Tourism Marketing Grant Criteria
Tourism is defined as “the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes.”
Purpose & Priorities:
Visit Henry County, GA, hereafter referred to as the CVB, has established funds to assist its tourism partners in marketing tourism attractions or events exhibiting positive tourism potential for the Henry County area. Partners can apply for up to $5,000 to make specific tourism marketing enhancements to a particular project or event or to generally promote, or enhance the promotion of, a tourism location. Decisions on funding are made by a team of grant reviewers independent of the Visit Henry County, GA staff. Funding decisions are approved by the Visit Henry County, GA Board of Directors. The goal of these funds is to attract NEW visitors to Henry County and therefore stimulate an increase in hotel/motel occupancy, expenditures by visitors to Henry County, and to promote a positive image and increased visibility of the county’s attractions.
These funds are intended to support the following tourism related activities/assets.
A one-time event that brings out of town/overnight guests to a community. Examples include large car shows, youth sports tournaments with national/local teams and concert/beer tasting event supporting Georgia Craft Beer Day, and a two-day Strawberry Festival.
An ongoing series of offerings or events that brings out of town/overnight guests to a community. Examples include a summer short-track racing series, promotion of an amphitheater’s season (as a whole – not individual shows), and social media ad placements promoting a farm’s seasonal events.
A permanent business or location that provides an ongoing opportunity for visitor interaction and experience. Qualifying expenses include marketing strategies that increase overall awareness, access and education about a business that enhance its ability to attract more/new visitors. This could be elements of an ongoing awareness campaign, such as a website, brochure or digital ads for a hotel, museum, event facility, retail establishment or restaurant.
Before applying for the Tourism Marketing Grant, applicants should consider the following:
- Whether the program, event or asset fits into one of the tourism categories listed above
- Whether the business, program or event is located in Henry County within the city limits of Hampton, Locust Grove, Stockbridge or unincorporated Henry County or owned by one of the above entities.
- Program/event’s ability to generate overnight hotel stays
- Program/event’s ability to draw visitors from outside of Henry County
- Program/event’s projected number of attendees or participants and the percentage of those attendees coming from outside Henry County
- Program/event’s ability to grow, with or without CVB funding support, over two or more years
- Program/event’s ability to generate food, beverage, and retail expenditures by out of town visitors
- Program/event’s ability to project a positive image of Henry County through media activities and advertising efforts
Applicants who cannot demonstrate the ability to meet at least three of the above criteria may not be eligible for the grant. For eligibility questions, contact Janna Szeto at JSzeto@visithenrycountygeorgia.com. Extra consideration will be given to grant applicants who have a strong method of data collection.
Guidelines and Requirements:
- All requests must be made by the approved single point of contact for each tourism business.
- The promoted event, business or organization must hold a valid business license and all appropriate permits.
- The primary goal of an CVB funded projects must be visitor facing tourism programs, events or marketing. While residents may benefit from the funded project/programs, they cannot be the primary audience.
- All vendors used to fulfill advertising/marketing requests must be qualified, licensed professionals.
- Funds will not be issued directly to grantees. Original invoices must be submitted to the CVB for direct payment to the approved vendors.
- All applicants must designate a Project Manager for their application and event.
- Tourism businesses may submit applications for more than one marketing initiative/event, but they must be submitted on a separate application. For events, there can be no overlap between the applications (i.e. two applications cannot be submitted for one festival/event and marketing initiative).
- All advertising must be targeted outside of Henry County (the exception is billboard signage along major interstates). Print advertising and radio ads whose reach and distribution include Henry County are acceptable as long as greater than 50% of the reach is outside Henry County.
- Events must be open to the general public (ticketed events are accepted as long as the public has the opportunity to purchase tickets).
- A marketing plan must be submitted or the attached marketing plan grid must be completed for the project/event for the release of funds to be considered. Attachment A: Marketing Plan Grid
- No project, event, or program or its marketing may promote a specific candidate, elected or appointed official, political party, or platform either directly or indirectly.
- No event-related marketing efforts may promote lodging facilities located outside of Henry County. If a host hotel is selected for the event, it must be in the limits of Henry County.
- Henry County CVB must review and give advance approval on funded marketing activities, including advertisements, flyers, posters, programs, radio advertisements, websites, digital marketing, etc. The Henry County CVB will provide specific approved funding items.
- Funding will not be made available for any administrative, clerical, or event production needs or as a supplement to normal operating costs, capital, or infrastructure expenditures.
- Execution of the project will be the sole responsibility of the tourism business requesting funding. This includes the creation of advertisements, research and contracting of vendors and implementation.
- Applicants will be notified within 21 business days of the grant cycle closing date if the requested project has been approved. Approval will be provided in writing through the named point of contact. All applications will be judged using the Tourism Grant Rubric linked here and below as Attachment B.
- Applicants who receive grant funds should be prepared to submit a Grant Usage Report regarding the return on investment (ROI) of the grant funds using the metrics presented in the grant application and the attached rubric.
Eligible Marketing Program Tactics:
- Production of promotional pieces to be distributed outside of Henry County. These pieces may include brochures, posters, direct mail pieces, etc. Applications must be specific on methods of distribution, production costs or any other expenses funded by the Visit Henry County, GA.
- Website development/ Upgrades (If an upgrade, application must demonstrate how the upgrades will enhance the event/business’s ability to attract new visitors).
- Graphic design services (for marketing collateral)
- Video production
- Marketing Photography (for tourism-related businesses)
- Digital advertisements (banner ads, pay-per-click ads, YouTube ads, etc.)
- Paid social advertising (the CVB is unable to reimburse applicants, therefore any paid social media would have to be facilitated through a third-party social media management company and tied to an approved specific campaign or event with associated reporting)
Examples of ineligible tactics include, but are not limited to:
- Any event expenses not approved for funding in the application
- Capital projects or infrastructure costs for a business or an event
- Advertising or promotional pieces (production or distribution costs) placed within Henry County excluding advertisements placed on major interstates.
- Website development or enhancement to governmental or non-visitors facing websites
- Promotional items
- Signage or kiosks
- Logo or brand development
- Trade Show registration or attendance
- Fees associated with the hiring of a marketing or public relations company
- Event tickets or passes used in marketing or PR projects. Henry County CVB considers such expenses in-kind, and will not pay the cost of providing tickets to media outlets for contests or PR campaigns.
- Salaries and other monetary compensation to event staff or on-air talent
- Food and beverage
- Mileage or gas expenses due to distribution of materials
Procedures and Deadlines:
Applications MUST be received no later than 90 days prior to the event date or program launch. Further information or materials may be requested from the tourism business at the time of review. All questions will be directed towards the designated Project Manager. Applications approved for funding will be notified in writing.
Tourism businesses should complete the online application linked below and it must be received by either January 15 or July 15.
All funds applied for and granted under the January 15 deadline must complete all grant funded activities and have submitted invoices for payment no later than June 15.
Funds applied for and granted under the July 15 deadline must complete all grant funded activities and have submitted all invoices for payment no later than December 15.
Invoices submitted after the above listed dates will not be paid.
DOCUMENTS & FORMS
Attachment A: Marketing Plan Grid
Attachment B: Tourism Grant Rubric