Jennifer Green, the director of the Town Tourism Committee, reported to the Pagosa Springs Town Council that May 2012 was the strongest May on record in terms of the collection of lodgers tax, with an increase of $2,133.33 or 9.8 percent over 2011. Year to date, the increase over 2011 is $13,480.57, or 10.81 percent.
In a follow-up interview, Green said, “Lodging tax numbers have been up for the last 12 months, but I anticipate July is going to be down because of the fires.” Green explained that, due to the Waldo Fire in the Colorado Springs area, out-of-state tourists may have mixed up Colorado Springs and Pagosa Springs, or it could just be that statewide tourism numbers are down because of all of the fires the state experienced during the first part of the summer. In any case, “Fourth of July was a little lighter than usual.”
Revised numbers for April show that the lodgers tax total was up to $16,863.65, just slightly higher than 2011, and the preliminary number for June, $38,302, is 6.13 percent higher than last year, but there is still one more payment coming in.
There were 4,444 requests to the TTC for the Pagosa Springs Official Visitor Guide (published by The SUN) in June, and, at 112 percent, it was a significant increase over last year’s June figure. Most of these leads came from www.colorado.com.
The traffic numbers for the Visitor Center were also up to 6,840 people for June, which is an increase of 2.3 percent over June 2011. According to Green, these numbers come from the Chamber of Commerce and are easier to collect than tax figures, so they provide a quicker indication of tourism figures.
However, Green explained that there isn’t a direct correlation between the number of people who stop at the Visitor Center and how many people stay in local hotels, nor is there a relationship between those who stop at the center and those who have requested Visitor Guides.
“I’ve actually found that eighty-three percent of those who stop at the Visitor Center,” Green said, “did not request a Visitor Guide before they came to Pagosa.”
Green also reported that a photo of a double rainbow over Lake Pagosa was featured during a newscast on Denver’s NBC affiliate, Channel 9, which generated significant exposure for the town. This was indicated by a jump to 5,144 fans for the Facebook page.
The TTC is close to finishing enhancements to the tourism website (www.visitpagosasprings.com) that will increase user interaction by incorporating a new phone app.
“I call it my stalking tool,” Green joked.
“This year we have started integrating with Internet Honey,” Green said. “It is a marketing analytic solution. It’s allowing all of our marketing efforts to go into one tool, so that we can start to see correlations between social media efforts and Visitor Guide requests. When we launch the new phone app., which is in development, we will be able to register GPS connectivity, so we will know, if they have requested a Visitor Guide, whether or not they actually come to Pagosa.”
The QR code that is on all of the new trailhead signs around the area will also link into the system, so the TTC can keep track of how many times those are scanned.
Summer and winter itineraries for one, three and five-day visits have been developed and posted on the website, as well, which will allow families to plan their vacations before they arrive in Pagosa Country.
The last thing Green reported on was “Red, White & Brews,” a music festival that took place on the Fourth of July in Yamaguchi Park, and was meant to generate revenue to raise money for fireworks. Unfortunately, due to fire restrictions, this year’s fireworks display was cancelled, but the fireworks will still be there for next year. The TTC publicly and wholeheartedly thanked festival organizer Melissa Buckley for her efforts.