Marketing the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway
Wyvonne Phillips Graham
Mountain Branch Byway Manager
The Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway has formed an effective, planned method to begin marketing the Byway's tourism resources and benefits to its various markets. In the process of performing many hours of resource information gathering, external market research, surveying the opinions of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway Board, performing an audit meeting with key stake holders along the SFT Mountain Branch Scenic & Historic Byway and considering the Byway's overall position within the scope of Colorado and area tourism marketing, several key questions have arisen. Providing answers to these questions holds the key to the marketing plan.
KEY MARKETING QUESTIONS
1. What is the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway Mountain Branch?
2. What are the Byway's tourism strengths, from a resource perspective?
3. How should the Mountain Branch Byway be portrayed to the public?
4. Who is the market for the Byway's marketing program?
5. What, how and when should the Byway be marketed?
6. How can sustainability be achieved beyond the initial funding period?
7. In general, where does the Mountain Branch Byway go from here?
SFT's goal in the presentation of this marketing and advertising plan is to provide the SFTS&H Byway Board with a plan and a direction to follow for the Byway's future marketing and advertising efforts now and beyond.
The many of the concepts presented in this marketing plan have come from the original byway marketing plan, Board members and stake holders of the SFTS&H Byway as well as other America's Byways in the National Scenic Byway Organization. Information also came from a variety of other sources. Our overriding goal is to arrive at a strategic marketing plan that is developed by taking into consideration the interests of all the key stake holders along the Byway-inclusive of the anchor communities/resources, as well as any and all other significant tourism resources.
WHAT WAS COVERED
The Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway performed an Inventory and Assessment of the Byway's Tourism resources. Once these information gathering, research and planning stages were completed, then executions of actual marketing and advertising projects began. We have gathered all information available about the communities and Byway tourism resources, from natural resources to manmade attractions. Included in our analysis is everything from state parks to wildlife refuges, state and national forests, unique shops and attractions to restaurants, interpretive areas to historic and cultural sites. In short, we considered anything and everything that might serve as a positive influence on tourism and which could coalesce to form the Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway unique identity. Our first generation of marketing materials were created on a shoe string budget and we are now ready for a more professional approach to marketing. That's where this project begins this year in 2006 and how we will proceed from here.
Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway, Board of Directors and key, interested Byway stake holders were consulted on topics ranging from setting priorities, giving preferences to identifying markets and tourism trends and much more. Results from this Scenic Byway Assessment are being evaluated and included in our Business plan. This plan will determine Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway- Mountain Branch organization direction and will set the collective goals for the Byway to achieve. This Strategic Marketing Plan is the culmination of all these efforts.
THE MARKETING GOALS
The initial goal is to uncover the unique and distinctive features and benefits promised by the Byway's tourism resources, both natural and manmade, that can be crafted into a distinctive identity. We then developed a web site, brochures, CD, photo collection, and press releases to market the Santa Fe Trail. These marketing materials makes potential visitors aware of the Byway and attract visitors to travel it.
We are discovering exactly who our market is, what they like and dislike, and what they want to do on a vacation or getaway. The results from the byway assessment meetings and the "Colorado Report" done by the State Scenic Byway Program will help set the priorities and goals that the marketing program should strive to achieve, as well as byway stakeholders willingness and ability to work together to achieve those goals.
The completion of this process will lead us to set the following goals
for the marketing program to achieve...
1. Create a primary image for the Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway as a major heritage travel destination.
* Sub themes of the Byway being a road that ties together the Santa Fe Trail
* An area that retains the wild and untamed feel of the west
* With abundant Recreational opportunities
* With Historical educational opportunities
* With Archaeological opportunities
* With Geologic opportunities
* With opportunities of Culture and Commerce
* With Scenic and wildlife opportunities
2. Marketing funds should be spent with an emphasis on increasing sales to current customers, persuading them to stay in the area longer.
3. There should be a split between marketing all the seasons on an equal basis.
4. One of the very important issues in the Byway assessment sessions was the attempt to determine the willingness of the various communities along the Byway to work together. It should ask as to whether or not the marketing should take a segmented or a unified approach.
* A segmented approach would mean that all communities along the Byway view themselves individually and would market themselves and their section of the Byway by focusing on their individual community identities.
* A segmented approach supports the need for individual towns and areas to remain competitive.
* A unified approach would mean that the Byway is viewed as a collective, marketing the Byway as an area or region without specific town distinctions.
* This approach supports the need to establish a strong identity. The decision was that a unified approach would be the best way to market the Byway. We are therefore working with our Byway Communities to achieve this unified approach with us.
ACHIEVING THE GOALS
Achieving the stated marketing goals require an immediate approach that focuses on a method to implement the goals for the first year, as well as considering a method to build long-range feasibility into the plan. Therefore, this marketing plan will focus on three different areas for plan development:
1. The Mission, Message & Identity
2. The Marketing Strategy And Tactics
3. Methods For Marketing Plan Implementation
The goal of any organization is to have a clear and focused mission, as well as an identifiable image that accurately portrays the members it serves and speaks to the markets it seeks to attract. At present, the Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway has a graphic logo and an identity or image has been communicated to the Byway's potential public. The Byway has a mission statement to guide its way in the marketing process.
Let's start with a review of the more questions to address to the stake holders during the Audit Meeting, as well as pertinent external market research on Byway travelers' expectations.
Question: What perception do visitors have of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic
& Historic Byway?
1) Historic Santa Fe Trail
2) Small Victorian towns
2) Prairies and Plains
3) Mountains and mesas
4) Rural Farm towns
5) Friendly people
Question: What do you think is the most inaccurate perception people
have of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway?
1) Miles of prairies and plains with nothing interesting to do.
2) Nothing Scenic about the Santa Fe Trail.
3) There are no mountains.
4) Nothing to do but go to Santa Fe when we get there.
5) It's all about the Santa Fe Trail's History and there is nothing modern day happening there.
Question: What are the best and most unique resources along the Byway.
The top six responses received from the meeting:
1) Bent's Old Fort
2) Comanche National Grasslands
3) Colorado Welcome Centers in 2 gateway communities, Lamar and Trinidad.
4) Trinidad Lake State Park
5) John Martin Reservoir
6) Trinidad History Museum- Baca and Bloom Mansion, Santa Fe Trail Visitors Center & Byway Visitors Center
Question: Describe the Byway (Top Two)
1) The byway goes from mountainous regions to prairies and plains.
2) The byway is a National Historic Trail which is recognized for it's historic significance as a trade route used to open relations between the US and Mexico before Trinidad was US territory.
Question: What is the primary image the Byway should market?
#1- Historic Trail with a vast and varied landscape with unique scenic, natural, recreational, cultural and historic opportunities.
Question: What are the top attributes of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic &
Responses: (In ranked order)
2. Culturally diverse
4. Extreme adventures
Question: Are we diverse?
WHAT TOURISTS EXPECT IN SCENIC BYWAYS
Studies have been determined by the State and Federal byway organizations as to what tourists want and expect in road travel and scenic byways.
Here's what the findings were...
1. Tourists used the word "scenic" when referring to any roads that were not freeways or interstate, whether the road itself was a two or four lane, had a 55 mile per hour speed limit or a 30 mile per hour speed limit, whether or not it was designated as scenic.
2. Once out of the metro area, many participants selected routes that had less traffic than the main routes to their destinations. These less trafficked routes were not necessarily less direct. They were selected because they were less stressful and more scenic. The roads evoked a sense that a person was actually "on vacation" and could slow down and relax.
3. Tourists would like the option of either bypassing towns or passing through them along the way. The trip's purpose, time of day and schedule determined what kind of road experience the tourist wants. On the way home, people were more likely to select the quickest routes. On the way to their destination or on shorter getaway trips, they preferred the slower routes.
4. RV owners commented that they can't use most scenic routes because they don't have shoulders wide enough for motor homes.
5. "If it says it is a scenic road, then it had better be scenic."
6. Tourists are frequently looking for a learning experience and are interested in a variety resources: culture, heritage, wildlife and geography of the surroundings, especially when they were in leisure trips.
7. Participants felt that scenic roads should be friendly both to people and the environment. Information about the scenic routes and route guides detailing points of interest along the way are also needed.
UNIQUE NATURAL & INTERPRETIVE CONSIDERATIONS
Many scenic byways have a very strong historical and nature-wildlife component. Indeed, these natural and interpretive amenities form the cornerstone of the identities for many other area Colorado scenic byways. Based on research of the area's natural tourism resources, we believe the following attributes comprise a distinctive set of features that will serve as a lure to tourists interested in the historical and natural side of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway experience.
* 188 miles of Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway which closely follows the path of the original Santa Fe Trail
* Historical possibilities with buildings from the Victorian Era
* Historic Hiking & interpretive trails in varied settings-forests, city & state parks
* Many premier trails specifically for bird watching and wildlife viewing, acres of wilderness sanctuary, and perpetual breeding grounds for migratory birds
& other wildlife
* Abundant museums and historically-related attractions in the area
* Stands of virgin forests over 200 years old with abundant natural and geological wonders including scenic views on a mountainous historic pass
* Rock ruins, ghost towns and remains of historic trail days era
* Many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places
* Comanche National Grasslands, the largest dinosaur tracksite in North America, a prehistoric highway.
* Ancient travel routes of Native American peoples and dinosaurs ( BC to AD)
* Acres of grasslands which unfold pristine canyons, rivers and streams
* National Forests and Nationally Designated sites throughout the Byway
* Famed & historic Trail of Commerce through Colorado, a cornerstone of Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway identity
* Agri tourism possibilities
SFT National Historic Trail and Nationally designated Sites
Wildlife Refuge areas
Hiking and Biking Trails
Wildlife watching areas
State Parks and Lakes
US Forest Service
Army Corp of Engineers
US Department of Agriculture
BUILDING THE BRAND
In the process of considering what the Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway can claim as its own distinctive brand or Unique Selling Proposition USP, it was useful to use a matrix called the Bates Branding Tool. The theory is the more cohesive and complimentary the elements, the more potent the brand can be. When building our brand we considered the Attributes of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway- Mountain Branch for all concerned.
FOR BYWAY TRAVELERS
* Collection of diverse & varied places, each with a different appeal and identity; nature blends with quaint towns
* Unhomogenized, slower-paced travel
* Activities to please a wide variety of interests
* Unspoiled experience of byway diversity
* Home of the famed Trail of Commerce
* Enjoy Santa Fe Trail as it used to be
* Surprises & delights
* Rediscovery & connections
* Slow down, relax & enjoy travel
* Memorable experience of Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway
* Unspoiled nature
* Fun & Adventuresome
* Family oriented
* Discover Santa Fe Trail beyond the interstate.
FOR BYWAY STAKE HOLDERS
* Marketing recognition
* Enhanced business/activity
* Greater prestige for area
* Access to federal & state funds
* Long-term area improvement
* Unique attraction to draw tourists
* Empowered By Resources
* Committed To Profit & Preservation
* Important As Key Participant
* Desirable Destination
The Byway has focused down to the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and heritage travel on the historic Santa Fe Trail will become the foundation for the Byway Image.
Identity can be thought of as the place that something claims in one's mind. It is an association, series of associations or feelings that are evoked when they see a symbol or hear a name or a phrase.
TASK 1: DEVELOP A MISSION STATEMENT
Meetings helped determine the purpose of this nonprofit corporation:
1. To increase recognition and appreciation of the multi-cultural heritage in communities within the corridor of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch. To increase information availability about travel in both directions along the Trail's historic routes and the ties it created among the vastly different cultures and races. To preserve the pioneer spirit among the region's population. To enhance awareness of the Trail's history among persons moving into the region. To promote Trail-related activities and to use connections provided by the Trail to improve inter-community relations.
2. To preserve historic sites and resources for future generations.
3. To enhance the visitor experience by upgrading and improving developed sites and facilities
4. To increase tourism's contribution to the economy.
5. To support Trail-related activities throughout the corridor of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway- Mountain Branch.
TASK 2: REVISE THE LOGO
During the byway meetings we decided we like the present logo that exists and determined that it did not need to be revised, just updated for our new marketing materials. It is important to develop a program that encourages all members of the Byway communities to adapt the new logo and use it in their materials, to promote the Byway and raise awareness levels.
TASK 3: CREATE A THEME LINE
The creation of a theme line, or signature theme, is a valuable written or spoken component to the visual identity developed in the logo. The theme line is the concise positioning device used to appeal to the market's interests and convey the unique nature of the Byway.
Assessment & Themes
In reviewing the summarized collection of attributes and benefits determine the most significant points to note about the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway for purposes of identity and image development...suggestions:
* Nature blends with quaint towns in this historic vacation destination
* Slower-paced travel
* Activities & attractions to please a wide variety of interests
* Unspoiled experience of the Santa Fe Trail diversity
* Home of the famed Santa Fe Trail of Commerce
* Enjoy the Santa Fe Trail as it used to be
* Rediscovery & connections
* Slow down, relax & enjoy travel
How Does This Assessment Impact the Theme Line?
The most significant aspects of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway identity relate to the elements of being a national historic trail with a natural and unspoiled environment, the diversity of activities and attractions, reconnecting with a more leisurely-paced getaway and being one of the byways that can claim fame to the Old West's Trail of Commerce .
We perceive two distinct identity avenues that could be taken.
The first approach would concentrate on a theme line that embodies those
elements of being the Trail of Commerce which is historic, culturally diverse
and reconnecting with the slower pace and quaint charm of the "old,
authentic" Santa Fe Trail. This is the "Heritage " approach.
The second approach would focus on the dominant positioning statement of
being home to the Dinosaur Tracks and the diverse natural scenic beauty
to be discovered. These would, indeed, function as a Unique Selling Proposition
that no other state byway could claim. This is the "Natural" approach.
