Tourism Marketing Matching Grant

The Tourism Marketing Matching Grant helps nonprofit organizations, destination marketing organizations, and local city and county governments market themselves to increase traveler spending in Colorado.

To help meet the needs of industry partners, many with reduced budgets due to the pandemic, for fiscal year 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) applications the maximum grant amount has been raised to $40,000 while the required match has been lowered to 50%. Your request needs to have a funding ratio of 1-to-2 non-grant funding to grant funding. For example, if you request a grant of $40,000, you need to have at least $20,000 in other funding.

Program goals are to:

  • increase traveler spending and economic benefit for Colorado through effective marketing and promotion 
  • leverage funds to maximize marketing impact 
  • support industry collaboration and align industry marketing efforts to enhance Colorado's competitiveness 

We look for proposals that:

  • reinforce and strengthen the Colorado brand
  • contribute to a key statewide marketing initiative
  • inspire destination experiences founded upon a common theme
  • demonstrate industry collaboration with two or more destinations 
  • support better management of a destination

Application and project timeline

August 10, 2021  Application opens
September 23, 2021  Application closes at 4:00 pm
October 28, 2021   Recipient notification
January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022  Grant project execution period
February 15, 2023  Final report and expense receipts due

Overview

Type: Grant

For: Tourism nonprofit organizations, destination marketing organizations, and local city or county governments

Amount: Up to $40,000 per application

Application period: August 10 to September 23, 2021, at 4 pm

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

Each submitting lead applicant is limited to one Marketing Matching Grant project per state fiscal year (July to June) unless prior approval is provided. Lead applicants can be a partner in a separate grant application. Applicants need to be either:

  • a nonprofit organization responsible for promoting tourism on behalf of a destination or tourism industry sector such as a destination marketing organization, lodging tax board, chamber of commerce
  • a Colorado city or county government engaged in tourism promotion

Ineligible applicants include:

  • entities that failed to fulfill Colorado Tourism Office grant award requirements within the past fiscal year such as project completion, submitting required grant reporting, proper use of grant funds, lack of acknowledgment, and changes to the proposal without approval
  • for-profit organizations
  • individual attractions, museums, or businesses

Eligible projects are for new marketing initiatives and should allow for strong measurement capabilities. Grants will not be awarded to fund existing marketing efforts unless the funds are for a new set of initiatives or outcomes or you are expanding the program into new markets or media. The list of eligible and ineligible uses of funds applies to both grant funds and an applicant’s matching funds.

You may use the grant and matching funds for:

  • creative executions specific to your advertising campaign:
    • creative advertising production (print, digital, out-of-home, video, social, and radio) 
    • content development (written, video, or audio)
    • Photography
    • Videography and post-production video editing
    • audio development (radio, etc.)
    • print and collateral (brochures, visitor guides, posters, and maps)
    • fulfillment costs
  • marketing executions specific to your advertising campaign:
    • media placement (print, digital, out-of-home, television, social, and radio)
    • social media initiatives (organic)
    • public relations initiatives
    • search engine marketing (SEM) initiatives (SEO/paid search)
    • Crowdriff Stories
  • trade show registration and booth rental fees – only 10% of grant dollars are eligible for travel or lodging fees associated with a consumer show; food and beverage are not eligible expenses
  • website development, refresh, or restructure
  • other approved projects

These expenses are not eligible for the grant and matching funds:

  • general administrative costs such as employee salaries, personnel costs, and office supplies
  • grant writing or grant management costs
  • retainer fees
  • items for resale or promotional items, including gift cards
  • lobbying or membership dues
  • travel expenses, except for trade show attendance, as specified above
  • purchase or rentals of equipment or supplies
  • food or alcoholic beverages
  • gateway finding or informational signage

 Applications are not currently being accepted. Please sign up for the Colorado Tourism Office email updates to stay updated on when this application will open. 

Apply on the OEDIT application portal. Log in to your account or create a new account. To protect your personal information, we manually add new users to the portal, so it may take several days to activate your account. Instructions for navigating the grant portal are available.

The application process is as follows:

  1. Verify your eligibility by reading through the guidelines carefully.
  2. Prepare your application materials by filling out this Tourism Marketing Matching Grant Application Materials (DOCX) - COMING SOON. This document includes all application questions.
  3. Submit your full application in the OEDIT application portal. Instructions for navigating the grant portal are available.
  4. Applications will be reviewed.
  5. Status notification five weeks after the application closes.

Supporting documents

You will need to provide:

Tourism Marketing Matching Grant applicants receive decisions in late October.

This is a competitive award program, and not all applicants receive funding. The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) will appoint a committee to review applications. CTO will award grants based on application scores and availability of grant funding. 

Reviewers will prioritize applications that include:

  • marketing plan that states clear objectives and attainable deliverables targeted toward attracting travel and tourism to Colorado
  • applying entity with a track record of effective work, evident through strong support letters
  • well-planned project timeline and budget
  • project effectiveness plan with clear, appropriate, and achievable outcomes
  • demonstration that project will achieve good return on investment by 1) promoting increased traveler spending and 2) increasing economic benefit
  • clear writing and a strong case for support

Tourism Marketing Matching Grant

The committee will score applications on these criteria. 

  • strength of marketing plan (40%)
  • expected impact (35%)
  • performance measures (15%)
  • implementation capacity (10%)

Follow instructions in the grant award email and submit any requested documents within three weeks. We award funds through electronic funds transfer after we’ve finalized a purchase order.

Our goal is to provide grant funds upfront. Funds are subject to approval by the State Controller’s Office yearly, so we may award funds on a reimbursement basis.

You need to:

  • not begin project activities until the purchase order has been executed and signed
  • complete your project within the approved grant timeline and contract end date
  • keep the project budget updated throughout the lifetime of the grant
  • submit an interim report and updated project budget
  • submit a final report and final budget, including documents for expenses incurred, 45 days after the grant period ends

Marketing Best Practices      Photo Guidelines      Press Release Template  

Acknowledgement

All advertising and promotional materials that are funded in part by Colorado Tourism Office funds need to include the official Colorado Tourism Office logo. When appropriate, advertising and promotional materials developed through Colorado Tourism Office funds should include a reference to the applicant’s travel region. Websites need to reference the applicable travel region.

Main Logo

Stacked/Vertical Logo

Changes to proposal

The Colorado Tourism Office needs to approve any significant refinements, clarifications, modifications or changes to the proposal or you organization may forfeit grant funds. Organizations should complete and submit the Proposal Change Form. We will not accept proposal change forms 60 days or less from the end of the project.

Project timeline and report

You need to complete your project within the grant cycle period. You need to submit your final report within 30 days of completing your project. In the final report, submit a budget, invoices, expense receipts, and proof of payment and describe what you accomplished with the grant.

Expenses incurred before purchase order execution are not allowable expenses.

Unused funds

You need to return any unused grant funds to the Colorado Tourism Office.

Program Manager

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