leadville and Lake County, and more. You may use it to shape your own marketing.
- In-state visitors are Leadville and Twin Lakes’ primary market.
- Visitation is highest June through September, peaking in July.
- The main way that people heard about Leadville and Twin Lakes was through Word of Mouth.
- A majority of visitors stayed more than two nights.
- Hiking, sightseeing, history-related activities, scenic drives, shopping, and dining were the most popular activities.
- Age distributions were nearly even in these categories: 35-44, 45-54, 55-64.
- Nearly half of visitors report their education level as having earned a four-year degree, or higher.
- Visitors report an unusually high degree of satisfaction and loyalty, with 81% saying they “definitely will return” and 64% opting in to the LCTP monthly enewsletter.
- Affordability, one of Leadville and Twin Lakes’ key Unique Selling Positions (USPs) continues to be a consideration, with 47% of respondents reporting that it was “somewhat important” to “important.”
See the Lake County Tourism Restart and Recovery Plan
In May 2020, the Restart and Recovery Plan for Lake County created a road map to market the community to visitors in the wake of COVID-19. The plan was based on nationwide and Colorado-focused travel research and best practices. We continue to promote safe, responsible travel within Lake County Public Health Agency guidelines. You may use this plan as guidance to create your own marketing messages and plan.
What Is the Lake County Tourism Panel?
The Lake County Tourism Panel is an all-volunteer board created by law to administer the 1.9% lodging tax that Lake County collects. The lodging tax is collected by full-time lodging properties and short-term home rentals.
What Does the Panel Do?
The panel markets Leadville and Twin Lakes to outside visitors. Work includes the following:
- Maintaining and promoting LeadvilleTwinLakes.com.
- Promoting the area through the @VisitLeadville social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Public relations to promote the area to visitors in Colorado, nationally, and internationally. This work includes pitching stories, responding to media requests, hosting journalists in town, both directly and in close collaboration with the Colorado Tourism Office and their contacts.
- Research of visitor trends and demographics.
- Advertising through Colorado.com and the Official State Vacation Guide created by the Colorado Tourism Office.
- Collaborating with Leadville and Lake County organizations and agencies on projects that promote tourism, including the current Restart and Recovery Plan, gateway signage, downtown banners, and the We Love Leadville sign. We also partnered to write the bid to bring the 2020 Dion Snowshoes U.S. National Snowshoe Championships to town and promoted this national event.
Who Is On the Panel?
The Lake County Tourism Panel includes these volunteers:
- Becky Edwards, Chair
- Colleen Schweigert, Treasurer
- Rich Naprstek, Secretary
- Sara Edwards, Member
- Carrie Malozzi, Member
- Elsa Tharp, Member
- Andy Wald, Member
The panel’s work is carried out by contractors:
- Childress Communications, Donna Childress and Francine Webber
- Mission2Market, Dave Santucci and Mary Howard Glover
When Does the Panel Meet?
The Lake County Tourism Panel meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Meetings are open to the public. While usually they are held at Colorado Mountain College, they have been on Zoom in recent months to comply with COVID-19 health guidelines. To receive information on the location of the next meeting, please email VisitLeadville@gmail.com.
Please contact us at VisitLeadville@gmail.com.