The Byway Board has chosen to take a dual approach and we have made the following identity options for special promotions. While these are not final, they are for consideration.
HERITAGE THEME/ RECONNECTION THEME
The Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway...
1. The Mountain Branch Home of The Santa Fe Trail of Commerce
2. The Road To The Trail of Commerce...and Beyond
3. The Source of Your Great Santa Fe Trail Getaway
4. Start at the Source, Explore The Treasures of History
5. Experience the history of the Santa Fe Trail
6. The Source of the Santa Fe Trail And Your Great Getaway
7. Wander Santa Fe Trail Country
8. Where You And The Santa Fe Trail Begin A Great Journey
9. Discover A Story in Santa Fe Trail Country
10. Start Your Adventure Where The Santa Fe Trail Begins
11. History Wildlife Commerce
12. Back road To The Source of the Santa Fe Trail
NATURAL EMPHASIS/STATE PARK
The Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway...
1. A Natural Playground
2. Rediscover The Santa Fe Trail Beyond The Interstates
3. Beyond The Interstates, There's A Santa Fe Trail Waiting To Be Discovered
4. Lakes History Wanderlust
5. The Santa Fe Trail You Knew, Just Down The Road
6. What Will You Discover?
7. The Real Santa Fe Trail Is Waiting To Be Explored
8. The Real Santa Fe Trail, Just Around The Bend
9. More History, More Lakes, More Treasures To Discover
10. The Back road To Your Heart
11. Treasure Highway To The Santa Fe Trail
BYWAY TRAVEL INDUSTRY OVERVIEW
On a national scope, there seems to be a significant market of travelers seeking a scenic byways experience. There is a growing number of auto tourists who are seeking more value in return for the time they spend traveling in their car. They want routes that interest them, offering an experiential payoff of scenery, learning, relaxation and unique experience they can't find on the interstates. The movement to create scenic byways is in response to auto travelers desire to return to a travel experience that is more real and beneficial.
National Scenic Byways Market Research
The National Scenic Byways Organization has outlined some very interesting and specific facts about the general byway traveler:
1. There seems to be a large potential market for byway travel. Of the people surveyed, 76% said they like to take a more interesting route when traveling, rather than the quickest. In addition, 57% are very likely to take a scenic or historic drive at their vacation destination. Fourteen percent often take driving trips with no destination.
2. While more Americans are taking road trips by car, the trips are becoming less enjoyable. Traffic, other drivers and driving itself, as well as the amount of time we spend in our cars, in general, is taking some of the joy out of road travel.
3. The largest group of users claimed a willingness to sample the byway experience at their destination.
4. The most important features for byway travelers are relaxation, scenic beauty and a variety of things to do.
Two Primary Byway Traveler Groups Identified
The National Scenic Byways Organization has also identified two distinct traveler types that are best to target for marketing purposes: Outdoor Enthusiasts and History Buffs. Marketing can be targeted specifically to each group, which is important in a niche marketing program:
Outdoor Enthusiasts: Younger, upscale families who like outdoor
recreation, water activities, natural beauty and adventure. They are interested
in byways and natural activities and the opportunities they offer. This
group will not only travel along the byways, they will stop and enjoy activities
and facilities along the way. This group is relatively active and they get
their information from TV, the Internet and magazines.
Outdoor Enthusiast Profile:
* 69% are married
* 54% have children
* 40% hold college degrees or advanced degrees
* Average age is 40
* Average income is $60,000
* Length of trip:
* 2 days or less 43%
* 3 to 5 days 39%
History Buffs: They are the largest segment, comprising 20% of the traveling population. They like a variety of traveling experiences, especially scenic beauty, historic sites, museums, cultural activities and educational experiences. They take fewer trips than the average, but the trips are generally longer. They like scenic byways as the focus of their trip, or at their destination. They are the traditional audience for scenic byways. This group is older and consists of a significant number of retirees and couples without children. They look for travel information in magazines, newspapers, brochures and billboards
History Buff Profile:
* 62% are married
* 27% have children
* 36% hold college degrees or advanced degrees
* Average age is 51
* Average income is $49,000
* Length of trip:
2 days or less 36%
3 to 5 days 33%
6 to 7 days 20%
NATIONAL MARKET TRAVELER PROFILES
Market research information gathered on travelers on a national scope can be valuable to Lake Country Scenic Byway in the development of a market profile and tools to reach them...
Travel Industry Association
1. 62% Of All Americans take a trip to a small town or village
2. 86% visit a small town for leisure purposes
3. 44% visit family & friends
4. Baby Boomers find rural travel more appealing than young or older travelers. They visit for reasons other than visiting friends.
American Demographics Magazine
1. Eight in ten households with incomes of $40,000 or more took road trips in 1996. College-educated Americans are more likely than average to take road trips, while those who went no further than high school are only as likely as the elderly, age 65 and older, to take such trips.
2. The needs and desires of road travelers vary by segments. Age and life stage, family status, income and education all play apart. For example, retirees tend to view road trips as an adventure, are more relaxed and willing to go at a slower pace and explore and don't mind being in the car for hours on end. Younger travelers-with and without children- do mind being in the car for long periods of time; they just want to get there.
LOCAL MARKET PROFILES
On a local level, research surveys were conducted by the Colorado Scenic Byway's Program in July through August of 2003. The following information is important to consider:
1. The top reason for traveling the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway was vacation/holiday and followed by sightseeing.
2. Respondents who lived inside the Byway study area were 40% of the 277 surveyed individuals.
The number of nights which travelers stayed on the Byway showed a majority staying only one night, followed by day trip only, followed by two to three nights.
3. 98% of Byway travelers stayed in a motel/hotel during their visit.
4. 34% of the travelers said that this was the first time they have traveled this route.
5. The 70% of travelers reported their mode of transportation was their own vehicle, followed by 5% rented autos.
6. When asked how they chose the route, past experience and maps influenced 28.9% to visit the Byway followed by 21.8% influenced by the brochure, with about 10 % each influenced by the internet, highway signs and chance.
7. Most Santa Fe Trail Travelers learned that it was a scenic Byway from maps.
The studies showed that our Byway can benefit greatly by informing visitors of the traveler services and having informed visitor centers who will give more information to travelers about where to eat, go and stay. Rather than stopping in to our visitor centers and moving on, travelers could be convinced to stay a day or two discovering our Byway. One good way to get the information to our visitors is produce a Byway visitors guide filled with everything the traveler needs to entice them to explore our Byway.
TWO CATEGORIES OF POTENTIAL MARKETS
The potential markets for Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway travel can be broken down into two categories.
1. General Market
This broad and non-specific market segment can be defined as the typical traveler who seeks out byway travel, travelers with non-specific interests and current area tourists who are probably unaware of the Byway's existence.
2. Special Interest or Niche Markets
Travelers with specific activity interests who would come to the Santa Fe Trail Scenic& Historic Byway area to seek out and satisfy their special interests.
