Martelon Takes Helm at Telluride Tourism Board
by Martinique Davis
Apr 24, 2011 | 6531 views | 7 7 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<b>THE NEW FACE OF MTI</b> – Michael Martelone is the new CEO and president of Marketing Telluride Inc. (File photo)
THE NEW FACE OF MTI – Michael Martelone is the new CEO and president of Marketing Telluride Inc. (File photo)
TELLURIDE – A first trip to Telluride is, in the hearts and minds of many who travel here, is like finding a long lost love.

Telluride’s staggering scenery and its colorful locals are easy to fall in love with; what’s more difficult, however, is keeping that adoration alive once the vacation’s over.

Reenergizing the enthusiasm of those smitten with this off-the-beaten-path destination is one keystone of successful resort marketing, and represents just one of the many target initiatives of new Telluride Tourism Board/Marketing Telluride Inc. president and CEO Michael Martelon.

Martelon is profusely enthusiastic about Telluride and Mountain Village’s potential to capture and recapture visitors’ romantic imaginations – which, on a more corporeal level, equates to more visitors, and in turn, more revenue flowing into Mountain Village and Telluride.

“We’re on solid ground,” says the organization’s new marketing guru, who took over for outgoing MTI/Telluride Tourism Board president Scott McQuade on March 21. “In my mind, it’s not about changing the marketing or the brand; it’s about leveraging the marketing and the brand more fully than it has been in the past.”

By “leveraging the marketing and brand more fully,” Martelon means he make a pronounced effort to reengage the visitors who’ve been here before – the people he calls Telluride “loyalists” – to, essentially, do the Telluride Tourism Board’s marketing work for them.

“Our markets are more emotionally engaged in the brand than most. People want to come here not because we tell them they want to, but because they feel they want to. I believe we can take those loyalists and turn them into ambassadors for Telluride, instead of them going back home and becoming long lost loves,” Martelon says.

Transforming loyalists into ambassadors is just one of the small yet significant undertakings Martelon plans to tackle as he steps into his new role as gatekeeper for the region’s advertising and marketing efforts. Telluride Tourism Board/MTI is a nonprofit community organization dedicated to promoting tourism in Telluride, Mountain Village and the region as a whole.

While he has been at the helm of Telluride and Mountain Village’s principal marketing association for only a few weeks, it’s immediately clear that Martelon is a man who organically understands the merits of dynamic marketing. He steps into the role with more than 25 years in travel in tourism, running marketing operations at large companies in Boston and Denver. His client list spans the spectrum, from the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and Caesar’s Atlantic City hotel and casino to the Massachusetts Port Authority (the entity that runs Boston’s Logan Airport) and New York City’s Sheraton Hotels. He prompted a successful marketing campaign for MacWorld, the major annual Macintosh expo and conference, and created partnerships for some of his past clients with groups like the New York Yankees and Boston Pops. He has also done marketing for resort communities like Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and islands in the Bahamas.

After leaving Boston in 2003, he returned to his hometown of Denver where he worked as a marketing consultant.

While Martelon brings a comprehensive background in advertising and marketing to his new post, he pledges that the Telluride Tourism Board won’t see fundamental changes on account of his new role there. Instead, Martelon promises to work within more subtle channels to prompt definitive results for Telluride and Mountain Village businesses.

What Martelon brings is what he calls the “small nuances,” aimed at creating stronger interest and desire for the destination throughout the market. Attracting more bookings before and after summer festivals, and not just during the popular festivals, as well as leveraging locals’ voices to tell the story of Telluride, are just some of the nuances Martelon hopes to incorporate into the Telluride Tourism Board’s marketing cache.

Additionally, Martelon wants to help prepare the local business community for a turnaround in the economic climate.

“We’re seeing signs of [the economy] turning the corner, and we want to be prepared to capitalize on that,” he says.

Martelon and wife Jenna have two children, Josh (11) and Chloe (8.)

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April 28, 2011
Mr Telluride Free Press:

Al, you are a sage and always comment with great conviction and well thought out comments. Thank you for your contribution to my local knowledge.

I do realize I like a stirred pot and sometimes just put one out there to rile the establishment and the corporate welfare bunch...but I do honestly believe that the town could prosper from some decent leadership.

