Residents enlisted to help sell Boulder

BOULDER — The Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau wants residents to be “ambassadors” for the city.

Folks at the bureau want residents to direct visitors to a favorite local spot, whether it’s Chautauqua Park, a rooftop watering hole on Pearl Street or the Boulder Creek Path. The bureau has created an “ambassador” video to provide ideas on what to say and do when engaging visitors.

Convention and Visitors Bureau staff unveiled the “ambassador” video as well as visitor statistics for Boulder collected from 3,445 surveys completed between April 1, 2012 and March 20.

Copies of the video are available to Boulder businesses, to encourage employees and others to be friendly to visitors, said Mary Ann Mahoney, executive director of the bureau. Some 66 percent of visitors mentioned “friendly people” as a positive aspect of the city when they visited Boulder, based on preliminary results of the survey, which was conducted by RRC Associates in Boulder.

“This (video) is really timely, and it dovetails with the findings from the research. It gives us the opportunity to capitalize on the friendly people that Boulder is known for, and the activities available here,´ said Dave Belin, director of consulting services at RRC, who presented the information to Convention and Visitors Bureau members.

The 2012-13 survey also showed that visitors to Boulder stayed slightly longer than they did in 2009-10, based on a previous survey done by RRC for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Visitors spent slightly less per trip than they did in the 2009-10 survey, and their average incomes were slightly higher.

On the “friendliness” front, when visitors were asked to discuss positive impressions of the city, 67 percent mentioned the “pedestrian-friendly” aspect of the city; 56 percent highlighted the community’s general healthy attitude; and 52 percent brought up its “environmental awareness.” In addition, 79 percent mentioned “scenery;” and 69 percent mentioned “variety of attractions,” according to survey findings.

Visitors stayed an average of 3.6 nights in Boulder in the 2012-2013 survey, Belin said. Visitors stayed an average of 3.4 nights in the 2009-10 survey. They spent an average of $648 during their stay in Boulder during 2012-13, compared with an average of $684 in the previous survey. More day visitors than overnight visitors were polled in the latest survey, one of the goals of RRC for the latest survey, and day visitors tend to spend less money than overnight visitors, Belin said.

The average household income for visitors who took the survey was $115,478, compared with $112,000 in 2009-10, Belin said. The median Colorado household income is $87,500.

Some 89 percent of survey-takers said they would recommend a Boulder visit to a friend or business colleague, and 87 percent said they would return, according to the 2012-13 survey.

Some other fun facts from the 2012-13 survey:

• Of people who said they were in Boulder to visit family and/or friends, 74 percent said they were staying in a hotel.

• When people were asked the main reason they came to visit, 27 percent said “recreation,” followed by 18 percent who said “friends/family.”

• Top attractions visited included the Pearl Street Mall (79 percent); the University of Colorado Boulder (40 percent); Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (38 percent); and the Boulder Farmer’s Market (21 percent).

• Of the visitors surveyed, 71 percent flew to Colorado and 48 percent rented a car to come to Boulder.

Survey respondents came in all shapes and sizes, and were surveyed in a variety of ways, Belin said. About 1,440 people completed surveys at survey kiosks, which were set up at different locations and were moved at various times, Belin said. Another 866 people did a short interview survey with a person, which included a Web-based follow-up, he said.

People who requested information on the Internet and agreed to fill out surveys made up another 891 of survey-takers, Belin said. The final group of 248 responses came from people attending CU athletic events, he said. While about 600 people attending CU athletic events filled out surveys, RRC weighted the total number to make the overall survey reflect a more accurate picture of all visitors to Boulder, Belin said.

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