Sep 02, 2009 at 08:24 PM
written by

Tourism Marketing: Sun, Sand & Sponsorship

In many cases, sponsors are the hometown heroes. In the case of the travel and tourism category though, that's not always the case, although it could be. You see, sponsors in this category can be in your backyard or half a world away - with the same overall objectives, but using sponsorship to employ very different tactics. It's one of the most fascinating sponsorship categories there is (that sounds nerdy, I know) and we've seen a rash of interesting deals just over the last few weeks alone. Take these cases for example..

  • Mariah Carey, a resident of the Bahamas, will release her next album co-sponsored by the Bahamas Board of Tourism.
  • Pure Michigan Travel, an award winning $30 million campaign to awareness to Michigan, spent $110,000 to title sponsor the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race at Port Huron. The sponsorship, despite having little media, was used as a showcase for the state, both in person and online. However, the campaign, despite generating $80 million in sales tax revenue, may not be renewed next year.
  • Finally, Puerto Rico is sponsoring the New York Mets while running a Mets-themed promotion that will be tied directly to the sale of travel packages and will include pass-through for The Rums of Puerto Rico.

    Many travel and tourism bureau's choose perfect events for their target audience, but all too often fall short on activation. Some signage, a booth and a trip sweepstakes might not have much of an influence on such an involved purchase decision. Does signage or a single winner sweepstakes really work or perhaps the category should be looking at sponsorship as an entry point for a deeper and more consistent dialogue with prospective visitors?

    Last year, the Puerto Rico Tourism welcomed the PGA Tour. Former Director of PR at Puerto Rico Tourism, Carmen Portela, last year took time out to talk about how Puerto Rico markets itself abroad.

    Don't expect for this trend to change, as travel becomes more affordable and our economy becomes increasingly global. Many beautiful far flung regions have U.S.-based agencies scouting out new marketing investments. It's just a matter of getting the decision-maker on the phone, or in our case the internet.