When Zimmermann came to Michigan in October 2001, the agency spent just $5.7 million annually promoting the state as a vacation destination.
If Travel Michigan were to ever get more funding, it needed to boost business, and Zimmermann knew it had to prove its case. By 2004, Travel Michigan was contracting with the Toronto-based tourism research firm Longwoods International to collect and analyze data to determine the return on investment for promotional spending.
In 2006, on the strength of the ROI data, legislators raised Travel Michigan’s promotional budget to $13.2 million and have subsequently set the annual funding level at about $30 million.
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