Michigan Hotel, Motel & Resort Association
Investing in Tourism, Investing in Michigan
Goal: Increase awareness of the tourism industry and its economic benefits with legislators and increase state funding for tourism promotion.
Every $1 invested in tourism promotion nets $2 to $3 in new sales tax revenues; meaning increased funding in tourism promotion is more than just an advertising budget –it is an investment. Martin Waymire was tasked with leading an advocacy campaign to secure more state funding for tourism promotion.
We conducted, commissioned and reviewed extensive quantitative and qualitative research. We conducted a statewide survey of registered Michigan voters to assess the public opinion of investing in tourism promotion. Results showed that after learning of the return on investment, more than half of those surveyed were not opposed to an increase in funding. This information allowed us to focus on key messages with legislators, media and the general public.
Action Plan & Communication Overview:
Knowing our key message, we found several innovative ways to put tourism in the spotlight while emphasizing the financial gain that could be reached with additional investment.
We designed and delivered a series of “Top 10 Reasons to Invest in Michigan Tourism” postcards, each presenting a different aspect of Michigan tourism. Attached to each postcard was a “trinket” associated with the specific topic. For example, to highlight the many outdoor activities Michigan offers, we coupled a postcard of a beautiful golf course with golf tees, emblazoned with “Tee Up Michigan Tourism!” on each one.
The second part of our strategy involved taking lawmakers on a “Tour of Michigan,” again via postcards. We gave each lawmaker a “map” of Michigan, showing exactly how many areas of the state are directly impacted by tourism dollars. For example, a tour of Michigan’s campgrounds shows nearly 900 facilities open to campers. These “maps” demonstrate fully the impact of tourism on EVERY region and EVERY legislative district.
- We exceeded our goal of garnering attention to the issue and the importance of tourism to our economy.
- Governor Granholm’s 2009 state budget proposed $90 million over the next two years for Travel Michigan’s out-of-state advertising campaign.
- The campaign was highly successful in reaching our targeted audience and conveying the importance of the tourism industry to Michigan’s economy and the return on investment that can be realized.