Mitch Nichols is President of Nichols Tourism Group, Inc. (NTG) and leads the strategic planning and product development activities of the firm. Mr. Nichols' expertise is focused on the study of a destination’s underlying economic factors, the impacts of changing market conditions and the resulting implications to product and destination performance.
He has directed and overseen a wide range of strategic destination planning efforts, ranging from the states of Alaska to Sonora, Mexico. In all instances the challenge is similar, how do destinations or projects strategically prioritize their opportunities in ways that maximize their competitive position.
The firm prides itself on developing strategies that are embraced on an industry-wide basis and are truly implementable.
Mitch’s experience ranges from broad strategy planning efforts in beach destinations like Sarasota, Florida, to unique mountain destinations such as the Mt. Hood region in Oregon and Asheville, North Carolina. Many assignments have taken a statewide orientation including the states of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Delaware, New Hampshire, Kansas and Washington. This strategy work has also been focused on unique heritage destinations like the State of Montana’s most well known historic gold mining towns of Virginia City and Nevada City, as well as the powerful living history experiences in the Historic Triangle regions of Virginia, including Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg. They also include unique environmentally sensitive destinations like the Grand Canyon National Park, the wine country of Sonoma County, the red rock destination of Sedona, and the popular ski area of Telluride.
These strategies address key destination factors of target market segments, associated marketing and public relations initiatives, along with competitive and product development related factors. He has also directed unique marketing and public relations initiatives, like a bi-national Geotourism MapGuide that co-branded the states of Arizona and Sonora with National Geographic in highlighting the unique differentiated elements around the Sonoran Desert.
Recognizing the critical role proactive product development plays in successful destination attraction, Mitch is often involved in analyzing and recommending project specific components in large-scale, mixed-use developments, both in the United States and in Mexico. He has served as the primary consultant to the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service, analyzing the demand potential and prospective impacts of a $600 million mixed-use, resort development planned as the gateway to Grand Canyon National Park. His experience has also included helping downtown areas, like Austin’s Historic Sixth Street District, in targeting and expanding this well-known downtown destination.
Prior to the more than 25 year long tenure of NTG, Mitch’s consulting efforts were associated with the development and hospitality advisory activities of Laventhol & Horwath, Coopers & Lybrand and the regional economic and development firm Mountain West Research. Mitch received both his Bachelor of Science (Cum Laude) and Masters in Business Administration degrees from Arizona State University. He is the past Southwest Chair of the nationally recognized Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) and previously served as the Financial Advisor to the Industrial Development Authority of the County of Maricopa where he helped close millions of dollars of bond transactions related to public purpose development initiatives.
Mitch works closely with the National Laboratory of Tourism and eCommerce in applying cutting edge international research to real-world challenges and is a past instructor with Destinations International and their Certified Destination Management Executive Program.