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Sunday, 09 December 2012 23:16

Pure Michigan Winter: Campaign promotes Michigan’s role as ‘winter playground’

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Muskegon Winter Sports Complex Muskegon Winter Sports Complex

A $2.24 million ad campaign pitching Michigan as a winter travel destination aims to replicate the success of the summertime Pure Michigan ads that are credited with boosting the state’s tourism industry.

Travel Michigan begins airing ads Dec. 31 on television stations in Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and within the state. The ads will run through January and follow an online marketing push that started in early November with 13 videos highlighting the state’s winter destinations.

While much smaller than the national summer campaign of nearly $12 million that targets travelers during the peak June-to-August vacation season, the winter drive essentially has the same goal: steering more travelers to the state, said David Lorenz, Travel Michigan’s industry relations manager.

The winter campaign, however, starts from a different perspective. Where the summer campaign is geared toward persuading people who have already decided to take vacations to come to Michigan, the winter ads seek to convince people to get out and travel during the winter months, rather than stay home.

“People look at winter as a negative and that’s a shame in a place such as this. We’re trying to encourage people to give winter a chance,” Lorenz said. “People tend to just stay home in the wintertime. We’re trying to get them to understand that people aren’t made to hibernate and that Michigan has unique experience to offer.”

The winter campaign emphasizes Michigan’s resorts and spas, indoor water parks, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice sailing. The $2.24 million budget includes $270,000 from eight partners in Muskegon, Cadillac, Detroit, Gaylord, Mt. Pleasant and Mount Bohemia, plus the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association and Wilds of Michigan, a group that promotes destinations in the Upper Peninsula.

Ads for the partnership with the Muskegon Convention & Visitors Bureau feature the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex that offers skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and a luge run.

The winter partnerships are crafted the same as the summer collaborations, Lorenz said. Travel Michigan matches funding from organizations in destination communities for promotional ads that use the Pure Michigan brand.

The 2012-2013 campaign is the largest Travel Michigan has undertaken for winter. The 2011-2012 winter campaign had a budget of $1.6 million and included $30,000 from a single partner: the Snowsports Industries Association.

Unlike the national summer campaign that runs in many states, the winter campaign focuses only on the Midwest.

“We can’t compete with the Rockies” for skiing, Lorenz said. “But we know that … Michigan is seen as the Midwest’s winter playground. We need to remind people.”

Tourism is about an $18 billion industry in Michigan that supports more than 200,000 jobs. About one-fourth of the annual travel spending in the state occurs during winter months. Snowmobiling alone is a $1 billion industry.

After going years with funding levels that fluctuated from year to year and that were often far below that of competing and neighboring states, Travel Michigan received increased funding for the popular Pure Michigan promotion. Legislators in 2011 agreed to a proposal from Gov. Rick Snyder to fund Travel Michigan’s budget with $25 million annually to promote the state using the popular Pure Michigan brand.

Travel Michigan ran a $2.6 million fall campaign this year that included $393,000 contributed from private-sector partners.

The Pure Michigan ads, which began in 2006, have been recognized nationally and are generally credited with driving increased travel to the state.

Data last spring from travel research firm Longwoods International showed a $10.5 million national cable television ad campaign in 2011 drove 1.2 million visits to Michigan that year by out-of-state travelers who spent an estimated $465.5 million and generated a $3.11 return on investment for every dollar spent. That compares with about 900,000 out-of-state visitors who spent $313.0 million in 2010 from a national cable TV campaign using the Pure Michigan brand.

When the national campaign’s results were coupled with data from a regional promotion, Pure Michigan generated nearly $1 billion in spending by 3.2 million visitors last year.

Between 2006 and 2011, the Pure Michigan campaign generated 10.4 million trips to the state, $2.97 billion in visitor spending, $208.1 million in state sales tax revenue and a return on investment of $3.70, the Toronto-based Longwoods International estimated.

Read 5637 times Last modified on Monday, 10 December 2012 00:21

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