By ALEKS TAPINSH
Capital News Service
LANSING — Marketing is everything for business. Michigan’s tourism business is no exception.
To create destinations, Travel Michigan, the state’s tourism agency, developed partnership programs with communities to help market Michigan’s tourist attractions to various markets across the nation.
In its most recent endeavor called “Beach Towns,” Travel Michigan associates and representatives of six communities along the Michigan shoreline traveled to Chicago to promote themselves as tourist destinations.
“It went well,” said Cindy Snyder, the media relations manager for Travel Michigan. “We will do it again.”
Ludington Area Convention and Visitor Bureau was one of the participants. Others included: Mackinaw City, Muskegon, Holland, Grand Haven and St. Joseph.
The collaboration was really beneficial, said Terri Brown, marketing assistant for the Ludington bureau.
“We saw some significant difference in our Web site activity,” she said. The traffic to the promotion’s Web page increased.
“The hits increased from 21 inquiries to 618 in the matter of a couple of weeks,” said Brown.
The collaboration lets communities advertise on the more expensive markets.
“Smaller communities would not be able to get into Chicago market by themselves,” Snyder said. “It’s a win-win situation.”
In the collaboration between the state and local authorities, each community pays some of marketing expenses. The state matches the amount.
“It allows the state to work closely with local communities,” Snyder said. “It gives more credibility.”
Next year, Snyder hopes that other communities will be involved in the joint promotional effort.
Such collaborations among communities have been a big trend for the past couple of years.
“We see a lot more cooperation now,” said Dianna Stampfler, West Michigan Travel Association marketing and media director.
The effort to share marketing expenses between the state and communities is not new.
Snyder, who has worked for Travel Michigan for 15 years, said that until recently, the state agency had a collaboration program. Under the co-op program, the state and local travel authorities shared the production cost for travel publications. The state agency abandoned the program and decreased number of printed publications with the rise of Internet as a convenient medium for up-to-date travel information.
“We’re sort of reinventing the wheel,” Snyder said.
© 2002, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism
By ALEKS TAPINSH