Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) Marketing Leverage Program
Grants to Virginia Nonprofits, For-Profits, and
Agencies for New Tourism Marketing Programs
Agencies for New Tourism Marketing Programs
Foundation / Corporation
Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC)
06/27/17 5:00 PM
Matching grants of up to $10,000 and ranging from $10,001 to $50,000 to Virginia nonprofits, for-profits, counties, towns, and chambers of commerce to stimulate new tourism marketing programs through the creation of tourism partnerships. June 6, 2017 is the deadline to submit an application draft. Funding is intended to extend the State's “Virginia is for Lovers” marketing campaign. The objective of this program is to leverage limited marketing dollars, resulting in increased visitor spending, revenue, and jobs.
A minimum of three Virginia entities must partner financially to apply for funding consideration. In order to be considered a financial partner, a minimum commitment of $250 is required. Partners may consist of Virginia towns, cities, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations (DMO), private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and tourism-related entities.
- Placement of Advertisements – (includes print ads, digital, radio, television, etc.). Ads must promote the applicant's area to visitors. Applications must incorporate aspects of the “VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS” campaign. Applications that more fully integrate the “VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS” campaign marketing opportunities will score higher. If the proposal includes media outlets that are not part of the VTC Partnership Advertising Opportunities, justification should be included as to why the proposed media outlet is used.
- For all partners in your program, failure to incorporate “VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS” in your marketing, including not displaying the VIFL logo, will result in reimbursement requests being denied.
- Printed Materials – Travel related printed materials including brochures, media kits, group tour publications, meeting planner publications and other printed information materials designed to promote the partner’s area as a travel destination. Such programs MUST include a marketing mechanism and plan for promoting the availability of such printed materials.
- Website Development – Development of websites to promote the applicant's areas are eligible. Maintenance fees for websites are not eligible. Websites must include the “VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS” logo and must provide a reciprocal link to www.Virginia.org from their website. Such programs MUST include a marketing mechanism and plan for promoting the awareness and availability of such websites.
- Participation in desk-side media appointments with the VTC Public Relations Department. Travel expenses, including accommodations, and transportation, are not eligible for funding.
- Participation in the VTC LOVEwork Program.
- Participation in CRUSA marketing initiatives identified in the CRUSA marketing plan.
- International sales missions with VTC and CRUSA, including Canada.
- Digital Marketing – Search engine optimization, banner and website advertising, and other electronic marketing initiatives are eligible expenses.
- Creation of mobile marketing applications so long as they are measurable. This includes mobile applications and other related programs.
- Social media marketing initiatives, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
- Production of B-Roll video footage and high-resolution photography. Any such materials produced should be offered for use by VTC for promotional purposes and should comply with VTC Usage Rights. Please contact VTC prior to production of such materials for complete technical requirements and VTC Usage Rights policies.
- Travel and Trade Show Booth Rental/Participation Fees – Fees associated with registration at travel and trade shows are eligible. Travel expenses, including accommodations, and transportation, are not eligible for funding.
- Dues and Memberships – Fees that are required to participate in marketing initiatives or travel trade shows are eligible.
- Outdoor advertising through paid billboards.
- Tradeshow Displays – Design and production of display units that will be used in conjunction with travel promotions at travel and tradeshows are eligible.
- Fulfillment Costs – Fees associated with mailing collateral materials as a result of the marketing programs are eligible as well as the cost of toll-free numbers associated with the programs.
- The cost of doing research directly related to your program. Typically 2% to 5% of your programs overall cost should be set aside for research. Research programs funded by the VTC Marketing Leverage Program must share the research results and any reports with the VTC Research Department.
- Participation fees in VTC domestic sales trade show opportunities
- Participation fees in a sales mission with VTC Domestic Sales to target markets for Tour and Travel, Meetings, and Conventions or Sports Marketing
- Tier One Leverage Program: up to $10,000, requiring a 1:1 match.
- Tier Two Leverage Program: $10,001 to $50,000, requiring a 2:1 match.
All programs should be completed within 18 months of the award notification date.
- Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
- Local Governments
- See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
- State Agencies
Towns, cities, counties, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, other local or regional destination marketing organizations (DMO), private businesses, museums, attractions, cultural events, and tourism-related entities.
The Federal Employment Identification number (FEIN) must be included for all partners. The FEIN will be used to confirm different partners. For example, two departments of the same town that share a FEIN would NOT be considered two separate partners. Or, two hotel properties that shared an FEIN would NOT be considered two separate partners.
DMOs are not required to be a financial partner; however, all applications must include indication of support per the online application from each DMO(s) within the program coverage area, as well as the DMO’s locality performance measures. DMOs can be – and are encouraged to be – partners in the application.