MARKET ANALYSIS...WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN TO THE Santa Fe Trail Scenic
& Historic Byway
The Byway can satisfy the interests for a General Market of tourists who are seeking relaxation, scenic beauty and having a variety of things to do. Indeed, this is where the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway area shines. The general byway traveler crosses a broad age range, is in the middle to upper middle income range, is either married with kids or coupled. With its abundance of lakes, rivers, state parks and forests, hiking, biking and birding trails, outdoor recreational opportunities museums and attractions, and natural, wildlife and historic opportunities, the typical byway traveler is sure to find something of interest. The events, festivals and fairs as well as unique shops are a strength of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway. The typical byway traveler says they are most likely to travel a byway once they are at their destination - corresponding to the Board's desire to market to travelers already in the Byway area.
The Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway resource attributes and benefits also match up well with the two categories of broad Niche Markets mentioned in this plan. Outdoor Enthusiasts and History Buffs.
Outdoor Enthusiasts are younger, upscale families who like outdoor recreation, water activities, natural beauty and adventure. They are interested in byways and natural activities and the opportunities they offer. They tend to be a short-stay market of two days or less. Their interests are almost right on point with the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway attributes.
The Byway's strengths also are sufficient to satisfy many of the wants of the History Buff market category. They like a variety of traveling experiences and especially enjoy scenic beauty. In these areas, Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway Byway can satisfy the need. In the areas of historic sites, museums, cultural activities and educational experiences, the Byway excels this group's expectations. Especially since they like scenic byways as the focus of their trip, as well as at their destination. The Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway has great natural and recreational resources also promises significant marketing opportunities for more narrow niche markets, such as bird watchers, hikers, bikers, nature and wildlife enthusiasts, fall color tourists, fishermen and canoeists, as well as snowmobilers.
Short Stay Market Is Key
All indications are that the byway traveler market is, for the most part, a short-stay market in the four nights and less category. From a standpoint of lodging capacity, the four tourism areas along the Byway have a reasonable lodging capacity geared to the short-stay market, namely, bed & breakfast establishments, motels, hotels and campgrounds.
Before making marketing recommendations to reach the identified markets, we would like to review, in brief, our analysis and emphasis that the program should take. First, it is important to restate our perception of the strengths and weaknesses we see in the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway, from a Byway tourist's point of view.
We see the Byway's strengths as:
* Heritage Travel Opportunities
* Natural & Recreational Diversity
* The Relatively Unspoiled Environment & Quaint Towns
* The Wealth of History, Scenery, Lakes & Fishing
* The Classic Santa Fe Trail Scenery/ Wagon Rutts and DAR markers
* The Natural & Wildlife Tourism Options
* Historical Sites & Museums
* Shopping Options
* Cultural Events
* Unique Dining
* Number Of Established Interpretive Sites/Areas
* The Quality & Condition Of Some Tourism Resources
Although not major flaws, we see the following as being the Byway's weaknesses:
* Not All Of The Byway Is Scenic
* The byway traverses 188 miles which will take they typical byway traveler more than one day to take it all in.
Emphasis & Assumptions
Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway should direct the marketing focus on cultivating the tourist market when they are in or planning to be in the Byway corridor area. Research has shown that many of the decisions to travel the byway are made when the tourist is in the area at their destination. The longer range focus of the marketing plan would be to develop incentive for travel to the Byway as a destination. Studies showed that the majority of visitors to the Byway area was for 1-2 night stays. So the inclination is already to stay in the area for a shorter duration. This makes sense for the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway, because the goal is to entice a traveler to experience the entirety of the Byway, not just one particular segment of it.
Especially in the initial phases of the marketing program, our primary
goal will be to create awareness of the Byway to the tourist already in
the area, get them to experience it and then return next time for a more
comprehensive trip along the route. An equally important goal will be to
educate local people that the Byway is a valuable resource, especially those
in hospitality-related businesses. Emphasize all seasons equally, but, having
a limited budget and a goal of maximum exposure for the Byway, concentrating
our efforts during peak tourism season is imperative. Our best opportunity
will be a seasonal emphasisfirst and foremoston summer travel.
We need to make the greatest impact by creating top-of-mind awareness of
the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway when the largest number of
travelers are in the area. Fall, spring and winter marketing will be possible,
but they hold the greatest appeal for niche marketing opportunities.
Goal BUILD THE BYWAY'S IMAGE & PUBLIC AWARENESS
Task 1: Create Identity Materials
The first steps are complete with the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway identity pieces in place with our logo and theme and they will be applied to all pertinent printed and promotional materials. We have a brochure, web site, CD, and two movies have been made about our Byway.
Task 2: Identity Implementation Program
Developing an implementation program to foster participation by the Byway's stake holders in the communities is an important next step. By communicating the goals of the program to the markets, we can obtain community participation that can help spread the word of awareness about the Byway and its identity. The program will include the following elements:
1. Develop slicks that have the new logo and theme line, with usage instructions.
2. Include a press release that explains the program and why the logo should be used.
3. Announce the program to the local media with a press release.
4. Create an incentive program for those businesses who participate by placing the Byway logo in their own materials:
* Maybe an annual recognition award for those businesses who participate.
* Participating stake holders could receive an ad at no charge on the Byway's Web site or in the brochure or, could receive a link on the Web site.
Task 3: Create A Byway Brochure & Map
The Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway needs to be represented in an appealing, sales-oriented manner that can be used and distributed in a variety of ways. We have developed a brochure and are planning to redo it in the near future. The brochure serves several different purposes:
1. Shows the prime resources and attributes of the Byway in photos and text including America's Byways logo.
2. Includes a map that shows and locates primary resources that will interest and draw tourists.
3. Piece is multi-page and printed in a four color design scheme.
4. Primary purpose is to create awareness of the Byway and establish its identity to the local tourist market primarily, with secondary emphasis on reaching those considering visiting the Byway area.
* The brochure appeals to the market interests by representing the scenic beauty and variety of things to do.
* The brochure is broad-distributed in a variety of ways:
1. Rack insertion at local chambers of commerce and convention & visitors bureaus along the route
2. Distributed to Colorado Office of Tourism visitors offices around the state
3. Distributed at local stake holders locations that cater to tourists: resorts, motels, B&Bs, restaurants, stores, Etc.
4. Used as a response piece to direct mail or Internet inquiries
5. Handed out at local community presentations
6. Inserted in chamber brochure mailings of area tourism brochures
7. If the budget allows, the brochure could be inserted in area newspapers.
8. The brochures are being distributed by each area's chamber staff, Byway Board members and volunteers (Byway Ambassadors), Byway Welcome Centers, as well as delivery services where appropriate.
Task 4:Develop A Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway Web Site
Increasingly, tourism decisions are being made based on information presented online. The study of Tourism In Colorado Area revealed that a large percentage of visitors staying 1-2 nights learned of the accommodations through the Internet. Most of those staying 3-6 nights heard online.
The Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway Web site will be the cornerstone marketing piece for the program. It should be created as an independent entity that attractively sells the benefits and attributes of touring the Byway. Since the Board's goal for the initial years of the Byway's marketing campaign is to develop a program that would require minimum administration, a Web site offers an ideal self-sustaining, low maintenance vehicle. The Byway's site should have its own Web address and be accessed independently, but would also be a hyperlink-page accessed through as many other related sites as possible:
* Colorado's Office of Tourism's Byways Site
* Town/Chamber Sites
* Local CVBs and Private Tourism Or Special Interest/Recreation Sites
* All Motels, Resorts And Hospitality-Related Businesses
The site should include benefit/attribute descriptions, photos of key resources, map and resource locator and an interactive page for specials or news/events. The site could also have links to specific niche group interests, such as:
* State Parks
* Color Tours
* Nature Tours
* Lodging Facilities
* Other Pertinent Stake holders
Task 5: Implement An Ad Campaign To Drive Visitors To The Web Site
Since the Web site would serve as the primary marketing vehicle, a visit-producing ad campaign should be created to send interested travel prospects to the site for additional information and fulfillment. Ads could be placed in general travel-related publications and newspaper sections that would feature some element of the Byway theme. The ad campaign theme could be along the line of, "Discover our Pioneer Heritage, Travel The Santa Fe Trail", "Discover The Treasures Along The Road To The Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway," or, "Learn All The Things You Can Do On The Road To The Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway," as examples. The single goal would be to visit the Byway's Web site.
Ads could be considered for placement in publications, as well as banner ads on such Web sites as the Star Tribune Travel Pages online, as budget allows. As the budget permits, marketing direct mail campaigns could be directed to groups, tours, and special interest activities as bikers, bird watchers, etc.
Task 6:Develop A Press Kit For Media Contacts
Seeking publicity from specifically targeted travel writer contacts at newspapers in the target market areas would be a viable way to proceed for image-building exposure, as well as to solicit familiarization tours of the Byway corridor. The goal would be to inspire an article about the Byway, or better yet, to have the travel writers up to see the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway firsthand.
The press kit would include several informational items:
* Factual Profile Of The Byway & The Enabling Program
* Article On The Creation Of The Byway & Its Uniqueness
* Press Release On New Developments For Summer 2005
* Byway Brochure/Map
* Our Promotional CD called "True Stories of the Santa Fe Trail"
* A Pictorial CD of our Byway
The kit will be sent to travel editors of the newspapers and magazines as the budget permits.
Task 7: Establish A Comprehensive Local Publicity Campaign
In keeping with the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway Board's goals of emphasizing local promotion of the Byway first, a comprehensive three-part public relations program could be employed to maximize awareness and participation in Byway word-of-mouth promotion by residents of the local areas.
First: Lay the Groundwork with Community Outreach
Organize a band of Byway supporters who can serve as a roving team of Byway Ambassadors, spreading the word about the Byway to all the adjacent communities. The goal is to build awareness and community support, in effect, turning the people along the Byway into positive salespersons who continue to build and promote Byway travel by word-of-mouth. Ideally, this group of Byway Ambassadors would consist of a representative from each of the Byway anchor communities. Their function would be to make presentations and speak before community groups including fraternal and professional organizations, city administrations, private and public tourism organizations and convention & visitor's bureaus as well as local chambers of commerce. They will also help increase our membership. Public presentations could be scheduled at local community libraries and their services could be volunteered to local organizations seeking speakers. The Byway Manager would work with the Byway Ambassadors to introduce the Colorado Scenic Byway Grassroots training program to our Byway. The group would also assist with training the staff of chambers of commerce and convention & visitors bureaus on the benefits and offerings of the Byway for a tourist. Staff members should be trained to "talk up" the Byway to tourists seeking local experiences and color. Our grassroots Scenic Byway Training kit would be used as our training program throughout the byway.
Second: Establish A "Byway News & Views" Column In Local Newspapers
Ongoing publicity on a local basis for the Byway needs to be achieved. Each area's local newspaper could set up a Byway column that could run on a regular basis. The column could feature a unique attraction, natural resource, business or stories along the Byway. Perhaps one of the Byway Ambassadors could write the column on a weekly or monthly basis. Hopefully, the spirit of cooperation will exist to enable the newspapers to allow the Byway to publish in their pages as a feature at no charge.
Third: Get Local Schools Involved In Generating Byway Interest
A grassroots effort could be included in the public relations program whereby schools and organizations in the towns along the Byway could be approached to write their favorite story about the Byway, draw pictures of their favorite Byway sites or even have a contest on creative ways to promote the Byway (We could depict Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway on a deck of cards).
ACTION STEPS ALREADY TAKEN IN YEAR ONE, TWO AND THREE
Assemble and utilize the Byway Ambassadors presentation kit (Colorado
Scenic Byways Grassroots Training Kit).
Produce a CD about the Byway.
Consistently provide new and informative articles to the press and for our web site about the Byway.
Finalize the mission, logo revision and theme line.
Develop the Identity Implementation Plan for community acceptance and usage of the new Byway ID.
Develop the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway Web site.
Begin developing watchable wildlife areas.
Develop the media press kit for initial contact and develop day trips, tours and itineraries for publication to the media and Byway web site.
Establish nonprofit organizational entity with state and federal recognition.
Develop a Business Plan for Byway self sustainability.
Establish partnerships for Byway improvements and new projects.
Establish a Byway Visitors Center location.
ACTION STEPS WHICH NEED TO BE TAKEN
Organize Byway Ambassadors group and begin community information/education process.
Iniciate a merchants program for Byway sustainability.
Contact local newspapers for establishing a continuing Byway column; column written by Byway Organization member.
Develop initial cooperative arrangement/partnerships for promotion, insertion and placement with local chambers and stake holders.
Develop a visitors guide to the Byway.
Make repairs and needed updated broadcasts for our Auto Tour Route.
With the assistance of our Byway Manager during the first three years, the recommendations we are making for Year four of the program, and beyond, assume that our renewable seed grant will be in place for a total of five years and that by the year 2008 we will be a self-sustaining non profit Organization. Doing so will allow the program to expand and focus. While the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway should continue to educate the local market and promote to current visitors, the primary emphasis in this phase would prioritize reaching out to out-of-area specialty markets.
REACHING THE GENERAL MARKET-YEAR FOUR & BEYOND
Task 1: Continue Updating The Byway Brochure and create a Byway News Article.
Our scenic byway submits press releases to both Byway and state newspapers. We have has several articles appear in travel magazines and special newspaper inserts. We are requesting that Byway historical societies allow us to submit an article in their newsletters as well. Trinidad Historical Society, and Trinidad Chamber of Commerce has printed several articles for the byway thus far.
