Washtenaw County will play host to a bigger suitcase contingency of leisure and business travelers, with some of those visitors possibly choosing to stay and do business in the region, if the new $1 million Pure Michigan national advertising campaign has its way.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)'s Pure Michigan
initiative is putting $500,000 towards the campaign, which is being matched by a collective $500,000 put forth by the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB)
, the Ypsilanti Area CVB
, and Ann Arbor SPARK
The effort, to be called, "Sense of Place" is a first-time pilot program to combine support for both tourism and economic development, the only area in the state being considered for this combination, according to Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor Area CVB.
"Like tourism marketing, economic development attracts attention to what Ann Arbor has to offer, and creates demand for Ann Arbor as a destination; both are about people: Tourists, visitors, students, families, business owners, job-seekers," Donna Doleman, Ann Arbor SPARK's vice president of marketing and talent, says in a statement. "Businesses want to locate in a desirable location where they can hire and attract workers, including those who would relocate for a job. This new marketing partnership allows us to scale and amplify our economic development and business attraction efforts."
The campaign follows a three-year partnership between the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti CVBs and Travel Michigan to promote the area to other Midwestern cities.
"We're partnered as a regional partner with Travel Michigan promoting the Ann Arbor area as a tourist destination in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis, which are three of the state's regional markets. And it's been very successful for us. We've seen strong results for Washtenaw County and we feel this is the natural path for moving forward," Kerr says.
"This pilot program gives us the opportunity to reach a much larger audience than we've reached previously with our regional campaigns," she adds.
The campaign is to consist of a national ad running on cable television, articles on the Michigan.org
website, press tours for journalists, and a promotional video residing on michiganadvantage.org
. And subject to negotiations with HGTV, a House Hunters
episode featuring a family's search for a house in the Ann Arbor area will air in June. A firm campaign launch date has not been determined yet, but Kerr expects more details to be available later in March.
In 2010, out of 83 Michigan counties, Kerr says Washtenaw County ranked number 5 and 7 in business and leisure travel spending, respectively. Travel spending in the county totaled about $595 million. Of that, business travel was $223 million and leisure travel $372 million. According to metrics released by the Pure Michigan campaign, $3.29 is returned in sales tax for every $1 spent on advertising.
Kerr says Pure Michigan is "probably the number one tourism campaign in the country, definitely the number one tourism website in the country as well. So we're not just a $1 million national campaign, but very much a part of the overall state's national campaign for Pure Michigan."
Sources: Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
; Donna Doleman, vice president of marketing and talent, Ann Arbor SPARK
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar