Traverse City News and Events

Adding Some Passion To Pure Michigan

Dec. 18, 2015

Craft beer. Golf. Scenic routes. Water. They’re parts of Michigan’s fabric, found in Traverse City and elsewhere…and they’re a focus of a new state tourism marketing initiative.

The Ticker recently caught up with Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, to talk about those 2016 plans and others for the Pure Michigan campaign, which looks to continue momentum as it marks its 10th anniversary next year.

Lorenz says that with the new initiative, the state hopes to draw visitors by presenting Michigan in a different way, honing in on specific interests through advertising, social media, a to-be-revamped website, and other platforms.

“Our overall messaging will be more oriented around the things that people are passionate about,” he says.

It’s a plan that meshes with Traverse City Tourism’s approach, with its own “passions platform” marketing targeting areas like wine, food, craft beer, fishing, outdoor recreation, motoring and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Brad Van Dommelen, president and CEO, says Traverse City Tourism will be coordinating with the state. In many areas, Van Dommelen says, “our product reflects” the themes the state is pursuing.

The state’s first passion campaign, “It’s a Snow Day,” kicks off Dec. 22. It’s built around winter recreation and encouraging people to take their vacation days and “experience Michigan at a time when it’s not so busy, and go to places that you haven’t been to in a while,” says Lorenz. “We happen to be in a four-season state…you will enjoy winter, if you get out and experience it in some way.”

Also in the works: a new website for Michigan.org. The state has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to rebuild the travel website that, while drawing millions of site visitors each year, needs to be easier to use, Lorenz says. “Once people get there, they can’t find anything.”

He says the new website will be “much more intuitive in the way you find information. So you don’t have to know Michigan already, in order to use Michigan.org.” And, in a nod to Traverse City Tourism’s website that in May was re-launched with a select-your-season feature, the new state tourism website will have more seasonality.

“We need to be able to allow somebody right now to plan their golfing adventure next spring,” Lorenz says.

Travel Michigan’s 2016 marketing plans span the state, from an Upper Peninsula regional campaign to a focus on Detroit as a comeback city. And as part of the state’s marketing to international travelers, those arriving from overseas at Detroit Metropolitan Airport will be greeted with Pure Michigan branding and billboards.

International visitors are an important and growing market to Traverse City Tourism as well, which partners with Travel Michigan on attraction efforts. And Lorenz says international markets that the state targets -- like Germany, the United Kingdom and China -- seek elements intrinsic to the Grand Traverse region, like nature and outstanding vistas.

“There are two cities that I think are most important for international marketing, and most engaged as well, and that is Detroit and Traverse City,” Lorenz says. “Detroit is a major gateway, going through renaissance…Traverse City is critically important because it offers this world class nature, small town, high quality experience.”

There’s “everything an international traveler of moderate or high means can enjoy,” he says, from Sleeping Bear Dunes, kayaking and biking to “a vibrant downtown, unique shopping, great values, and then the food, the tremendous food.”

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