Sharing Wyoming’s Wide Open Spaces, with Amy Larsen

Episode 319

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Amy is the fourth generation to call Wyoming home and the third generation to graduate from the University of Wyoming. Wyoming is Amy’s home. She also holds a Master of Tourism Management degree from Colorado State University and completed two internships with the Walt Disney College Program as an undergrad, one where she earned not only her “ears” but a Ducktorate Degree as well.

She embraces the opportunity to share all that Wyoming has to offer with others. From its iconic national parks, amazing scenery, incredible outdoor experiences, fascinating history, and Western Hospitality; to her, Wyoming truly is like no other place on earth, and someplace everyone should experience! In her spare time, she likes to hike, kayak, check out breweries, and dabble with photography. She also writes a column for a local newspaper called Wandering Amylessly, where she shares about life lessons she learns through travel.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Amy Larsen about how her team is collaborating with neighboring states to develop innovative travel products and promote lesser-known destinations. Amy also shares her outside-the-box thinking in developing winter products for group tours in Wyoming.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Amy shares the story of how she ended up working in destination marketing via a Disney internship program
  • How Amy helps create buzz around a bucket list destination like Yellowstone National Park and tempt visitors to explore other parts of Wyoming
  • Creative ways that Amy and her team have overcome the challenge of attracting motorcoach tours to small historic destinations with small restaurants by partnering with caterers and other service providers
  • Exciting future plans for the Wyoming Office of Tourism, including winter itineraries and creating fun outdoor experiences for visitors
  • The coopetitions that Amy is particularly proud of, including the Western Migration tour collaboration with Nebraska and the tours they created with Colorado
  • Amy’s thoughts on how the role of DMOs is evolving and how they can support visitors and local communities

Showcasing Wyoming

In the most recent episode of Destination on the Left, guest Amy Larsen emphasized the many natural attractions that draw tourists to Wyoming, such as Yellowstone National Park, which has over half the world’s thermal features within its boundaries and the iconic American symbols like the Tetons and Devil’s Tower. She also shares how her team capitalizes on visitors’ enthusiasm for those locations to showcase the rest of the state.

Creating Unforgettable Experiences

Amy spoke about the rich history of small towns in Wyoming, including the Outlaws like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the Wild Bunch, early pioneers, and mountain men who lived in the Rocky Mountain region. She shares why the challenge for small towns is attracting tourists, particularly in the motorcoach industry, as they may not have big enough restaurants to feed all the visitors expected.

To address this, Amy suggests being creative and finding caterers in these communities who can put on dinners for visitors, such as holding a dinner for 50 people in the branding room at the fairgrounds in Torrington, which showcases every brand from Goshen County and featuring a multigenerational rancher who shared his story. Amy emphasizes the importance of finding the person who wants to tell the story and getting small towns to realize their potential and be creative in showcasing their history to visitors.

Inter-State Coopetition

On the podcast, Amy also shares a couple of exciting examples of coopetition, including partnerships with Nebraska and Colorado to develop itineraries that showcase the historical places of the states. By combining their resources, they were able to create unique experiences that bring more business to all three states. It’s so exciting to see how these collaborations are creating new opportunities for group tours and expanding the travel industry in unique ways.


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