The Moffat County Tourism Association will be doing something this fall it has never done before, director Marilynn Hill said.
MCTA is currently requesting proposals from companies to study Moffat County’s tourism assets and how they can be marketed best, she said.
The evaluation of the county and surrounding region will be completed at the beginning of next year, and is the first phase of MCTA’s new marketing plan.
“You can have an idea of why people come to see you, but until you have a good inventory of that … it won’t affect the traveling public in the right way,” she said.
MCTA has allocated up to $20,000 to spend on the county evaluation, but may spend less depending on how the bids from various companies come in, she said.
“People need to understand that the money that you spend up front for research is so important because it dictates how you spend your money later,” she said. “If you make a mistake in the beginning on not doing the proper research, you will throw 10 times that amount of money out the window.”
Hill said taking time to have the evaluation completed, which will focus on market size, regional competitive analysis, potential collaborating entities and the regional economic climate, will be a long-term marketing investment.
“We can’t market without knowing who and what we are marketing to,” she said.
The study is also critical to completing the other two phases of the MCTA marketing plan, Hill said.
“We have to have this part finished before we can move on to those others,” she said.
Hill said bidding for the evaluation services closes Sept. 13, and she hopes to have the company begin work by the second week of October.
Hill said the first area the company will study is the market size and growth rate in the area to determine how many tourists would come to Moffat County and where from.
“After we look through this information, do we (market) back east?” she said. “Do we market to Texas, or where do we go to get the most bang for our buck?”
The competitive analysis portion of the evaluation is a seasonal model to study other regional events, how other organizations use outdoor resources, and what the strengths and weaknesses are, Hill said.
“It will focus on what is going on at a regional level and how we can piggyback on some of those things,” Hill said. “How do we create things in our own community that will piggyback on top of each other?”
The company will also evaluate potential regional collaborators that could be utilized to increase tourism in the area.
“How do you as an organization, and talking with the other organizations in your community, say, ‘You know what, you have a really good thing going on here, but I think it would grow better and be a better event if we worked together,’” she said.
Hill is also hoping the company will help paint a clearer picture of the local economic climate and the habits of leisure travelers coming to Moffat County.
“(It is) so you understand where you are marketing to and what your demographics are and how far you can reach out to people that would actually come to Moffat County to experience something,” she said.
The marketing evaluation, Hill said, will help to not “waste” money put toward advertising or other forms of marketing.
“We are fully aware of the view of MCTA in the community that we haven’t been accountable … in the past,” she said. “So, this gives us the ability to not waste dollars and to have full accountability.”