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Quarterly Newsletter Update

Spring 2024 Update

Refined, Refreshed, Renewed

Welcome to Western Montana’s Glacier Country Rebranded

Glacier Country has just completed a rebranding, and we are excited to announce our new official brand name, Western Montana’s Glacier Country. This rebranding journey has been an opportunity for us to delve into our organization's core values, understand our audience and clarify our mission.

Through extensive engagement with partners, residents and business owners, guided by our Destination Stewardship Plan, we have strengthened our commitment to serving as the official destination stewardship organization for Western Montana.

OUR BRAND embodies the very essence of this remarkable destination: natural wonders, cultural richness and unforgettable experiences. The name itself evokes imagery of rugged mountains, glacial waters, pristine landscapes, and a tapestry of diverse communities. It encapsulates an adventurous spirit, a commitment to preservation, and an invitation to explore the treasures found here.

OUR VOICE shares who we are and captures where we’re headed—standing at the crossroads of being informative, helpful, thoughtful, respectful and trustworthy. It represents our welcoming mindset that values adventure and the preservation of the places we explore.

OUR TONE is a promise—to ignite the imagination, to empower discovery, to speak with confidence, to welcome diversity, and to stay grounded in authenticity, principles and collective responsibility to ensure that the natural wonders and cultural treasures of Western Montana’s Glacier Country remain untouched, unspoiled and unforgettable.

OUR BRAND PILLARS showcase what makes our region special and how we connect on a human level.

  • Enrich community. Enhance connection. This is a place where community spirit and individual expression are valued, creating real, lasting connections for the people who live here and for those who visit.
  • Celebrate diversity. Encourage inclusivity. We ensure voices from all walks of life are heard and valued as we build a respectful and unified future together.
  • Seek adventure. Sustain nature. We seek to attract visitors who share our love for the outdoors, our hunger for new experiences and our devotion to protecting this unforgettable place.
  • Champion stewardship. Foster partnerships. We are committed stewards of the visitor experience, providing awe-inspiring moments and life-changing connections while sustaining our way of life and preserving our sense of place.

We could not have embarked on this rebrand so successfully without the invaluable input from Western Montana’s partners, residents and business owners, and we look forward to where this renewed sense of place, responsibility and adventure takes us all, together.

Winter 2024 Update

Reflections on this Past Quarter and Our Board’s Valuable Impact

As we step into the New Year, we reflect on the second quarter of our fiscal year—October through December—a period marked by activities such as industry meetings, educational and trade conferences, end-of-year reporting, yearly audits, and the excitement of preparing for the winter recreation season. This quarter is notable for board work, as it’s the only quarter our board of directors convenes twice, underscoring their dedication and commitment to our mission. We welcomed four new board members in December—Kimberly Woodring (Agent, MSU Extension Service), Lisa Cline (Owner, Marketplace on Main, LLC), Robynne Gibaud (Owner, Scotchman’s Coffee) and Rachel Lynn Meyer (Manager, Rimrock Lodge, LLC)—and look forward to working with them and the knowledge, skills and energy they will bring to our projects and programs.

This past quarter, our board of directors was instrumental in steering new initiatives and programs. Their tireless efforts in committees focused on grants, brand strategies and stewardship have been nothing short of remarkable. Key achievements include the development of a novel scholarship and employee retention program, crafting a comprehensive Stewardship Committee work plan, insightful review and approval of the regional Montana Resiliency Plan to enhance our Stewardship Plan, and the pivotal rebranding project that will launch next quarter. We extend our deepest gratitude to our board members for their dedication and engagement, which continually drives Western Montana's Glacier Country toward new horizons of excellence and community service.

Fall 2023 Update

A Message From Our CEO

Rebranding, Website Redesign and Destination Stewardship Town Halls on the Horizon

The beauty of October is upon us with its turning leaves and cooler air—a subtle reminder that change can indeed be magnificent. We are at the tail end of another challenging yet rewarding year, and I want to take a moment to share some exciting news with you.

Firstly, our organization is undergoing a strategic rebrand, aligning our name, logo and overall brand ethos to accurately reflect who we are and where we’re headed. This isn't just a face-lift; it's a complete reimagining of our identity aimed at ensuring long-term relevance and resonance.

In addition to the rebrand, we're elevating our print and digital platforms. A revamped travel guide is in the works, and our redesigned website will soon offer our audience a more intuitive and technology-forward experience.

We continue to take action on the Western Montana's Glacier Country’s Destination Stewardship Strategy. Our long-term commitment is to responsibly manage growth while building stronger, more sustainable communities. We're proactively mapping out the region’s evolution for the next decade, focusing on a sustainable path for all stakeholders. Much of the work has started, and we look forward to sharing our progress on the initiatives.

To make this an inclusive and collaborative effort, we'll soon announce a series of eight town hall meetings. These events will share details of our stewardship plan and provide a platform to discuss challenges, opportunities and strategies. Together, we'll identify actionable ways to enhance the region’s quality of life and foster economic prosperity.

