|Mike Deaver presents the Utah: Life Elevated session at the Castle Valley Economic summit.|
Utah has adopted the brand, Utah: Life Elevated. This campaign to reach out of state tourists was explained at the Castle Valley Summit held recently in Castle Dale. Mike Deaver, deputy director for the Utah Office of Tourism said that Castle Valley is very much a part of the whole picture of Life Elevated. Recently a writer from Britain came to Utah to write a story and she was particularly interested in dinosaurs so she was sent to Eastern Utah and ended up writing a story about the dinosaurs in Utah and encouraging everyone in Britain to visit Utah.
Gov. Jon Huntsman will hold his next governor's tourism conference in Price next May. "Brands have a promise," said Deaver. He showed a presentation with various logos from national brands and their recognition value. McDonalds has had the same logo since they opened in 1968. It is recognized worldwide and the product is the same all over the world. "There is a mental association with brands. Just do it. What does that mean, what does that stand for? The Marlboro man represents the American West to a tourist" said Deaver. He mentioned Starbucks Coffee customers visit the store approximately 18 times a month.
Other states outspend Utah 20 to 1 on advertising to promote their state. Utah's goal is to develop name and site recognition outside of Utah. Give people a visual perception of what it means to be in Utah.
"Vegas is an adult playground. They are true to who they are and their marketing reflects that. Dining out in Vegas produces more revenue now than gambling. We are in our second year now with Life Elevated. The legislature appropriated $18 million for a two year campaign. When Colorado found out, they appropriated $20 million. Colorado has 27 ski resorts and Utah has 13. This is who we compete with," said Deaver.
Tourism visitors add $5.5 billion to the economy of Utah. Without them each household in Utah would have to pay $464 more in taxes. If we can increase visitors, if they stay longer the revenue could double. Tourism has a major effect on Utah's economy. Counties depend on tourism. Daggett County relies almost entirely on tourism from Flaming Gorge."
When surveys were done on out of state people and the images they associated with Utah were the luge, and Zion's National park.
"All out of state tourism money is clean money. We don't have to educate their kids and things like that," said Deaver.
Through the surveys and image associations it was discovered that people just aren't familiar with Utah in other parts of the country. When shown images of Utah attractions the people placed the attractions in other states.
They don't know what Utah has to offer. They think Lake Powell is in Arizona and they place Delicate Arch in Arizona also.
In the promotional material created by Utah: Life Elevated, the goal is to create an image for Utah. Immerse yourself in the Utah experience, Utah is a place where you can have an authentic experience with nature; a place to reconnect with personal values. Get out of the grind of daily life and elevate yourself with a Utah experience.
Ads have been placed in several national magazines as well as television spots in selected markets to increase Utah awareness and ultimately bring visitors into the state. Mock ads were shown to selected groups of people which showed the varied terrain of Utah and none of the people could identify it as being in Utah and no one believed the variety of landscapes could be in one place.
Some people described the photos as spiritual, but not a religious place. In every group surveyed there was at least one person who had been to Utah who said it was the best vacation they had ever taken. Some people had the idea there wasn't a direct flight into Salt Lake City which is far from the truth. Utah has more direct flights into the state than most places.
The travel bureau hopes the ads will appeal to the young and old alike. Utah is a diverse state with both summer and winter attractions, five national parks and 42 state parks. Utah offers culture with the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City. Utah offers places for solitude. "Coming to Utah will change the way you feel," said Deaver. Tourists say they met nice people here, they were able to get a drink, they were close to the mountains; 30 minutes from the airport to the ski lift. They were rejuvenated and validated by coming here.
"Life is elevated in Utah, just look around from Lake Powell to Snowbird. It's all about the elevation. People who come here love it. It's not that people have a bad perception of Utah, they just have no perception. They have no concept about Utah as a tourist destination," said Deaver.
Other projects include working with the Utah Department of Transportation to update the welcome signs into the state. Representatives are also working with the United Kingdom, Japan, China and Germany to bring tourists from out of the country into Utah.
Large truck trailers are being fitted as rolling billboards with scenes from Utah traveling the nation making deliveries and also serving as an advertising tool to promote Utah.
Work will continue to brand Utah as a tourist destination and recreational playground. Deaver encouraged everyone to work together to make sure visitors to Utah have a great experience and will want to return over and over and bring friends.