By: Pocky Marranzino, Co-CEO On Oct 1, 2018
Tourism Is in Our Blood
As a Colorado company for over 40 years, Karsh Hagan has been intrinsically connected to tourism, sharing the stories about everything (and every place!) we know and love about our amazing state with travelers from all over the country.
If this makes your mind drift off with thoughts of fluffy powder and world-class mountains, then you’re in good company. Karsh Hagan has represented Loveland Ski Area – we were there at the beginning to help launch Beaver Creek – and we have enjoyed working with Aspen Snowmass (twice in the past and a current client) and being a long-time partner with Steamboat Ski Resort for 16 years.
But we also know that what makes Colorado so special is that it offers more than skiing. As the Agency of Record (AOR) for The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) for eight years and VISIT DENVER for 25 years, we know how to fuel the Colorado brand of wanderlust in everyone, whether they be an outdoor adventurer, an urban explorer or a cultural pioneer.
We helped the city of Denver evolve from a “gateway city” into a destination city. One where people once drove through Denver to get to the mountains to one that now millions come and stay in. Over the past twelve years, Denver tourism has grown exponentially faster than the U.S. average. In fact, 2017 marked another record year for Denver as the city continued its rise as a top tourism destination by welcoming a record 31.7 million total visitors including 17.4 million overnight visitors. (Longwoods International)
Our award-winning national work for CTO has helped drive record setting numbers for the last eight years. In 2012, we crafted Colorado’s first brand with the groundbreaking “Come to Life “ campaign. This campaign was one of the first in the tourism category to abandon the “things to see and do” construct that every other state was using and instead connected with people on an emotional level, encouraging them to get out and explore. And it worked. Each year since the campaign launched, it has ranked in the top 10% of all tourism advertising in the country. More recently, Ace Metrix (a leader in measuring the impact of video advertising) awarded one of our current CTO TV commercials #1 in likability and desirability and #2 in overall breakthrough in Q2 2018, pitting us against 1,800 ads, many from Fortune 500 companies. Between April 2017 and March 2018, the “Come to Life” campaign generated a record-high return on investment of $546 for every $1 of paid media. (SMARInsights)
And yes, while more visitors are traveling to Colorado and spending more than ever before, we prefer to highlight the positive economic impact that results from this – spending as a result of this visitation generated a record-setting $1.28 billion in state and local tax revenue. To replace this revenue would require an additional $228 in annual tax payments from each of Colorado’s 5.6 million residents. Tourism also creates jobs. In 2017, the Colorado travel industry directly supported 171,000 jobs and earnings of more than $6.3 billion. (Longwoods; Dean Runyon)
Hotel and hospitality work is also a part of our tourism DNA. We were AOR for Best Western International Hotels and Regal Hotels, and we rebranded The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa. Additionally, during our Steamboat Ski Resort tenure, we also worked with the Steamboat Sheraton and the Steamboat Grand Hotel.
Here’s a quick list of the other tourism clients we’ve been lucky enough to be able to support: Avalon Waterways, Globus & Cosmos, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, WaterWorld, Cherry Creek Shopping Center and Cherry Creek North (past and present client), Biennial of the Americas, Colorado’s Ocean Journey, Continental Divide Trail Alliance, Exclusive Resorts, Portico, Inspirato, Ski Train, Colorado Ski Country USA, The Mountain Collective, the International Golf Tournament at Castle Pines, Winter Park and Denver International Airport.
We now work with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado to help our beautiful state stay beautiful! We’re proud to build on this legacy from when we were the AOR for the Colorado Lottery for 25 years and helped raise over $2 billion for parks, trails and public spaces that add to our outdoor soul.
In the end, our work with our partner tourism clients means more jobs, fewer taxes and overall better products and experiences. We continue to have fun, do good work, and maintain our craft of advancing the world’s number one industry.
The Denver Business Journal recently recapped the unprecedented increase of tourism citing studies from VISIT DENVER and the Colorado Tourism Office. Read more here.
This year’s excellent client momentum continues. To see what new purpose-driven clients we’re excited to be working with, read more here.