|Nick Tatton, Price city community director and economic director Delynn Fielding are discussing marketing and strategies ides with Dr. Scott Baird, consultant with Griffin Hill.|
Carbon and Emery County government officials along with local tourism representatives gathered Tuesday with two consultants for the Utah Hotel and Lodging Association.
The group spent two hours discussing marketing, strategic planning and methods of increasing tourism revenues in southeastern Utah.
The meeting is part of a stateside effort where the UH&LA engaged the services of Griffin Hill, an Orem-based consulting firm specializing in strategic planning and top-line revenue.
The group, which included a county commissioner elect, state representative and leaders from city, state and economic develop agencies, addressed current challenges faced by operators of hotels and lodging facilities.
According to the officials, tourism represents Utah's largest private sector industry, accumulating almost $4 billion in revenue annually.
Following Sept. 11, 2001 and the conclusion of 2002 Olympic Winter Olympics and as a result of the continued threat of terrorism along with the downturn in the United States economy, travel and hotel occupancy have dropped throughout Utah.
UH&LA expects the strategic planning work of Griffin Hill to provide its members with greater insight to the market and develop specific actions that will increase top-line revenues for the hotel industry.
"Tourism helps everyone in Utah. It creates jobs, generates tax revenue, and provides money to build infrastructure," pointed out UH&LA executive director Ann Gambrino.
"Today's economy requires strategic thought and action. UH&LA is pivotal in the tourism industry, so we are leveraging that position in order to provide our members important tools that will help them be more successful, knowing their success benefits all citizens of Utah," added the association's director.
"Griffin Hill has a proven record in strategic action and revenue increase and we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with them so their services can benefit our members," said Gambrino.
Summarizing the discussion, Scott Baird emphasized the importance of making sure tourism is on all public meeting agendas.
"We need to continually carry the tourism and travel message and discuss what are our needs, visions, goals, barriers, challenges and resources as we develop strategies," noted Baird. "We need to engage our business community."
Baird called for developing a plan to inform business leaders what the agendas are. He asked government leaders to involve the businesses with their time, talents and resources, including financial cooperation.
Baird's third recommened action was to inform every resident of what is available in the two counties in terms of tourism.
"We need to continually inform our citizens about the numerous recreational opportunities," explained Baird.
In addition, Baird encouraged the group in attendance at the meeting to focus on teaching the Carbon-Emery community to be nice. He stressed the importance of local residents:
Striking up conversations with tourists visiting the area.
Finding out why the people are passing through the counties.
Finding out how long visitors are staying in the Carbon-Emery area.
Promoting the many opportunities available in Carbon and Emery counties.
"We need to learn to be proactive in conversions," Baird summarized.
For additional information, Carbon County residents may contact Utah Hotel & Lodging Association at (801)359-0104 or Griffin Hill at (801)225-7000.
Residents interested in finding out what they can do to pitch in and help promote tourism locally should contact Kathy Hanna Smith at 637-3009.