With your support and partnership, the future shines bright for Western Montana.

Warm regards,

Racene Friede

President CEO, Western Montana's Glacier Country

P.S. Your input is invaluable as we navigate these transformative changes. Let’s seize this opportunity to shape a more promising and sustainable future together.

Summer 2023 Update

Tourism Matters to Montana: Tracking and Acting on Key Bills

Tourism Matters to Montana, an organization comprising regional and community destination groups, actively tracked and acted upon various bills during the legislative session. These bills aimed to allocate and utilize the Lodging Facility Use Tax revenue in ways that would benefit tourism and related sectors in the state.

One significant bill that Tourism Matters to Montana supported and worked toward passing was SB 540, sponsored by Representative Zolnikov. This bill proposed specific allocations for the Department of Commerce’s allocation of the Lodging Facility Use Tax revenue for various purposes. Under SB 540, 43% of the revenue would be dedicated to tourism media, advertising film programs, made-in-Montana promotions, main street programs, wayfinding and signage, and support for trade offices. Additionally, 22.5% would be allocated for rural tourism, under-visited area attraction projects, and tribal tourism, including infrastructure development, tourism-related emergency services, and marketing and promotional activities. Furthermore, 23% would be designated for tourism grants, such as agritourism grants and Montana-based film grants. The bill also called for 6.5% of the revenue to be allocated to revolving loan programs, with a maximum program cap of $35 million, and regional tourism assistance. Finally, 5% of the revenue would be used in collaboration with the Office of Economic Development for new tourism attractions and other state business development programs. SB 540 aimed to address the challenges faced by rural and tribal communities with low visitation by providing essential funding for programs and initiatives that promote and develop these communities.

In addition to supporting bills, Tourism Matters to Montana also actively opposed several bills that sought to divert the Lodging Facility Use Tax revenue for purposes other than its intended use. Through collaboration with traditional and nontraditional industry partners, they were successful in ensuring that these bills failed to pass.

Furthermore, Tourism Matters to Montana worked toward the passage of several other bills that aimed to benefit the tourism industry. However, due to the overwhelming number of bills in the legislative system during the year, some of these bills could not overcome the challenges and did not progress as desired.

Overall, Tourism Matters to Montana—together with many organizations and businesses—played an instrumental role in advocating for the proper allocation of the Lodging Facility Use Tax revenue toward initiatives that support tourism, promote community development and address the needs of rural and tribal communities. Through their efforts, they aimed to enhance the visitor experience while maintaining a balance with the quality of life for Montana residents.

Spring 2023 Update

What’s New With Western Montana's Glacier Country

New Board Members, New Location

Western Montana's Glacier Country is excited to welcome six new members to our board of directors. Steve Clairmont - Mission West Community Development Partners, Myranda Cravens - Libby Area Chamber of Commerce, David Diehl - RightOnTrek, Inc., Linda Howard - Wolf Trail Montana LLC, Lailani Upham - Iron Shield Creative/Visit Blackfeet (Blackfeet Tribe Tourism), and Edna White - Averill Hospitality.

Western Montana's Glacier Country has moved to a new location. Our physical location is 3021 Palmer Street, Suite A, Missoula, MT 59808. Our new mailing address is PO Box 19631, Missoula, MT 59808.

Montana’s 68th Legislative Session is wrapping up with a record 4,823 requested bill drafts being submitted—we have been tracking 135 of those bills. Stay tuned for a legislative update after the session has wrapped up. Visit Tourism Matters to Montana to read more about them.

Winter 2023 Update

Western Montana's Glacier Country’s winter advertising launched in October and will run through February. Our national campaign focuses on wintering wisely and promotes skiing at hills with a national focus, like Whitefish Mountain Resort, along with snowmobiling and cross-county skiing around the region.

Our media targets direct-flight and drive markets while layering travel intent targeting, winter enthusiasts targeting and retargeting. Media placements include a robust programmatic digital banner and native campaign and a new programmatic content campaign through Nativo. State joint ventures for winter include Sojern, Teads and Jun Group that extend our budgets with a 1:1 match. Paid social includes news feed ads, videos and stories across Facebook and Instagram, along with paid efforts across Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok. We are also working with Matador Network content creators to develop a winter suite of TikTok videos to help boost our organic reach.

Our in-state campaign focuses on encouraging Montanans to explore all that Western Montana has to offer in winter, including smaller ski hills, local breweries and rural communities. Media placements include local broadcast television, streaming TV, Spotify, local news websites and paid social.

Our winter cooperative program includes 12 partners across the region. These featured listings are running on both our national and in-state winter landing pages and will provide our partners with more than 10,000 leads by campaign end. The landing pages are where our paid efforts direct people during the campaign and they also house our winter videos.

Both the national and in-state campaigns include Recreate Responsibly messaging aiming to bolster visitation during a time when our communities need it most—increasing revenue and helping to keep employees year-round.