Task 2: Conduct A Local Media Ad Campaign Strategy
To continue with the Byway Board's goal of increasing sales to current tourists, persuading them to stay in the area longer, an ongoing local media campaign could be conducted during the third year and beyond. Local media advertising can be an effective way to cultivate awareness and affect travelers' decisions to experience the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway. Impacting a tourist when they're in the Byway corridor area for other travel reasons can be effective, either from the result of persuading them to travel the Byway while on their current getaway, or generating enough interest for them to take note and return to the Byway in the future. We need to create a Byway Visitors Guide for dissemination at visitors centers, motels and individual inquiries.
Communicate the benefits of exploring the natural playground that is the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway...Discover The Santa Fe Trail Beyond the Interstates.
The types of media that would be most viable are those that reach the tourist and a mobile market while they're out and about on vacation, or when they're planning to come to the area. As such, replacing and updating our radio broadcasts on the Byway could be helpful. Also, running ads in each of the chamber tourism publications for the key communities would be recommended as funds permit. Future chamber publications could include a page dedicated to the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway.
REACHING SPECIALIZED MARKETS-YEAR THREE & BEYOND
Two of the goals specified by the Byway Board is to work to preserve the Byway's natural amenities, its unspoiled environment and small town feel. Also, to emphasize the seasons equally in the marketing program. Developing a niche market advertising strategy can work toward the achievement of both those goals. This specialized strategy can appeal to the market's desires for natural, scenic, historical and active travel experiences. With the goal of inspiring a traveler to tour the entire Byway and not just a part of it, the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway's primary marketing strength is its connection to history and nature-based activities. By positioning and promoting the Byway's special features and activities to specialized markets, it will be working toward achieving both goals. For example, by developing a promotion that targets historical and scenic activities in the Byway's corridor will show the value and promote the preservation of these resources. Or, a promotion geared toward fall color tours will, by nature of the promotion, emphasize seasonal tourism.
The two types of special interest groups known to travel byways who appear to hold the most promise are the Outdoor Enthusiasts and Heritage Travelers. The interests of both match up well with the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway's strengths. Remember, Outdoor Enthusiasts tend to be younger with families and are more outdoor/nature oriented, seeking natural activity and adventure with their scenic experiences. Heritage Travelers tend to be a bit older and are more inclined to tour historic and cultural sites, are educationally-oriented and enjoy seeing scenic beauty. They often have older or grown children.
Developing the Packages They Want
The goal in developing niche marketing programs would be to give those with special activity interests what they want, and do so in an incentive-based program that packages their interest in a comfortable and cost-effective manner. By finding the strengths of the Byway and matching those to promotions that meets these tourists' special interests, a successful niche marketing program can result. Because the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway not only has a diversity of historical and recreational amenities, but also an abundance of varied lodging facilities, creating packages that include lodging is very possible and desirable.
These specialty marketing programs could be promoted in a variety of ways, such as by advertising in niche marketing publications and magazines as well as creating "Tours" pages on the Byway's Web site.
Attributes & Interests To Target
Matching Byway strengths with market interests, the following categories could be developed as incentives for coming to the area:
* Nature Tours, Hiking and Biking Trails
* The Scenic Santa Fe Trail & it's Mountains
* History & Quaint Towns of the Santa Fe Trail
* Wildlife & Agriculture on the Santa Fe Trail
*Trains and Coal Mining on the Santa Fe Trail
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SPECIALIZED MARKETING PROMOTIONS
The following concepts offer promise and opportunity for developing into marketing vehicles to attract visitors to the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway...
Interest: Nature Tours & Trails
Activity: Hike and Bike The Many Byway Trails
Strategy: Develop a Byway Hiking & Biking Package Program
* Outdoor Enthusiasts seek natural activities and adventure in their getaways. They want scenery with activity.
* The Byway corridor offers abundant trails and natural areas to enjoy.
* Multitude of hiking & interpretive trails in varied settings, from national & state forests.
* Numerous designated bike trails in the area.
* Promoting hiking and biking could be a three-season promotion, bringing tourists to the area in late spring through early fall.
* Abundant lodging accommodations, ranging from motels to resorts to campgrounds in all four Byway regions for packaging opportunities.
* Can promote TRANS-BYWAY TOURISM in most areas for short-stay market.
* Trail-based outdoor getaways are becoming increasingly popular.
* The conditions and maintenance of the trails and lack of developed interpretive sites/programs.
* Work with Byway area forests, parks, trails and lodging facilities to develop packages and interpretive sites.
* Target marketing opportunities offered by media and direct marketing.
* Expand Web site to include the program.
* Include program in a brochure
Interest: Scenic Forests & Lakes
Activity: Fall Color Tours Along The Byway
Strategy: Develop a Byway Fall Color Tour Package
* History Buffs seek scenic tours as a crucial part of their travel itinerary. It embodies the name, "Scenic," at the most scenic time of the year.
* Being older and a higher percentage retired, they have the time to take
shorter fall color trips.
* The Byway corridor offers an incredible abundance of scenic vistas and lakes for a grand autumnal scenic backdrop.
* More than 5 area lakes span the corridor.
* Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway, perhaps uniquely, spans three distinct types of terrain with its accompanying foliage and color changes:
* Mountainous vistas
* Promoting color touring can help increase business during the normal tourism downturn in fall.
* Abundant lodging accommodations, ranging from motels to resorts to campgrounds in all Byway regions for packaging opportunities.
* Can promote TRANS-BYWAY TOURISM in most areas for short-stay market.
* Travel routes need to be developed and timed and their color viewing opportunities detailed.
* Weather-dependent color season could hurt tourism
* Work with Byway area forests, parks and lodging facilities to develop packages.
* Marketing opportunities offered by travel media and direct mail.
* Expand Web sites to include the program.
* Include in newsletter/brochure
Interest: History & Quaint Towns
Activity: Interpretive Tour Of Historical & Archaeological Sites & Quaint Towns
Strategy: Develop a "Discover The Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway As It Used To Be"
* History Buffs seek historic, cultural and educational experiences.
* 41% of current Byway area tourists say they are interested in historic sites.
* Capitalize on tourism trend of heritage tourism, valuing "life seeing" over sightseeing.
* The Byway corridor has a variety of historic and archaeological sites:
* Arkansas River & ecosystems, historic buildings on National Register, Indian Rock art, Prehistoric Sites and Dinosaur Tracks.
* Archaeological sites at Comanche National Grasslands.
* Byway towns exhibit the charm and authenticity of the old Santa Fe Trail.
* The Santa Fe Trail as a travel destination in itself with living history activities along the trail.
* Abundant lodging accommodations in all Byway regions for packaging opportunities.
* Can promote TRANS-BYWAY TOURISM in most areas for short-stay market.
* Historic sites may not be significant and well-developed enough to constitute a tourism attraction
* Pioneer and prehistoric connotation of Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway is it attractive enough to lure visitors?
