The television is on in the background, but you hear the opening notes of a commercial and you know what’s coming.
The mellow voice of Birmingham’s own Tim Allen extolling the sand, the lighthouses, the snow, the total pleasure of Pure Michigan.
It makes you feel warm and fuzzy about the state you live in – but does it work for the millions of leisure travelers and the corporate and association meeting planners at whom Pure Michigan is also aimed?
The short answer is “yes”.
George Zimmerman is the vice president in charge of Michigan’s tourism efforts. He was there at the beginning of the Pure Michigan campaign.
“Back in 2006,” he recalls, “we put out an RFP for a new advertising agency. In that, we asked for new ideas to position Michigan. McCann Erickson went above and beyond typical RFP responses and they built this very compelling architecture for what is now ‘Pure Michigan.’
“It went live in 2006 and then, in 2009, it went from being a regional ad campaign to a national one. Tim Allen was the first and the only person, ever asked (to do the voiceover for the ads.) Sometimes ‘great’ works out!” Zimmerman laughs.
Is Pure Michigan working for destinations throughout the state?
“Almost every one of them!” Zimmerman says. “Since the end of the national crisis, the tourism industry has just taken off. Smith Travel Research surveys thousands of hotels every month to track trends and occupancy rates, the rates hotels are getting for rooms – benchmarks over time. We’ve been getting data from them since 2004. And 2013 was by far the best year ever, statewide. By every metric it was the best for a decade, probably longer.
“Michigan hotel rates have lagged the country for a long time, and we’re still below the national average, but we’ve certainly closed that gap.”
Zimmerman plans to step down from Pure Michigan on April 28.
You’ll often hear governors and mayors touting the success of their economic development arms by citing construction spending, tax revenue generated and jobs gained. Those are dollars that are reasonably easy to measure.
The way states and municipalities measure the success of their tourism and convention marketing campaigns is by how successful their hotels are. As Zimmerman alluded to earlier, it’s all about the numbers of hotel rooms occupied and the dollars those rooms generated that indicate how well things are going.
Source: Corp! Magazine