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Visit Estes Park Leverages AI to Take Destination Marketing to a New Level

Visit Estes Park also Releases New Tools Guiding Other Destinations to Incorporate AI into their operations 


Estes Park, CO – (May 2, 2024) – Visit Estes Park (VEP), the official Destination Marketing Organization for Estes Park, Colorado, is breaking new ground in 2024 with its innovative use of artificial intelligence (AI), along with education for other destinations to use the new technology. 

The small yet formidable VEP team has embraced AI to enhance both internal processes and traveler engagement. And as part of their trailblazing strategy, today Visit Estes Park has released two studies on artificial intelligence and destination marketing. The AI case study details how other destinations can integrate AI technology within their organizations. Additionally, a new legal white paper covers the legal implications of AI in the travel industry, co-authored by Visit Estes Park CEO and attorney Kara Franker and attorney Roxanne Steinhoff. 

“Artificial intelligence is no longer a trend, it’s here to stay, and we're dialing into the movement because we want a competitive advantage,” said Kara Franker, CEO of Visit Estes Park. “As we learn more about this evolving tool, ideally, we’ll be able to provide an improved experience for anyone who visits Estes Park.”

Franker makes it clear that AI won’t replace the ever-essential work that her team does on a day-to-day basis at Visit Estes Park, or that any other destination marketing organization, performs. Instead, AI will streamline and elevate the ways in which VEP does that work. 

The first public-facing result of VEP’s pioneering work with AI is the Rocky Mountain Roamer, developed in partnership with Matador Network’s GuideGeek (a Fast Company Most Innovative Travel Company 2024). A new way to plan travel to Estes Park and the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the AI-powered tool provides travelers with fast answers, allowing them to instantly find the best in lodging, things to do, restaurants and bars, travel routes, safety information and more. Travelers can access VEP’s AI travel assistant through a QR code that directs them to WhatsApp, Instagram or Facebook to begin planning their Estes Park vacation. The tool also allows the VEP team to edit responses in real-time, adding a human touch in combination with the AI technology. 

“Using simple, conversational prompts, Rocky Mountain Roamer provides itineraries, links to content on our website, and even links to book flights and hotels,” Franker says. “The list of features grows every day, and we hope it will soon include message delivery to visitors while they are experiencing our destination to enhance their trip even more, while also supporting our local community.”

Internally, VEP worked with Intentful, a content creation agency at the forefront of leveraging internal data and AI, to develop a custom tool called HappyPlaces+ for Estes Park. The tool is an internal-facing GenAI model that is tapped into ChatGPT 4. It has been trained to create SEO-optimized content — from blogs to social media posts — in VEP’s brand voice, drawing information from and community partners. Using prompts and templates developed by the VEP internal team, the team is already seeing increased efficiencies in their day-to-day operations.

For more information about how to use Rocky Mountain Roamer, visitors can refer to this step-by-step video guide. Images can be found here (courtesy of John Berry/Visit Estes Park), and the AI case study and legal whitepaper documents can be found here



About Kara Franker 

As CEO of Visit Estes Park, Kara Franker is an advocate for innovation and leadership in the tourism industry. She is a licensed attorney, serves on the board of delegates for the U.S. Travel Association, and serves on advisory boards for Simpleview and eTourism Summit. A Certified Destination Marketing Executive (CDME) through Destinations International, she recently obtained her executive certificate in artificial intelligence and business strategy from MIT. Already in 2024, Kara has spoken on panels about AI for destination marketers during International Media Marketplace’s (IMM) TravMedia Summit in New York City, as well as the Marketing Outlook Forum in Houston with the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA), among others. She is also serving as an expert advisor in the AI Opener for Destinations program by Miles Partnership and Group NAO. 


About Roxanne Steinhoff 

Roxanne Steinhoff is an attorney with almost a decade of experience in destination marketing and sports tourism. Her boutique law and consulting firm – Steinhoff Law – services DMOs and sports commissions. With a focus on collaborative consultation, Roxanne’s practice centers on empowering her clients. Her background includes serving as lead sports consultant and heading the legal department at Civitas, a firm specializing in providing funding solutions to DMOs. As part of the Chicago Sports Commission team, she hosted major international sports events like the 2020 NBA All-Star Game. Roxanne began her career working on Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Roxanne earned her J.D. from the Michigan State University College of Law, graduating in the top 2% of her class. She holds an M.A. in International Relations from Boston University, and a B.A. from Lake Superior State University. She is also a published author and adjunct college professor. Roxanne resides with her partner and fellow attorney Rob in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. 


About Visit Estes Park

Visit Estes Park is the official Destination Marketing Organization for Estes Park, Colorado. A Destinations International (DI) accredited DMO, Visit Estes Park's mission is to drive sustainable year-round economic growth by encouraging visitor demand. Estes Park, just 90 minutes from Denver, is the basecamp for Rocky Mountain National Park offering outdoor experiences, activities, dining, shopping and an environment that is welcoming and approachable. Known for world-class adventure, resident wildlife and scenic beauty, Estes Park is Colorado’s quintessential mountain town. To learn more, go to