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In Pickens Technical College’s Marketing in Hospitality and Tourism program, you’ll learn how to work in the industry and build your own business. Colorado is full of tourism and hospitality opportunities, especially now during an unprecedented population boom here. Obviously, the state attracts visitors from around the world and has built an infrastructure friendly to the hospitality and tourism industry.

Every year, tourism businesses are recognized for their work and accommodations in each area of the state. The Colorado Springs Business Journal recently announced its top hospitality and tourism businesses of the year in different categories of the hospitality industry. Let’s look at a few of these businesses to see why they were recognized by the community.

St. Mary’s Inn

One of the reasons why St. Mary’s Inn was recognized as the best bed and breakfast in Colorado Springs is because of its location. Guests are about ten to fifteen minutes from most of the attractions in town. But what set this business apart is the hospitality of the owners, Pam and Jay Piper, whose “passion to take care of it and [their] guests” make it a place their guests aren’t likely to forget.

It’s unlikely Jay and Pam Piper will need very many employees to keep their quiet, ornate, 1896-built property open and ready for guests, but you can take a lesson from it. A business doesn’t have to expand to be successful in this industry. You can create a small hospitality business built on word-of-mouth, being friendly to the locals, and offering top-notch service.

Bristlecone Lodge

The rustic cabins tucked in the shadow of Pike’s Peak were one of the reasons why the Business Journal recognized it. Again, the location here is key by offering guests access to many outdoor activities while providing many of the comforts of home. The attention that the staff gives to all the cabins in decoration and cleaning makes the Bristlecone Lodge a reliable and fun place to stay.

Probably what propelled the Bristlecone Lodge to the top of the Business Journal’s list wasn’t the quaint cabins, but its renowned continental breakfast, complete with waffles, hard-boiled eggs, and all the other normal fixings. People keep talking about the breakfast there, which shows how a stand-out feature like that can create success.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Working at or starting your own zoo might not be your cup of tea, but the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was recognized largely for its friendly staff. The workers take it upon themselves to be conservationists, educating visitors not only on the more than 30 endangered species housed at the zoo but how to be better allies to the animals and the planet we all share.

The commitment of the staff to the original mission of the zoo, established by philanthropist Spencer Penrose in 1926, shows that any tourist attraction can become a magnet if everyone buys into its vision.

These examples of hospitality and tourism businesses in Colorado Springs teach many lessons that can be added to Pickens’ Hospitality and Tourism program.