For as long as I can remember, the lodging industry has referred to selling rooms as putting “heads-in-beds”. Similarly, attractions like theaters, trains and ski areas have always strived to put “butts-in-seats.”
Like any industry, tourism has an ever-evolving lexicon and inventing new words, phrases, and acronyms involves a lot of “creative strategery” and well-designed “marketecture”. See what I mean.
Have you heard of the term “glamping” short for glamorous-camping? If roughing it is not your style, hire a first-class river outfitter, and at the end of your day of pamper and paddle, you’ll arrive at your cozy campsite with fire already burning and a sizzling filet mignon ready to be plated. Your biggest decision of the day might be whether you want your martini “shaken or stirred.” Think “parks with perks”, and enjoy that mint left on your camp pillow.
“Aspirational destinations” describe your personal short list of places that you would like to visit. Colorado consistently ranks in the top five of Americans’ aspirational destinations.
Our region of Southwest Colorado is an aspirational destination because of our mountains and rivers, expansive list of recreational amenities, and world-class attractions. For us tourism “marketechs,” that makes it a whole lot more fun to promote Durango than some town that’s got the “World’s Largest Ball of Twine.”
Are you a “millennially-aligned” traveler? Basically, that’s when old people are out doing what younger “Millennials” are doing. With today’s boomers living longer and larger, we don’t assume the 60-year-old tourist is in Durango to fish off the end of the pier.
These are healthy, active and athletic types who come to Colorado to bike, hike, zip line and climb, after which they’ll explore locally crafted beers, discover home-grown Colorado wines and seek out farm-to-table cooking.
If you prefer “sweaty and social” or “dirty and solo” you could be an “ath-leisurist”? Huh? These are travelers who seek challenging recreational pursuits, but they also enjoy the social and rejuvenating aspects afterward – sort of “let’s sweat before we swill.”
Many ath-leisurists are female, have professional careers with good incomes and are experienced in their sport. But after a day of climbing or biking they will reward themselves with well-earned massages, soaks and spa visits.
Many who vacation in Colorado come to escape stifling cities and overcooked technological lifestyles and are seeking some form of “Digital Detox.”
Few may come for sightseeing, more for “sight-doing,” and increasingly more for “sight-making,” or, in other words, building their own adventurous itinerary that includes components of nature, culture, and outdoor activity, thereby defining “adventure tourism.”
And if none of these terms fit what you’re doing, you better get with it or risk suffering from “FOMO”, short for fear of missing out.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Bob Kunkel is executive director of the Durango Area Tourism Office.