* Work with Byway area parks, towns/chambers and lodging
* Expand Web site to include the program
* Include in newsletter/brochure
* Market to local media
Interest: Wildlife & Agriculture or Trains and Coal Mining/Education
Activity: Birding & Farm Tours or Railroads and Mining Tours
Strategy: Develop a Multi-Day Tour Program Featuring The Outstanding Birding Trails and Unique Tours of Working Farms and The Archetecturual contributions made by Railroading and Coal Mining Tours
* History Buffs and Outdoor Enthusiast market types would be interested in these types of packages.
* The Byway corridor offers an outstanding number of opportunities for bird watching:
* Wildlife Refuges ,breeding grounds for migratory birds & other wildlife; also, historic buildings
* Largest population of breeding prairie chickens in the continental U.S.
* Snow Geese and many other migratory birds thrive in the grain-rich farmland and prairie habitat.
* Many premier trails exist in the Byway area for bird watching, with viewing of an abundance of bird species.
* Trails span the distance of the Byway.
* Packaged farm tours in the Colorado area provide a unique attraction and interesting educational opportunity.
* Packaged tours of old coal mining communities and closed mines and those which are still operating.
* Packaged tours of train rides, their historic stations, and the part trains played in the history of the Santa Fe Trail.
* Lodging accommodations in all Byway regions for packaging opportunities.
* Can promote TRANS-BYWAY TOURISM in all areas for short-stay market.
* Birding trails need to be well marked and clearly delineated as trails
* Birding routes need to be mapped and "tours" outlined in brochure form: what to see and where to see it, etc.
* Work with Byway area parks, refuges and farm tour operators to develop packages
* Develop lodging packages with area lodging operators and train operators
* Expand Web sites to include the program
* Include in newsletter, web site and create new brochures for tours
* Market to local media
2006 And Beyond
As the program evolves, the goal is to continue to develop and add tools that can market the Byway. For example, in the third year we envision having our Auto Tour Broadcast up and running and selling logo grams with traveler services announced along the Trail up ahead. This program will allow us to set up features along the Byway on tracks, virtually allowing tourists to listen to the Byway story as they travel and take advantage of overnight lodging, gas, restaurants and attractions as they travel through the area.
We will be developing new partnerships with Trinidad Historical Society, Colorado Historic Society, Trinidad History Museum, Comanche National Grasslands, National Forest Foundation for our future endeavors.
Future Projects include:
* Protection, promotion and preservation plan for DAR Markers.
* Radio Broadcasts back online with new messages and traveler services logo grams to support the program
* A Santa Fe Trail Visitors Center with an interactive media presentation at the center which will promote our multimedia available on the Byway
* An office space and meeting area for the Byway at the Santa Fe Trail Visitors Center.
* Additional interpretive signs about the Santa Fe Trail at the Colorado rest area (El Moro Exit) on I-25
* Develop Brochures on the wagon rutts and the trail markers
Probably the most critical long-term issues facing the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway are how the marketing program will be run, who will run it and how will it continue to exist financially? Indeed, the issues of administration and sustainability are critical to the very success of the marketing program, regardless of the quality of the concepts and strategies we develop. We can develop a marketing plan, create marketing tools and implement the program. But unless viable long-term administrative and financial programs are also put into place, we may not have the time to make the initial investment a success. So, it is important to consider the following needs and recommendations as a vital part of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway marketing plan.
There are several basics required for any organization to exist and function as a marketing entity. The organization needs staff. Staff needs office space to work out of to answer telephones, respond to inquiries and generally create a presence for the organization. These requirements are the first steps that the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway has taken on the road to marketing viability. A Byway manager has been hired and she has her our own office. She coordinates with the chambers, tourism boards and stakeholders, answers telephone and direct mail inquiries, gives responses to Web site inquiries and keeps the site updated and fresh. She runs the overall marketing and advertising program on a daily basis, develops and implements new programs and monitors the results by inquiring at visitor centers about their visitor data. Further responsibility is to assist with funding and grant writing for new byway projects. We have also been donated space at the Trinidad History Museum (A Colorado Historical Society Property) for a Byway visitors center and public access for meetings. They serve as the public contact for our organization and offer us in kind donated use of their space.
As previously detailed, the primary problem today is one of funding and commitment. Viable funding options need to be developed for years 2006 and beyond. And a person or persons from among the Byway stake holders need(s) to come forward to assume the mantle of raising continuing funds. The amount of funds needed to sustain such a future operation are difficult to determine and speculative at this time, because so much of the funding question is uncertain. That will be dependent on the ability of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway to obtain grant funding and the degree to which private sector dollars can be raised. How does a scenic byway establish financial sustainability beyond the initial governmental grant period? In our research, we spoke to the coordinators of two scenic byways that have begun to achieve independent financial viability over the past several years. The two byway models researched revealed two common funding similarities: private fund raising and grants from the National Scenic Byway Organization.
Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway is in its third year of designation as a National Scenic Byway and is receiving annual matching grants from the National Scenic Byways Organization of $25,000, requiring a 20% match of $6,250. ($31,250 annual grant total). This constitutes a majority of the annual funding they require. In addition, the Edge Of The Wilderness Scenic Byway has obtained grants from the Blandin Foundation and the Itasca County Community Development Commission. They raise private funds by soliciting community donations of $200 a piece from the seven towns along the Byway, for which the communities receive a Byway Supporter certificate and recognition in the local chamber tourism brochure. Administratively, the Byway has an office set up at the Chippewa National Forest office in Marcell. The Forest service provides a central receptionist who staffs their office and is trained to answer questions about the Byway. From a marketing perspective, they have established partnerships with the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and the Convention & Visitors Bureau to place and buy cooperative advertising for the Byway.
The Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway is 300 miles long and was designated as a National Scenic Byway in chunks since 1995-96. It is also receiving annual grants of $25,000 from the National Scenic Byways Organization. This funding also constitutes a significant part of their operational dollars. Additional grant monies have come from MNDOT, the DNR and the MN Historical Society. This Byway has established a more extensive program for private fundraising. They have formed a 15-person group they call the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway Alliance, comprised of economic development professionals, museum staff, state park managers, chamber staff and others. This groups' function is coordinated by the Regional Development Commission, which provides the fiscal and administrative support for the Byway. The Alliance goes into the communities to raise private funds for the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway through corporate and organizational donations and sponsorships. Administratively, the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway's financial and administrative affairs are handled by the regional development commission at Appleton. Calls to the toll-free phone number are taken by the St. Peter Chamber of Commerce and they handle the information response pieces. The Byway coordinator works for the regional development commission. Their marketing has also been done cooperatively with local chambers and convention & visitors bureaus. Some of the brochure pieces that the Byway had created were designed to be cross-utilized by local chambers, so production costs were shared.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUSTAINABILITY
The path to financial sustainability for the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway can begin with a four-step process:
STEP ONE: DESIGNATE A PERSON OR GROUP FOR PRIVATE FUNDRAISING
Almost any type of public funding the Byway will receive requires a match of some proportion of private dollars. That, coupled with the need to raise private funds for adequate long-term funding, necessitates that a program be developed by the Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway for ongoing private sector dollars. A person or group needs to spearhead that program. Perhaps, this could be the Byway Ambassadors group we proposed in the first section of the Marketing Strategy section of the marketing plan.
