“The tipping point came when our own national industry, the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus changed their name to the Destination Marketing Association International,” Scharf said.
To investigate a name change, the Bureau conducted focus groups of board members, meeting planners, potential visitors, city officials and residents, trying out a variety of new names. “Our challenge was to find a 21st Century name that would be easy to remember and enunciate, be consistent with our brand, and have a call to the action,” Scharf said.
At the Bureau’s 99th annual meeting on November 13, 2008, the organization officially rolled out its new name as chosen by a wide margin in the focus groups: VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’ll keep ‘the convention & visitors bureau’ as part of the name for a little while until people get used to just VISIT DENVER,” Scharf said.
He added that the name change was a small detail, but one that resonates with stakeholders. “This doesn’t change how we market Denver, the Mile High City, or the city’s brand. It’s for our internal stakeholders – residents, city and our members,” Scharf said.
Along with the name change, the Bureau will now shift from promoting www.denver.org to www.visitdenver.com as Denver’s official tourism Web site. “There is considerable research showing that a .com attracts more visitors than a .org and it is easier to remember and more common. We will continue to own www.denver.org and both sites will be the same, but we will now advertise and market www.visitdenver.com as the primary URL,” Scharf said.
He stated that the complete name change will take some time. “This is mostly an internal issue with our members and customers so we want to do it at the least possible cost. We will continue to use up stationary and printed materials and only incorporate the new name as we run out of old materials,” he said.