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The Power of Community Pride

Hickenlooper_portrait_blue_shirt_leftAs we travel this country, working with Destination Marketing Organizations, we can, within hours, sense the communities that are ascendant...and those that are hopeless. And, it all comes down to pride.

The other day, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper encapsulated that reality when he riffed on the Denver Bronco's dismal season: "As a former restaurateur, I can tell you it's an economic issue as well. When the Broncos won, our sales would be up 6 to 7 percent for the first couple days, (and) for the week, it would average 4 to 5 percent. And when they lose, you're down 3 to 4 percent. I think I can speak for the retail business community that the Broncos better start winning."

So, let's take this concept to the hundreds of communities that don't boast a pro team. What's your pride factor? Has a major employer shut its doors? Does the streetscape in your Downtown look like a gap-toothed sailor? Is the High School Basketball Team 0-8?

And, are local businesses feeling the malaise that has settled over your town? 

This is why Destination Marketing Organizations can no longer be forced to only focus on a "Heads in Beds" strategy. While filling our lodging partners' rooms in clearly part of our charge, giving locals something to cheer about is just as important to the long term viability of our communities.

DMOs need to be that cheerleader more than ever. And, Colorado's Governor gets it more than most.

Bill Geist

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