Programs that are regional in scope are encouraged. If you have non-Virginia partners, you MUST have a minimum of three, Virginia financial partners, and a Virginia lead partner. In addition, your program must be located in Virginia, and encourage visitation to Virginia. State/federal agencies may apply for funding; however applications that include state/federal agencies must have a minimum of two additional non-state/federal agency financial partners. State/federal agencies may not be the lead partner in an application.
All applicable partners in the application must be listed on http://www.Virginia.org and must provide a reciprocal link to http://www.Virginia.org from their website. One partner must serve as the lead partner who will administer the program. The lead applicant can only be the lead partner in one program per funding cycle and the program can apply only in one funding tier. Potential vendor of services (i.e. printer, web developer, etc.) for or to the application program cannot be a partner in the application. Applicants are encouraged to seek services through a competitive bid process and are encouraged to utilize SWAM (Small Business, Women, or Minority-Owned) vendors, when possible.
The following will NOT be funded by the VTC Marketing Leverage Program, nor will qualify as a Partner's match:
- Programs that do not contribute to increased visitation to Virginia will not qualify.
- Programs that focus more on a tangible product’s marketing that does not include a STRONG travel marketing component will not qualify.
- Programs that focus exclusively on a research project will not qualify. Such applications must include extensive marketing initiatives and not just focus on research. The research cost must be directly associated with the marketing program. Research costs not directly associated with the program are not eligible expenses.
- Programs that focus exclusively on a branding project will not qualify. Such applications must include extensive marketing initiatives and not jsut focus on branding. The branding initiative must be directly associated with the marketing program. Branding costs not directly associated with the program are not eligible expenses.
- Administrative expenses including office space, salary and personnel costs, office supplies, office equipment, normal office postage, other administrative costs and overhead costs, are not eligible expenses. (Toll-free numbers associated with the programs will be funded as described above, as will postage fulfillment costs directly associated with the programs).
- Costs of promotional items (such as pens, pencils, t-shirts, hats, general merchandise, stickers, on-site or local banners, etc.) are not eligible expenses.
- Event start-up and production costs.
- FAM/Media Tours costs associated with travel (transportation, lodging, meals, etc.) are not eligible expenses.
- Development of media kits and/or other collateral marketing materials are allowable expenses.
- The costs of signage and local/onsite banners - including production and installation - are not eligible expenses. Exception: Costs associated with design, fabrication, and installation of Virginia Civil War Trails interpretive markers are an allowable signage cost. Maintenance fees for Virginia Civil War Trails interpretive markers are NOT eligible expenses. Projects that include Virginia Civil War Trails interpretive markers must include a marketing component promoting the presence of the marker. An application for a project that features Virginia Civil War Trails interpretive markers must be endorsed by Drew Gruber, Executive Director, Virginia Civil War Trails (see Contact Information). This endorsement must be indicated in your program description, and proof of endorsement (signed letter) must be included with reimbursement requests for Virginia Civil War Trails markers.
- Customer service and industry training programs are not eligible expenses.
- Ongoing maintenance and hosting fees for websites are not eligible expenses.
- Travel expenses, including accommodations, and transportation are not eligible expenses
The VTC Marketing Leverage Program applications are now OPEN and will be due back on June 27, 2017.
VTC will offer a review of the draft of your application. Such review drafts must be submitted no later than 06/06/2016, 5:00 PM.
Applicants must apply online. If you are the lead partner in your application, meet with your partners before you register for your account, and enter your partner’s information. Once you register for your account, and add your partners contact information, your partners will receive an email alerting them they are partners in your grant. Your partners need to be aware of their role in the application process before they receive this email!
Note that the lead partner will complete all narrative sections of the application, including the Marketing Calendar and Budget Items. The partners in the application will complete their contact information and their individual portion of the Performance Measure section. The partners will need to supply - to the lead partner - their market research, and their portion of the Marketing Calendar and Budget Items.
Please note, Tier One grants (up to $10,000) require a 1:1 match and Tier two grants ($10,001 to $50,000) require a 2:1 match (two dollars from partners matched by one dollar from VTC). No in-kind good or services will be allowed for matching purposes.
This program is not intended to be a sustainable funding source for your program.
Grading of applications is expected to be completed and award/denial notifications made by 08/31/2017.
Terms and Conditions:
List of DMOs:
Applicants are encouraged to seek services through a competitive bid process and are encouraged to utilize SWAM (Small Business, Women, or Minority-Owned) vendors, when possible. For more information about SWAM certification, please visit http://www.dmbe.virginia.gov/.
Information on VTC Partnership Advertising Opportunities:
Information on the VTC LOVEwork Program:
Information on CRUSA marketing initiatives:
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Register and apply online:
Phone: (804) 545-5553
If applying for grant funding for a Civil War Trails Marker, please contact Drew Gruber, Executive Director, Virginia Civil War Trails at 804-783-7423 or via mail at:
Virginia Civil War Trails
PO Box 1862
Williamsburg, VA 23187.
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