For the first time in three years, the Utah Office of Tourism received a budget increase from the Utah Legislature, an increase of $2M. The increase came with a specific caveat from the Legislature: 20 percent of the total $9M budget must go toward co-op marketing, a matching grant program that funds tourism-focused efforts of nonprofits such as the Park City Chamber/Bureau and the Kimball Arts Center.

With more money came an increase on the cap nonprofits could apply for through the co-op program from $175,000 to $225,000, a $50,000 increase in possible funding. Though applications are not due until June, Park City nonprofits are already planning how much to ask for from the office.

"It's a terrific opportunity to put us in greater depth where we wanted to be," said Teri Orr, the executive director of the Park City Performing Arts Center. "We would always advertise in Evanston, Wyoming, right over the border."

"The advertising works with all realms, with lodging, with restaurants. It's a good way to go," she added.

The Park City Performing Arts Center plans on reapplying for the Utah Office of Tourism co-op program next year.

"The Utah Life Elevated message is not just about the national parks," said Utah Office of Tourism Director Leigh von der Esch. "… Park City more and more is becoming a 365-days-a-year resort, not just the summer and winter seasons."

But cuts to the state office meant cuts in grants farther down the line, affecting marketing budgets for organizations such as the Park City Chamber/Bureau. In the 2009/10 fiscal year, the budget took a dive, leaving the chamber to rework how advertising dollars were spent.

"The challenge was trying to make it up somewhere else," said Chamber/Bureau president and member of the Utah Office of Tourism Board, Bill Malone. "What was really interesting was when funding was down the most, when we took that dip in funding … advertising rates had dropped as well."

The low ad rates helped keep marketing campaigns going, but the recent increase in funding comes at a time when low ad rates have become fewer and harder to find.

The Park City Chamber, the largest recipient in Park City for the co-op grant, plans on increasing its grant request this year in hopes of expanding the winter television commercial campaign.

"There's no guarantee that we'll ever get the maximum amount," Malone said. "It's a competitive bidding process, but we've had really great success because they're looking for traceability and measurability on what money is spent on."

Last year, the Chamber/Bureau received the cap of $175,000 which was used entirely for the winter television campaign, running for five weeks in markets like Los Angeles and New York City. With more funding, Malone said the Park City Chamber could continue to run in two markets simultaneously and possibly expand into smaller markets as well.

The Kimball Arts Center also regularly applies for the grant and received $15,000 to advertise out of state this year. Because the grant requires the nonprofit to match the funds and because marketing budgets have been waning over the past few years, matching grant requests have caused spotted requests in funding.

"One of our strategic initiatives is to grow our reach outside of the State of Utah," said Robin Marrouche, executive director of the Kimball Art Center. "What we do is when we get the grant, we look at where the tourism offices are concentrating their efforts. Then, we talk to chamber to see where their efforts are. The more we jointly emphasize on certain pockets, the more overall impact we have."

The Kimball Art Center, much like other grant recipients in the area, advertise more than just one aspect of the community, often combining lodging and culinary destinations into ads used out of state.

"In addition to what the chamber has done by taking advantage of the co-op program, we don't limit marketing in Park City," Esch said. "In all of our different collateral commercials, the Park City product is highlighted. It's certainly part of our brand, a significant part."

 

Tourism Marketing Performance Fund:

2005/06: $10M

2006/07: $11M

2007/08: $11M

2008/09: $11M

2009/10: $7M

2010/11: $6.95M

2011/12: $7M

2012/13: $9M

Park City Chamber/Bureau:

$112,500 FY 05/06

$9,369 FY 05/06

$250,000 FY06/07

$223,000 FY 07/08

$250,000 FY 08/09

$175,000 FY 09/10

$169,750 FY 10/11

$175,000 FY 11/12

Kimball Art Center:

$19,688 - FY 05/06

$67,511 - FY 06/07

$9,000 - FY 09/10

$6,750 - FY 10/11

$15,000 FY 11/12

Park City Performing Arts:

$47,405 FY 05/06

$91,010 FY 06/07

$106,500 FY 07/08

$121,525 FY 08/09

$46,617 FY 09/10

$37,742 FY 10/11

National Ability Center:

$11,025 FY 09/10

$13,100 FY 11/12

Park City Jazz Foundation:

$25,500 FY 05/06

$50,000 FY 06/07

*Information provided by the Utah Office of Tourism