Fred Ockers, Mike Gray

Laramie Area Visitor Center Executive Director Fred Ockers, left, and Laramie Area Visitor Center Assistant Director Mike Gray look at the magazine spreads about Laramie on Friday morning at the Laramie Area Visitor Center.

SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

Laramie could soon reap the benefits of increased exposure from web and magazine articles, Laramie Area Visitor Center Executive Director Fred Ockers said.

In recent months, Ockers said the Albany County Tourism Board worked with the Wyoming Office of Tourism to market Laramie, which resulted in three articles about the city in separate publications.

“We’ve received over 14 million views around the country for these three articles,” he said. “What this does for us is maybe it doesn’t impact us now, but this spring, this summer, this fall, next year — hopefully, we’ll get more people to come to Laramie and Albany County.”

While several media outlets have covered Laramie from the standpoint of education and career opportunities, Ockers said this recent batch of publicity highlights some of Laramie’s quality-of-life assets.

The January/February edition of Food Network Magazine highlighted Laramie in a full-page story about what to do and where to eat and stay when taking a road trip through the Gem City. Between the magazine and web access, Ockers said the Food Network has an audience of about 11.4 million viewers.

“The Food Network is one of the largest ones for us,” Ockers said. “The Wyoming Office of Tourism really helped us out with this one, because we just didn’t have the resources to attract attention like this.”

True West Magazine recently ranked Laramie as No. 6 in the Top 10 True Western Towns of 2018, which appears in both the magazine and on the publications website, accruing another 550,000 viewers for Laramie.

“The cool thing about True West is it hits the target market of history buffs,” Laramie Area Visitor Center Assistant Director Mike Gray said. “We’ve really worked to refine our target markets, so our advertising efforts result in a higher yield.”

And www.livability.com ranked Laramie 69 in the top 100 livable cities across the nation. The website receives about 2.2 million views each month, Ockers said.

“What’s really neat about livability.com is we’re the only town in Wyoming on the list,” he added.

The increased exposure is in part due to Ockers staff ramping up marketing efforts, and gives the tourism board a measurable return on the visitor center’s approximately $561,000 marketing budget for fiscal year 2018.

“Marketing is about 66 percent of our overall budget,” Ockers said. “And it’s all provided through the four percent lodging tax.”

With a new app and website, Gray said Laramie and Albany County’s online viewership received a significant boost as well.

“In the last three years, our web visits have increased 30 percent each year,” he said.

More exposure could mean more revenue for Laramigos.

“We’re trying to drive heads on beds,” Ockers explained. “The goal is to keep visitor growth up. With visitors comes increased sales tax collection, and that benefits everyone.”

Currently, tourism is Wyoming’s second largest industry behind the energy sector, he said.

As Laramie’s views grow, Ockers said the next step was to look outside the U.S.

“One of the things we need to look at more is international visitors,” Ockers said.

Gray said the office could soon start producing ads and videos in foreign languages to broaden the city and county’s audience.

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