The goal would be to contact targeted businesses, organizations and groups
along the Byway to seek supporters. A brief presentation would have to be
made to get them on board. This effort could be introduced by a press release
to all local media, announcing the purpose of the program.
Several fund raising models could be used:
1. Offer the donor a sponsorship of a mile of the Byway. Our 184 mile byway would allow at least 46 sponsors from the various communities, each of whom could contribute on an annual basis. For their sponsorship, they could receive a listing of appreciation in the Byway and chamber publications, as well as on the Byway's Web site and radio broadcasts. A certificate could be given. The sponsors could be honored at an annual dinner with the press invited. An ad of appreciation could also be run once a year in the local papers.
2. Form a Byway Organization with the membership fee being an annual donation to the Byway fund. Members of the organization could be entitled to certain privileges that have been cooperatively arranged in the communities at stake holders' businesses, such as discounts at area restaurants, lodging facilities, attractions, etc. A membership card is issued to each member.
3. Simple Byway Sponsorship for which donors would receive a certificate to display and public recognition.
4. Radio Broadcast logo grams. For their donations we give them a spot on our Broadcast to encourage travelers to stop up ahead for their services.
STEP TWO: DEVELOP COOPERATIVE PARTNERSHIPS WITH LOCAL TOURISM ORGANIZATIONS
Cost efficiencies can be gained in future marketing and advertising by co-developing ads and materials with the local tourism organizations, allowing them to be cross-utilized. Also, cross promotion of one organization by the other could engender cost sharing of promotional development.
STEP THREE: EXPLORE OTHER SOURCES OF PUBLIC FUNDING
Explore and apply for other grant funds.
ADMINISTRATIVE/SUSTAINABILITY ACTION STEPS
Step One: Decide on a viable Byway business plan for 2006 and beyond to follow once seed grant funds are no longer available.
Step Two: Designate a fund raising person(s) for private donations. Organize the call program and begin the community effort.
Step Three: Begin cultivation of cooperative marketing partnerships with area chambers, other Byways, state and local and tourism promoters.
Step Four: Explore what additional sources of public funding are available.
YEAR ONE: Completed in 2003 & 2004
* Create Identity Materials:
* Mission Statement
* Theme Line
* Logo Revision
* Develop ID Implementation/Education Program
* Create A Byway Web Site
* Implement An Ad Program For Web site
* Prepare A Media Kit Seeking FAM Tours
* Produce A Brochure/Map Of The Byway
* Hiring a Director/Facilitator and establishing an office
* Establish a Local PR Campaign
* Assemble The Byway Ambassador Group
* Prepare A Presentation Package
* Establish Local News Coverage
* Solicit Community Participation
COMMENTS: Protecting area resources would be a function of a Corridor Management Plan in connection with National Scenic Byway Status. Long-term management and the paid facilitator are functions of budget and sustainability.
YEAR TWO: Completed in 2004 & 2005
* A Newsletter
* Rather than have our own newsletter we are supplying those historic societies and others with our news to put in their newsletters. We do not have the funding for our own as of yet.
* Continue/Expand Web site information
* Continue Byway Ambassador Program using our CO Scenic Byway Grassroots Training Kit.
* Reevaluating the goals and funding needs for year two and three
* Create a Local Media Campaign
* Begin to Develop Niche Marketing Programs
* Seek funds for repair and restructure of our Radio transmissions to include logo grams with traveler services integrated.
* Promote Nature tours and trails
* Promote Scenic forests and lakes
* Promote History and quaint towns, their sites of importance and museums.
* Promote Wildlife, agriculture and Agri tourism efforts for byway communities.
YEAR THREE: 2006 and 2007
* Program well established with a growing volunteer staff working to secure sustainability
* Developing the next generation of marketing materials
* Create a Business Plan
* Develop a Merchants Program which will contribute income for byway staff
* Byway Capacity Building
*Revisit our marketing plan, interpretive plan and business plan each year so that our Byway program remains sustainable.
TASK COMPLETED DATE
1. Mission Statement Finalized - Completed June 2003
2. Theme Line Chosen Finalized - Completed June 2003
3. Logo Revision - Completed July 2003, Completed 2006
4. ID Implementation Program - Completed July 2003
5. Web Site Site Launched - Finalized May 2003, Seek funding for makeover and merchants program inclusion- Begin 2005 grant round, not yet received
6. Brochure and Map - Finalized October 2003, Began new brochure development 2006 will create a map in 2007 to complete the final piece.
8. Press Kits - Finalized December 2003, updated 2006
9. Revisit our Marketing Plan to include Byway stake holders changes and additions - Completed February 2004 and June 2006.
10. Revisit our Corridor Management Plan and conduct a Scenic Byway assessment - Completed August 2004
11. Develop 3 watchable wildlife areas with interpretive signage, located at Timpas and Picket Wire Canyonlands, Comanche National Grasslands. Completed September 2004. An additional four signs were created in 2005 for our two Colorado Welcome Centers in Trinidad and Lamar which tell visitors when, how and what wildlife to look for and lists 55 public places to watch wildlife on Colorado's Santa Fe Trail.
12. Cultivate Cooperative Mktg. Partnerships With Area Chambers/CVBs. Ongoing - Byway Ambassador Group Formed/Program Organized March-April 2004. Funding limitations have prevented any major co-operative marketing ventures and we are seeking funding to begin this element of our marketing.
13. Byway Ambassadors' Presentation Package Prepared May 2004- Use the Colorado Scenic Byway Grassroots training kit with visitors centers and welcome centers. Began March 2004- Ongoing and will continue to use as key foundation of outreach program.
14. Fund raising Call Program Organized Began June 2004- continues
15. Seek grants for Scenic Byway improvements and marketing. Began 2004 and continues throughout Byway existence.
16. Repair and restructure our Radio Broadcast for auto tour route to include log grams. Begin 2005 grant round, not yet received
17. B-24 memorial plaque dedication ceremony at mile marker 15, Hwy 350. Completed September 2004.
18. Develop a Business Plan for our Scenic Byway Program - Completed 2006
19. Develop Merchants Program- Begin 2005 grant round, not yet received
20. Update and reprint marketing materials. Begin 2005 grant round, not yet received
21. Establish partnerships for Byway sustainability and improved stewardship of Byway. Began 2005
Slagle, Holly 2002. Lake Country Scenic Byway Marketing Plan. MN
Geiger, Debbie 2000. Florida Scenic Highways Workshop, recommendations.
Haskett, Richard 2003. Minnesota Scenic Byway Commission, recommendations.
Veverka, John A. 1994. Interpretive Master Planning. Acorn Naturalists, CA
Veverka, John A. 2000. Interpretive Planning for the New Millennium: Outcome and experience based planning strategies. Legacy, Volume 11, Number 3, May/June 2000.