OCRA Gets Two New Members, and Marketing Bucks For 2013
by Samantha Wright
Dec 19, 2012 | 987 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print

OURAY – The Ouray Chamber Resort Association Board of Directors welcomed two new board members this week, Heather Clark and Michelle Haynes.  

“We are pleased to have a board that fully represents our member community – from tourism to non-tourism based businesses – and welcome the new insights, energy and experience that Michelle and Heather will bring,” said OCRA Operations Director Katharina Papenbrock.

Clark, who has lived in Ouray for 31 years and owns two businesses, Ouray Laundromat and The Goldbelt Bar and Grill, has served on the OCRA board for approximately five months as an interim board member, and as the chair of the restaurant committee. “In this time, I have begun to understand OCRA's mission regarding economic growth and marketing of our beautiful community,” Clark said. “I am excited to continue to support OCRA, its mission, and members by contributing my time and effort in expanding our local economy.” 

Hanes, who has lived and worked in Ouray since 1993, currently works at Citizens State Bank of Ouray as the Visa Programs and Online Banking Manager and Customer Relations Representative. She has also held multiple jobs in the community, and organized the local broomball league for nine years. “I have a profound love for Ouray and would love to be able to give back to this amazing city,” Haynes said. “I am proud to be a part of a community that can maintain, sustain and grow even in the current economic conditions. I very much look forward to making a positive impact in this community and making that difference as a member of the OCRA board.”

Clark and Hanes will each serve a three-year term from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2015. 

They join fellow OCRA board members Brandy Ross, Switzerland of America, Inc. – President; Tamara Gulde, Mountain Fever Shirts & Gifts – Vice President; Michelle Poirier, The Blue Pear & Bloom – Secretary; Mike Buhler, Timber Ridge Lodge – Treasurer; 

Ryan Cook, San Juan Chalet; Monica Moran, An Eclectic Eye; and Koree Schmidt, Alpine Bank. 

Board elections for new officers will take place at the OCRA board’s retreat in January, Papenbrock said.



In other news, the Ouray City Council this week approved a contract with OCRA for the use of $185,000 of Lodging and Occupancy Tax (LOT) funds generated in 2013 in order for OCRA to execute its 2013 Marketing Work Plan on behalf of the City of Ouray. The plan is intended to serve as OCRA’s operating structure for the coming year in four areas relating to marketing, special events, staffing and operation of the Ouray Visitors Center. 

On the marketing front, the OCRA Marketing Committee intends to introduce a series

of bi-monthly marketing training sessions in the coming year. OCRA has also entered a contract with the marketing consulting firm Internet Honey to organize and track its marketing buys and leads. In 2013, OCRA will expand its use of Internet Honey to start creating monthly “Score Cards” where its marketing goals are evaluated on a monthly basis and benchmarked against similar communities. 

“This will allow us to identify trends and make small adjustments in our messaging to really maximize our marketing dollars,” Papenbrock said in her report to council. 

OCRA will also continue its dedication to regional marketing, ranging from Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs and Durango, and plans more integration between its monthly marketing messaging and social media. 

The 2013 Visitor’s Guide to Ouray has been published by Ballantyne Communications out of Durango. The guide will be out on the streets before the new year.

In regard to events, OCRA successfully launched two new major events in 2012 in partnership with local organizations – Ouray County Mud Fest and the Mountain Air Music Series – and expects to see continued growth across both events.

“The main focus of 2013 will be perfecting the flow of events from month to month and improving the existing longstanding events such as Taste of Ouray, Grillin’ & Chillin’ Brew & Music Fest, and Oktoberfest,” Papenbrock reported. “The future vision for these events is to expand them to be largely organized by community members and appropriate non-profit groups, with marketing and branding oversight by the Chamber.”

In 2012, OCRA’s annual Ouray Jeep Raffle had its highest net profit on record – $20,000. Now, the board faces the pleasant dilemma of how to spend all that extra money. Options on the table include expansion of scholarships and increased support of community events. 

Papenbrock reported that OCRA continues to research the feasibility of an interactive visitor information kiosk somewhere along the Main Street corridor or at the Ouray Hot

Springs Pool. The first step will be a test model developed for and installed in the Visitors Center.

Councilman Michael Underwood applauded Papenbrock and OCRA marketing manager Heidi Pankow at Monday’s meeting for their solid work and ambitious marketing plan. “I am enthused about the things you have implemented,” he said. 

Samantha Wright at swright@watchnewspapers.com or Tweet @iamsamwright

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