Colorado Springs’ Move Beyond Paid Membership

The city's convention and visitors bureau is trying a new tactic in an effort to attract more tourism dollars.

They may not be members, but the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is trying to make room for them.

The tourism-based organization is offering new advertising options to nonmembers, expanding its base in an effort to encourage success for the city’s tourism efforts at large. More details:

The plan for partners: In an effort to better cater to online travel researchers and to expand the CVB’s reach, the group is moving away from the traditional membership model it has used and moving toward something more akin to a partner model, letting approved businesses advertise on the group’s site for free. The ads would be less prominent than other ads on the site but offer opportunities to help sell the product to the broader community. “The benefit to the city is we can now really promote everybody and everything,” the bureau’s president, Doug Price, told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “It will give the city and the county a much more complete story to tell.”

The perks for paying members: Being a member of the CVB still has its benefits, however—including advertising in the city’s official visitor guide, which prints 550,000 copies per year. On top of this, the marketing partnerships, which range in price from $200 to $8,000 per year, also receive higher placement online than free partners. The goal is to encourage increased membership. “Visitors will get a full representation of what the community has to offer,” said Amy Long, the group’s vice president of marketing and partnerships, “(but) we are recognizing and giving better value to the marketing partners.”

Is a freemium-style system like this the best way to grow audience while keeping the one you already have? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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