Hikers take a break on the McCullough Gulch Trail in Breckenridge. At its annual update in 2021, the Breckenridge Tourism Office spoke about encouraging visitors to respect local trail etiquette.
Photo by Aaron Dodds / Breckenridge Tourism Office

At its annual meeting on Thursday June 17, the Breckenridge Tourism Office reflected on how its objectives and structure have changed over the past year, while also announcing the latest winners of the One Breckenridge Service Champion Award.

The President of the Tourism Office Lucy Kay started publishing the Office’s 2020 Annual Report, which can be viewed at OneBreckenridge.com. The report describes the events and activities of the tourist office in the run-up to and during the COVID-19 pandemic and their impact on the office.

“We’re so proud of how our community has come together and really worked shoulder to shoulder to navigate our way for the past 18 months, community,” said Kay.

Kay also said that despite the pandemic, tourism agency web visits increased 21%, the number of users increased by 15%, and recommendations from JackRabbit – a tourism-focused software company – increased by 26%.

Richard Sosville, chairman of the board, outlined the office’s finances for the year, which looked drastically different due to the pandemic.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the city’s tourism office reimbursed $ 477,000 and at the end of 2020 an additional $ 300,000 that the city will use for local aid programs. That extra money came from the amount of programs canceled all year long because of the pandemic, Sosville said.

Sosville said the tourism bureau also reimbursed Breckenridge Ski Resort its typical $ 150,000 contribution because of the cancellation of so many summer programs over the past year.

Despite the troubles the pandemic caused for the tourism office, Sosville said it managed the funds efficiently and received a “perfectly clean audit” for the year.

The office reduced its budget request from the City of Breckenridge for that year by approximately $ 400,000. Sosville said he also expects to make up for lost revenue due to the lack of events and sponsorship this year.

He added that the office always works closely with the city to ensure programs are in line with the city’s goals.

“As the board of directors, we are very proud of the work the team has done to stay one step ahead of these ever-changing priorities over the course of the year and protocols in 2020,” said Sosville.

Sosville added that the board of directors is saying goodbye to Cary Cooper, who has been a board member for five years. Wendy Wolfe, who previously served on the board, will return to take Cooper’s seat.

Community Affairs Director and Destination Management Tessa Breder then spoke about educating potential guests about how to be a good steward of the community.

Breder is working to create educational resources that will provide tourists with the essential information they need for a successful visit to the city. She said she works with the city’s Open Space & Trails department to make sure that the correct hiking trails are recommended to visitors, and they change this list over time when certain attractions become crowded.

She also spoke about various programs and resources the tourist office offers to locals who work in guest services to ensure they provide accurate and useful information to visitors.

“We really want to support the frontline staff in their mission of providing great information to guests and making their job easier by providing that information to them,” said Breder.

Brett Howard, Chief Marketing Officer, discussed some of the ways the tourism bureau has changed its marketing strategies and how they will continue to change as technology and privacy rights evolve on the Internet.

Howard said the tourism office primarily markets visitors from other states, so-called target guests, who come to visit for long periods of time. Those who are marketed fall into one of four demographic categories for the office that span multiple age groups. The Howards marketing team also created special digital campaigns showcasing Breckenridge as a “everyone is welcome” city, with the aim of also promoting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

Howard then brought up the new B Like Breckenridge Campaign, which has set itself the goal of creating a roof for all initiatives of the tourist office.

“The B Like Breckenridge Initiative is a really thoughtful umbrella promoting good governance, highlighting the city’s sustainable, community and environmental efforts, and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in our community,” wrote Tourism Bureau spokeswoman Austyn Dineenen in an email.

Howard also spoke about his department’s use of See Source, a data marketing tool that gathers digital information about city visitors. This isn’t the first resource of its kind the office is using, and Howard said the technology is advancing rapidly.

“We remain very flexible, and when the programs don’t work or work the way we see fit, we dodge them,” said Howard.