Colorado Tourism Office’s “Come to Life” marketing campaign resulted to $2.72 billion record spending

DENVER, CO, 2017-Jan-30 — /Travel PR News/ — While the Colorado Tourism Office’s “Come to Life” marketing campaign influenced fewer trips last summer, the travelers it swayed spent a record $2.72 billion on their visits to Colorado.

In its latest report on the effectiveness of CTO’s advertising program, Strategic Marketing and Research Insights of Indianapolis found the campaign generated a 4 percent increase in spending among travelers who reported seeing CTO advertising. Influenced spending was up by about $105 million from the year before, even though the number of travelers fell 7 percent, from 2.1 million in spring/summer 2015 to 1.9 million last year.

“Increased spending from a smaller group of travelers actually is great news for Coloradans who have concerns about sharing our state’s natural resources,“ said Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office. “Our efforts over the past year to target ‘higher-value’ travelers, who generate greater economic returns with less impact on our state, already seem to be bearing fruit.”

In a presentation shared today with the Colorado Tourism Board, Denise Miller, SMARI’s vice president for research, affirmed that Colorado’s “Come To Life” marketing campaign continues to be one of the most effective in the country in driving awareness, improving perceptions, inspiring travel and generating a strong return on investment. SMARI’s research methodology hinges on measuring consumers’ recollection of CTO advertising and how it influenced them.

A major factor in the fall-off among influenced travelers, Miller said, was a sharp drop in the number of visitors reporting legal marijuana as a motivator for their trip. Last year, only 4 percent of travelers described visiting a dispensary as a top reason for their trip to Colorado, compared with 7 percent last year.

The latest SMARI survey listed travelers’ top motivation for a Colorado trip remained scenic drives, hiking or backpacking, visiting a state or national park, wildlife watching and visiting an historic site.

SMARI’s latest analysis concluded that the sharp increase in influenced travelers during 2015 may have been a one-year anomaly, driven by demand among younger, lower-spending travelers curious about legal marijuana. The 2016 findings suggest the interest has leveled off, with the state attracting a slightly older, more affluent traveler last year.

Findings also suggest pent up demand among younger travelers with families who traveled to Colorado in 2015 after their initial concerns over legal marijuana waned.

The visitor profile in 2016 reverted toward the more traditional Colorado traveler, with an average age of 45, a higher level of education and a higher income. In 2016, the average influenced traveler spent $1,401 on their trip to Colorado, compared with $1,250 the previous year.

While the number of influenced visitors in 2016 was down from the prior year, the 2016 numbers were 51 percent higher than in 2014, showing a strong upward trend underscoring the enduring success of the “Come To Life” marketing message.

The spring/summer 2016 SMARI results are an indicator that Colorado is on track for another important year for visitor expenditures and tax volume.  The CTO will announce its full research findings for the 2016 travel year in June 2017.

Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 25 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state’s breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 12 national parks and monuments and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet.

For more information or a copy of the 2016 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit or call 1-800-COLORADO.

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Media Contacts:
Caitlin Johnson / 720-233-8520 /