Presently, none found. Delves has a good heart but the rest of them are awful. What cracks me up is how arrogant they are; most of us who have settled here recently ran huge corporate divisions and the like that dwarf the local big shots. This latest disaster, the Bear Creek hijacking, is a prima facie case that demonstrates our failed leadership-at every level-ToT, BOCC, residents, Feds, you know who, all of them...

Ok, I agree, no Chineses jackets, Element 52 concrete is hapless, the greenies are engaged in self love and self congratulation..patting themselves on the back and Rome burns..meanwhile, my Aspen business interests and home are back on the upswing..and here in Telluride..moribund..

Thanks Telluride Free Press...for your thoughts.
April 28, 2011
A couple of "sober" observations.

First, let's give this guy the benefit of the doubt. All the other nuances and pet peeves of individuals who post (including myself) are simply shouting into the wind. Martelon has nothing to do with pricing or the pot holes so let's pray he does a good job of marketing and let's target the areas where he is not responsible to the appropriate entity. If he fails, I am sure "the town without a bellyache" will run him out of the valley while blaming him for everything from crumbling streets to high gas prices.

Sorry Matthew, but giving away cheap Chinese made jackets is not going to revive our local economy and frankly I like the pick axe logo. It is called branding and to use your words - it's something I know a little about. Simple but elegant is much better than a cartoon character skiing in the snow.

We do have problems, there is no doubt. So let's list them:

Quality of construction - Have you taken the time to look at the crumbling concrete stairs at Element 52? Have you taken a look at the shoddy worn Cascades? Like the cheap Chinese jackets, they were built with one thought in mind, "make as much money as you can on a poorly assembled product and run for the hills. Walk the streets sometime and look at the poor masonry, shoddy exteriors, and the quick-builds we push off as luxury.

Rude People: Your comment about those that disagree with you as being drunks is a good example. Although I often disagree with Face and Responsible, I appreciate the differing opinions. You just never know when you might learn something. Telluride does have a problem with arrogance and many locals have a self-inflated perception of importance. This translates into rude and damaging behavior that has more of an impact on the economy than any lack of freebies given to tourists.

Ignoring Problems: As I wrote in my book about Telluride (Exodus of Angels), locals and our public servants simply do not want to tackle the problems that we face. Telluride is all about feeling good and frankly, being forthright and honest in dealing with our challenges is a "downer". Streets are crumbling but we are worried about some rodents on the Valley Floor. Neighbors are losing their homes but we make a "global impact" by banning one kind of plastic product. These things do nothing to improve the quality of life for locals or visitors but hey, it makes us feel better.

Lack of accountability: "It's not my fault" should be the town motto. The arrogance mentioned above carries over to this area. Arrogant people never admit they are wrong. Honestly, is any Realtor or Greenie holding the town council responsible for our current state of affairs? Nope. The same voters will put the same people in office over and over again. Cocaine and heroin flooding town? "It's not our problem and the tourists don't know about it so who cares?" Do we care that we have an overabundance of public employees cruising around in town vehicles to shuttle friends and family back and forth from Lawson Hill? Naw, we are a small town and they work really, really, really hard. << We are in for a tough time this Summer. Yes, Bluegrass is sold out but I can guarantee you that the tax revenue from retail and restaurant sales will be flat at best. $5.00 and $6.00 gas is going to strain even the most generous visitors. While I am glad you sold 30 condos (really?) the economic fact is that these sales rarely translate into long term financial gains. Once RETT is collected, the condos sit empty for 90% of the year.

Let's tackle our problems by holding those who are to blame accountable and refraining from disparaging those that simply speak out.

Good luck Mr. Martelon. Welcome to the the bitchiest place on earth. If things get too awful, just do what I do during a visit to the porta-potties at bluegrass. Put a little gardenia scent on the tip of your nose and ignore the sh*t that was dumped before you arrived.

April 27, 2011
Hello Mr. Matthew 4 U:

Yes, 30 condos have sold; I think all of them in the Peaks and these were previously the coveted hot beds.

Now they are semi hot; some of them will be leased under a Peaks management plan as hot beds and then revert to cold beds.

This is because we do not have enough people coming to Telluride and because there is no shortage of people in the US it forces us to analyze why other ski communities prosper and we do not.

