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  • 63°
  • Heber Valley, Utah
  • Saturday, May 18, 2024
  • 11:46 AM
Sunny 63°
Sunday H: 78°
L: 46°
Mostly Sunny
Monday H: 73°
L: 42°
Tuesday H: 57°
L: 34°
Mostly Cloudy
Wednesday H: 56°
L: 34°
Partly Sunny
Thursday H: 65°
L: 40°
Mostly Cloudy

Tourism Expert Secret Shops Heber Valley

On Friday, February 17, tourism and branding expert Roger Brooks gave a blunt, yet thorough assessment of the valley to about a hundred of Heber Valley’s businesses owners, tourism operators, and civic leaders during a presentation at the Homestead Resort.

With a grant from the Utah Office of TourismHeber Valley Tourism and Chamber of Commerce hired Brooks to come to the area to do a visitor assessment of the valley. Brooks brought to his assessment of the valley decades of experience from working with over 1,500 communities throughout the United States.

Over the course of a week Brooks secret shopped the area looking at the valley with three perspectives: as a place to live and raise a family; as place to work, invest in, or bring a business; as a place to visit for more than a day. 

From his assessment, Brooks focused in on five major initiatives that could improve the Heber Valley.

  1. First Impressions
  2. Increasing Local Spending
  3. Wayfinding
  4. Staying True to the Heber Valley Roots
  5. Branding ideas

Brooks was amazed at the beauty of the valley even this time of year as the seasons are transitioning.

“When you pull into this valley it’s stunning, just stunning,” said Brooks. He has secret shopped many different communities throughout the state and said Heber Valley offers more to do within a five-minute drive than any other place he’s been to in Utah.

Though he really enjoyed the beauty of the area, the amenities, and activities he did find many things that could be improved on. Some of the key points he made were consistent clear signage to help invite visitors into the shops and back to the valley.

“You never invite us back. When the shops are closed and no one is there it’s not welcoming,” said Brooks.

Next, he talked about increasing local spending by creating spaces and place where locals want to be. This includes walkability between restaurants and retail, programmable spaces like stages, splash pads, and ice rinks, and revitalizing/creating a downtown area. Creating places where locals want to be also keeps visitors in the area longer, spending more money.

“In economic development, tourism, and community development there is absolutely nothing more important that your downtown,” he said.

Brooks then spoke to the identity of Heber Valley, and the importance of preserving the open spaces that make this valley beautiful and unique. He even suggested recruiting ranch stores, leather and western stores to help with the rural feel.

Beautification of the commercial areas became a major talking point during the discussion He admonished business and civic leaders to do more to match the beautiful surroundings.

“You live in one of the most stunning valleys, don’t you think you should start to live it in your commercial areas?” said Brooks.

During his presentation, Brooks made over 70 recommendations/suggestions to help our valley improve. You can see all of his recommendations in the video or download a PDF handout of all the suggestions here.



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