“We as a travel industry have come to understand that comfort is important. The residents are finally getting their say …long-term, comfort is a very sound business decision because we don’t want to overrun the golden goose.” 

— Eliza Voss, Vice President Destination Marketing, Aspen Chamber Resort Association

“Determining where comfort lives is probably the new goal that we need to be seeking in our destinations. Comfort is a balance between what our residents feel is comfortable and what our businesses need to be successful. And success doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re maxing the whole thing out.” 

— David Holder, CEO, Clarity of Place

Advocacy Summit is an important milestone every year for me because Destinations International does its best to capture the zeitgeist of what we know and what we need to do next as destination organizations. It’s a moment to see the best of what we’re doing and to reflect on what comes next.

Far and away, the most intriguing presentation for me this past October was “Capacity-Compression-Comfort: A Tool for Understanding Views on Visitor Volume.” The session was about the delicate dance and data-driven approach to building a visual indicator of the destination’s seasonality and ability to accommodate guests while sustaining residents’ quality of life. 

Presented by Eliza Voss, vice president destination marketing, Aspen Chamber and Resort Association, and David Holder, CDME, CEO, Clarity of Place, the session felt very future-forward. Working collaboratively with the Colorado Tourism Office, Clarity of Place created a data visualization tool to document Capacity, Compression, and Comfort (CAPCOM2) to strategically determine market needs and apply appropriate direction to either build visitor business or manage visitor volume.

Capacity, compression, and comfort — so what exactly is being measured? Here are the definitions presented: 

  • Capacity: The full amount of visitation that the destination is capable of accommodating
  • Compression: The level of actual business volume filling capacity across the community
  • Comfort: The visitation that residents perceive the community can tolerate without sacrificing business performance

In its simplest terms, it’s an investigation into a destination’s capacity, the effects of compression, and the comfort point that represents a good balance that sees residents, businesses, and visitors happy and well-served.

Let’s dive in.

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