Glenwood seeks new image |

Glenwood seeks new image

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent

Most people along Colorado’s Front Range view Glenwood Springs in a favorable light and do not want it to become more like Aspen or Vail.

They prefer to enjoy the city as a relaxing getaway best known for its large hot springs pool, natural beauty and authentic, small-town character.

That’s what Kelton Research found in 482 “online interviews” conducted among adults along the Front Range for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. The chamber commissioned the study as part of a three-phase project to develop a brand image for Glenwood.

About 83 percent of people in the Front Range have a positive impression of Glenwood, with 53 percent of respondents saying they have a “very positive” impression of Glenwood Springs and 30 percent answering “somewhat positive,” according to the study.

What’s the worst thing about visiting Glenwood Springs?

Nothing, the study found was the top answer, with a smaller handful of people saying the negatives were traffic congestion, high prices, too many tourists or that Glenwood is too far away.

“Glenwood Springs is at a pivotal time,” said Kate Collins, the Glenwood Springs vice president of tourism marketing. “I really believe it’s on the verge of becoming it’s own destination” for people on the Front Range.

This first phase sought to identify what people already like about Glenwood. The next phase of additional research will focus on where emphasis might be added to attract additional visitors while retaining the core tourism market and the final phase will develop a new “brand image” for Glenwood, Collins said. She described the final phase as a similar process to what Steamboat Springs has done by associating western images like cowboy hats with their resort. Glenwood’s image would strive in a different direction to capture the uniqueness of the area.

The study included people who haven’t visited Glenwood, people who have and people who have visited within the last year.

“We know from our research that people come here to relax,” Collins said, adding that 85 percent of visitors to Glenwood are from the Front Range. The study recommends Glenwood do what it does best already. This means staying true to the relaxed, small-town charm and preserving the atmosphere that lured tourists in originally. At the same time, Glenwood should expand summer and fall activities with free events and educational events, the study adds.

“Do not try to emulate competitive towns like Vail or Aspen,” it says. “Visitors would prefer not to have the snobbery of those destinations ruin the quaint, intimate feel of Glenwood Springs.”

While the existing adventure park is a positive attraction for visitors, the need for an adrenaline rush stops close to there, the study says, calling Glenwood a “place to wind down, not wind up.”

Bars and after hours entertainment should be similarly relaxed, the study adds.

The top two most interesting activities visitors would like to see were a Taste of Colorado event and “street parties and festivals with live bands.” A Colorado Film festival and “Christmas in July” were the two activities visitors were least interested in, according to the study.

Here’s one response to a question asking about adding larger resort town amenities: “Why would you want to be overpriced like Aspen with their stuck-up people and rich people posers? Or for that matter, Vail, where everything is crammed along the bottom of the valley, with row upon row of overpriced hotels and shops. Please don’t become that!”

Kelton Research says the margin of error is plus or minus 4.46 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.

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