“Bravo: Combined efforts allow us to grow our visitor economy,” reads the headline in the Wyoming News. The opinion piece which also appeared in The Cheyenne Post is shared here with the author’s permission.
A post by Domenic Bravo, President & CEO, Visit Cheyenne and Downtown Cheyenne Development Authority.
What is the Visitor Economy?
For us in Laramie County it is creating a community where people have a high quality of life, businesses are thriving, and we continue to honor the unique and spectacular place we call home while opening our hearts and arms to people who want to experience our home.
At its core, a visitor economy is the economic impact of visitors to our area. At Visit Cheyenne, we take it a step further and help to develop the destination, creating a great place to live AND visit.
Everything we do and support is intentional, with our economic success the ultimate return on investment. From signature events we have created like Cheyenne Restaurant Week, Hell on Wheels Rodeo and Old West Holiday to all the events we support like EdgeFest, Culture X, Friday Nights on the Plaza, Pine Bluff’s Kite Festival, Harvest Feast, etc., everything has a positive impact on our community, and it reaches the entire County.
In June of 2021, we unveiled our Laramie County Tourism Master Plan and hit the ground running. In the last year, we created additional signature events, started the 15th Street Railroad Experience, merged with the Downtown Development Authority, started on the Belvoir Ranch/Big hole project and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to all the extra projects we have worked on, we have also expanded and enhanced our core operations.
We took our marketing efforts to new levels during the last few years. Using good data analysis and working closing with partners, many of our campaigns returned numbers like 28 to 1 and 19 to 1, direct spend impact. This means that people saw our ads, clicked on our ads, and then travelled to our community and spent their money here.
Even the best brands need an update from time to time and we’ve updated our logo and our marketing campaign. A new fresh approach to “Living the Legend” was unveiled to industry acclaim winning a Gold Hermes Creative Award. We took this new identity and completely rebuilt and refreshed our website, continuing to provide the most comprehensive listings of events, attractions, dining options, shopping and places to stay in the area. Our campaigns focus on the diversity of people and experiences available to visitors to our great city.
Our group and convention sales have had a strong recovery after 2020 and we have hosted numerous conferences including Select Traveler and Small Market Meetings which brought travel and meeting planners here to experience our community. We have already seen the fruits of our labor as many groups from these conferences have planned group tours or meetings here in Cheyenne in future years.
Our PR efforts have netted us numerous national and regional digital and magazine articles in publications like NASCAR.com, Cowboys and Indians and True West. We have also added thousands to our various social media channels that includes organic growth from people that love our brand.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that one of the great things about our community is the people. We have heard numerous claims of how nice, knowledgeable and willing to help our residents are by countless visitors. So, thank you for helping to make us a destination.
So far in 2022 visitors have spent nearly $40 million in our community provide $3.1 million in sales tax revenue in Laramie County. Money that builds fire stations, funds road repairs and enhances our downtown. Money that we don’t have to pay as residents, but amenities that we all get to enjoy. Forty-seven hundred of our neighbors work in the tourism industry equating to 1 out of every 7 jobs in the county.
Our visitor economy is very strong in Laramie County, and thanks to the voters who continue to trust us with investing the proceeds from the lodging tax, we will continue to grow and innovate, bringing new experiences for our residents and visitors to our community.