The reason, of course, is that we are priced to high for the middle class. Don't look any further; this is the reason.

Pricing is controlled by ............................

Look at what happens when condo prices fall; 30 condos sell!

Yep, Mr. Matthew, great idea on some cheap Chinese jackets with Telluride on them...I prefer Head equipment myself but go for it.

Martelon, work to lower prices and bring people here and then the hotels will build again.

Ignore the pressure to conform and fall in line...this is the problem with Telluride..the falling in line is taking us off the cliff....

Except for Bear Creek..that cliff was so mishandled it is a constant source of amusement.

Good luck. Remember prices...value, variety. Not Chinese Tshirts and High Prices...
April 27, 2011
Hi Michael Martelon; this is subject I know something about; you are 100% correct, it is mostly a function of turning short term tourists into long term dedicated fans, and having those people go home and promote T-ride - do it with products purchased here. This may seem silly to some; although kindly note I can sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo, so, take it as you may; I have long felt that T-ride should sell jackets at cost to the tourists (with an uber-cool T-ride logo, not the stupid mining pick) there is a company in China that makes jackets very inexpensively, called China Tech or something like that, the jackets are reversable, the sleeves unzip; and they have cool custom logos you can design, and wholesale for about $8 and retail for $45; T-ride should sell them to tourists for $8, or give them for free to anyone who pays the $98 window lift ticket price; so the tourists go home to Chicago, etc., with the jacket and promote T-ride. There should also be a T-ride, black, credit card similar to the Amex black card, there is a company that makes these cheaply for VISA; and, last but not least all the websites promoting T-ride need to make T-ride look more enticing photographically; there is no local photographer who can properly photograph the place, repeat, there is no local photographer who can properly photograph T-ride (except that Dave Riley has some good photos on his blog but the nitwits who made the Telski website have them buried in the back); so, step one is to find a talented photographer and upgrade the web presence, come up with a better logo. Kindly keep the faith and ignore the drunks who post here from time to time. Yes, T-ride is the best place, it is an undiscovered gold mine; even Dave Chapman knows that. 30 condos sold this week.

Welcome Mike :-) let's do it !!
April 26, 2011
Heyduke-back from the dead...

Rolled on floor and laughed my a@@ off...have you met?

Yes, a pawn.

Yes..if you stay...

Meanwhile, Rome burns. Main-street is now resembling Mountain Village ... 40 - 50 % occupancy including some of the best locations - empty...we have two restaurants open in town and since no one goes to Mountain Village anymore they probably have only the coffee shop open...

Yes! High Prices is the marketing plan! Yes! We are Zermatt of Colorado..hard to get to but we have 2 good restaurants and about 3 mediocre hotels struggling along..they have 100 of each and a live Ski Village year round and no movies about Lost People. Have you seen the movie about Lost People? Don't miss it; at Between the Covers for $20 bucks.

Yes! Martelson. The Answer in 1984 speak is High Prices! Chute skiing! Bear Creek! (Er, oops, we kind of sort of really did er, poorly uh, quite didnt, uh, mebbe next time, uh, pull this one off; now in the hands of some land pirates; do you carry a gun? Cuz, you might need to up there)

Really buddy, good luck. Bend or speak truth to power. That is the choice here.
April 25, 2011
It's unfortunate to see capable people with obvious good intentions in this role. If you want to make a difference leave and come back as a consultant. Charge a couple hundred and hour and ears will perk. Being a pawn in someone elses game...struggling with ridiculous politics and gossip...eventually your choices will be bangining your head against a wall or falling in line. If you stay your choice will be made for you. Have you met Dave?
April 24, 2011
Welcome enthusiast Martelon.

Read the article twice looking for my mind awareness lesson; read it three times looking for any indication that pricing has something to do with tourism. Nothing.

I did get that Telluride is a love object and that romance has replaced ration and reason in the search for the answer to why people come to Telluride.

Bud, you need to argue price point because it is the number one reason we have not flourished in Telluride.

People vote with their wallets.

We dont live in a vacuum and we must compete against other resort towns who know that value is what 2011 tourists need.


But go ahead and try the Telluride as a Love Object and Romancing Bear Creek.

Tonight we have two restaurants open and for the same price you can be in Aspen and have 30 restaurants to choose from..

Value, choice, variety..that is the ticket.