Chamber unveils “Less is More” to attract visitors


October 26, 2018


Sedona arial viewYou will hear the phrase “less is more” whenever tourism comes up this year. We are working to attract fewer visitors who stay longer, helping preserve our quality of life while ensuring no economic downside. Staying longer gives visitors a richer Sedona experience, making them more likely to return.

Just days after we unveiled “less is more” at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting at the Hilton Resort at Bell Rock this month, news from Conde Nast Traveler affirmed this strategy. In the magazine’s 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards, almost 500,000 travelers chose their favorite destinations, and only one Arizona community made the list: Sedona.

Travelers rank us sixth among all US cities with less than 1 million residents.
Why? Nast says travelers, too, are seeking a ‘less is more’ experience – desiring first-class comfort in more intimate locales that feature smaller resort properties and more ‘self-care’ opportunities.

Sounds like us, right?

These results are encouraging because they show that Sedona is aligned with the growing ‘less is more’ national tourism trend. Along with our active, outdoorsy appeal, we offer the self-care, low-key comfort these (mostly affluent) travelers seek. Further, the survey reaffirms that the travelers we aim for – longer-stay, sensitive to culture and environment, low-impact – are indeed an emerging demographic we are well-positioned to attract.

This isn’t the first-time travelers have expressed similar desires. The emergence of sustainable tourism as a strategic ethos around the world has been driven in large part by travelers looking for a more authentic experience. In Sedona, we have been developing sustainable tourism as a marketing and management strategy for more than a year and are closing in on a final plan.

Thanks to our growing relationships with leading tourism industry groups such as Destinations International, we are well-positioned to spot trends and act on emerging possibilities. You’ve probably heard the Chamber & Tourism Bureau is the only Destination Management and Marketing Organization (DMMO) in Northern Arizona, but it may not be clear why that’s important to Sedona.

DMMO is a globally-recognized accreditation from Destinations International, the gold standard for the tourism industry. A DMMO’s integrated approach considers the competition, the consumer decision process, marketing trends, product development, target markets and demographics, and emerging technologies – among many other factors.

In Sedona, the visible effect of this behind-the-scenes work includes our consumer marketing and advertising; outreach to meeting planners and tour groups; operating a visitors center; integrating web and social media; producing visitor guides; launching development projects such as wayfinding signage; proactively preserving the environment; engaging the community; and investing in local tourism-management infrastructure, such as traffic improvements.

The result is a professionally-managed, collaborative, strategically-focused tourism organization that serves Sedona’s complex needs well. As President and CEO, I am committed to bringing the most forward-thinking tourism management tools to Sedona. Our staff continually better themselves, and I recently completed a multi-year series of courses through Destinations International to renew my standing as a Certified Destination Management Executive – the industry’s highest individual education achievement.

As our community advances toward an ever-more unified and sustainable approach to tourism management, you can be confident your Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau is well-prepared to continue making Sedona the best place to live, work, play, and visit.

–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO