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.)