Creating partnerships to maximize tourism’s reach


In a time when shrinking tourism advertising dollars are being stretched to their limits, other states may want to take notice of what Michigan state is doing to maximize their advertising budget. The Pure Michigan tourism message will reach further in 2009 thanks in part to a record level of participation in the Travel Michigan Advertising Partnership Program. The state’s tourism office will match dollar-for-dollar the US$1.7 million committed by 51 participating communities and organizations, for a joint US$3.4 million to fund 23 Pure Michigan in-state and out-of-state advertising campaigns promoting summer and fall tourism in 2009, according to Travel Michigan vice president George Zimmermann. In addition, partners have committed US$74,000 in the pay-per-click marketing program designed to increase web traffic to partners’ web sites.

The Travel Michigan Partnership Program was launched in 2002 with two partners and a budget of US$330,000. By 2008, partner commitments reached US$1,026,500. This year’s record commitments of more than US$1.7 million, and the level of involvement of returning and new promotional partners, are indications of the success of the cooperative effort. “The tourism industry has embraced these advertising partnerships as a way to extend their marketing reach and leverage marketing dollars to promote Michigan,” said Zimmermann. “This is a win-win program for our tourism partners and the “Pure Michigan” branding campaign.”

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All partnership advertising includes the Travel Michigan “Pure Michigan” brand identity and creative strategy to deliver a consistent message. Program participants also receive value-added benefits of featured web presence and public relations support.

Tourism is a vital industry in Michigan. Visitors spend US$18.1 billion annually traveling in Michigan, generating US$874 million in state taxes and accounting for 192,000 jobs statewide. Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State of Michigan’s official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state’s tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services.