“This gives the Visitor’s Center the opportunity to really showcase the destination in a manner that is more professional and more on par with other destination resorts,” said Telluride Tourism Board/Marketing Telluride Chief Executive Officer Scott McQuade.
“I’ve always suffered a bit of visitor’s center envy,” he continued. “This location alleviates that.”
The move actually represents a return of the nerve center of the region’s bustling tourist economy to its former home. In 2003 the Visitor’s Center relocated from the offices above the grocery story at the entrance of town to a modular structure owned by the marketing organization. That building was placed in a public right-of-way located to the west of the intersection of Colorado Avenue with South Davis Street where it has made turning onto Colorado Avenue a sometimes precarious proposition by blocking the view of oncoming cars ever since.
This November the organization’s extended lease on the property will expire, so it had no choice but to find a new home.
Formerly the ResortQuest vacation rental check-in office, little more than cleaning and a fresh coat of paint were required to get the new space up and running. At about 700 square feet, it more than triples the size of the previous site.
At the old location, “if we got any more than five people at a time it was actually very hard to move around,” McQuade said. “It was very cramped quarters.”
But the move means people will be able to roam more freely as they get their questions answered, or even have a seat while perusing brochures highlighting the region’s attractions and offerings.
And that could translate into higher sales and lodging tax revenues for the two towns.
“When we look at the old numbers we were doing more traffic in the old location and making more lodging revenue in bookings,” said McQuade, indicating that foot traffic at the smaller location was 120 people a day during peak periods while the old location brought in nearly twice that number.
“Lodging revenue was twice what it is now,” he said, explaining that the center was often able to turn daycationers into overnight guests.
“By time we were done explaining all there is to do and dispelling myths that lodging is $350 a night, we were often converting people to spend a night or two with us.”
But basic needs being what they are, guests will more likely appreciate the easy access to public restrooms at the new location.
“At the old location we always had to tell them to go elsewhere,” said McQuade. “It was not the most welcoming atmosphere and people were surprised and shocked that we didn’t have public restrooms.”
McQuade said he isn’t sure where the old Visitor’s Center building will go next, but with the lease on the land running out it will have to go somewhere sooner rather than later.
“We do have some proposals that we can execute on removing the building,” he said.
“The building will be recycled one way or another.”