Tourism Champion markets destinations, activities and events as seen from the eyes of guests and visitors, applying years of experience as a guide and tour director. We have learned to recognize potential points of dissatisfaction or failure before visitors do, then work with you to address them before it hurts.
Even before being appointed by the Governor of Colorado to serve on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Tourism Office in 2012, Tourism Champion was deeply involved in the practical, day-to-day job of marketing one of Colorado’s key tourist destination attractions, as General Manager of the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. For a Tour Director, being a successful destination marketer means having an in- depth knowledge of every destination visited on tours, and every wide spot in the road between them.
In 2014, Tourism Champion was again appointed to lead destination marketing programs. This time, by the Fremont Board of County Commissioners, in service to Fremont County Tourism Council (FCTC). The FCTC is the destination marketing organization (DMO) for Colorado’s famous Royal Gorge Region and all of Fremont County. As Chairman of the Council, Steve collaborates with the Council and key contractors to manage Royal Gorge Travel, the official visitor website. The FCTC also is charged with investing lodging tax revenue to produce the Royal Gorge Visitor Guide, the region’s official tourist guide publication that is distributed throughout the state; direct requests are fulfilled across the nation.
SMART Tour Itineraries ©2016
Even popular itineraries can be improved, and we can help. We will review routes, assessing destinations and schedules, and work with you to design agile itineraries that, from your guest’s point of view, work well. Smooth, well-crafted itineraries that operate seamlessly; and can be fixed when the unexpected occurs. We like to think of it as a bit like composing a symphony…
While earning a Master’s in Organizational Management, and later as a Founding Partner of The Five Star Institute [a firm providing facilitated strategic planning and web-based app to aid execution], Steve was often drilled on the importance of SMART goals, and their importance to a winning and sustainable business strategy.
Tourism Champion applies many of those same principles to the detailed work of designing and planning group tour itineraries that can be smoothly, precisely and consistently executed. For ease of execution, itineraries must be:
Specific – Details matter. The expectations of group travelers are, deservedly, high. Effective marketing, guest satisfaction, and a workable technical itinerary relies on accurate details in every day’s itinerary.
Measurable – Anticipating what guests will want to know about and the questions they will ask.
Attainable – A multi-day (or multi-week) itinerary that tries to do too much or travel too far in a single day, may not be attainable. Too often, attainability and enjoy-ability are not synonymous. After managing over a hundred group tours across North America, and planning tours to 11 nations, Tourism Champion can help operators plan, present and pull-off a tour that works for guests, and for your company.
Realistic – Attainability and reality go hand in hand. Whether or not a tour is Realistic goes far beyond knowing things you learn in an office. Understanding the practicalities of routing or timing, and the logistical details of maneuvering large vehicles, while ensuring a leisurely pace that guests will enjoy, are skills learned on the road.
Timely – If you spend more time getting to a destination than is spent seeing it, timing is off and guests won’t be happy. Timing is everything, as they say, and so it is in presenting group tours clients fondly remember for a lifetime.
Tourism Champion designs, develops and manages SMART Tour Itineraries. By personally directing tours every year, practical know-how stays sharp, and SMART tours get smarter!
Coalitions · Collaborations · Networks
Put us to work to help you forge coalitions among groups or individuals with perceived, or latent, mutual interests. We will work with you to identify, engage and gain commitment from influencers, innovators and thought leaders to find solutions, craft new programs, and get things accomplished.
In early 2016, Tourism Champion assisted Pikes Peak Country Attractions Association with selecting an Executive Director. The project required a familiarity with, and specialized knowledge of the Pikes Peak regional tourism economy, and an awareness of the professional background, training and experience that would ensure the association selected the best-qualified leader for this prominent membership organization promoting destinations and attractions throughout the region.
Colorado’s first Tourism Sector Partnership, a collaboration with the Colorado Workforce Development Council in Planning Region 13 encompasses Fremont, Custer, Chaffee and Lake Counties. The partnership is aimed at helping industry leaders find ways to unify marketing & branding efforts, advance economic development initiatives, develop a better qualified workforce, and find solutions for other vexing challenges that keep the region from realizing its full potential as a year-round destination for tourism and outdoor recreation.
In 2014 and 2015, Tourism Champion played an instrumental role in helping build the coalition to create Colorado and New Mexico’s newest scenic & historic byway; the first in either state in 10 years. Gaining approval for Tracks Across Borders Scenic & Historic Byway involved collaborating with three county governments in two states, two sovereign Indian tribes, private landowners, community leaders in towns and villages along the route, the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado State Parks, and the Departments of Transportation in Colorado and New Mexico.
Group Business Development
Tourism Champion’s North American network of operators and suppliers could prove to be a valuable asset to your company or organization.
Attracting, developing and retaining group tour business can require years of relationship-building; it requires patience and takes time. In tourism, even more so than many other industries, relationships are invaluable and who you know may be paramount. In our experience, building trusted relationships between suppliers and operators may require 2 to 5 years. Personal referrals and introductions from trusted, respected professionals familiar with the nuances of group travel, whom operators are familiar with, may help shorten the development cycle. Once established, lodgers, restaurants, entertainment venues and destination attractions often find group business to be more durable, and less inclined to cancel on a whim. Conversely, temporary adverse conditions, such as natural disasters that affect an entire region, but may have little or no impact on a specific attraction oftentimes leads frequent independent travelers, who have less invested, to cancel. Let us help you build business that endures, and once on the books, stays there.
To consulting contracts in the dynamic business of tourism, Steve brings a diverse and varied background, supported by a unique and complementary combination of experience as a corporate executive, non-profit board member, former city & county elected official and instructor/trainer. He’s not shy about speaking before an audience whether it’s at the front of a motor coach on tour, in an packed auditorium or university classroom, or leading a nature hike.
Tour operators, destination attractions and communities Steve works with gain advantage from his experience managing group tours, and the contracts that ensure they run smoothly. Please contact us to discuss how we can benefit your organization with planning, developing, redeveloping or managing tourist facilities. We can help ensure your site, programs, tours and events are well prepared to welcome guests, and exceed their expectations.