The Tourism Marketing Matching Grant provides funding to Colorado nonprofit organizations, destination marketing/management organizations, and government entities to support tourism marketing and promotional campaigns. The Colorado Tourism Office hosted an informational webinar about the Tourism Marketing Matching Grant on Tuesday, September 3. Watch a recording of the webinar.
To continue to meet the needs of industry partners, many with reduced budgets due to the pandemic, for fiscal year 2023 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023) the maximum grant amount will be $40,000 while the required match will be 50%. Requests need to have a funding ratio of 1-to-2 non-grant funding to grant funding. For example, if you request $40,000 in grant funds, you need to have at least $20,000 in other funding.
Program goals are to:
- build a robust tourism economy through promotion and support for industry partners across the state
- strengthen the tourism industry and our state by seeking harmony between quality of life for residents and a strong visitor economy while respecting our cultural and natural resources
- maximize the economic return on public and private investments in Colorado by leveraging funds to optimize marketing impact
We look for proposals that:
- reinforce and strengthen the Colorado brand
- contribute to a key statewide marketing initiative
- demonstrate industry collaboration with two or more destinations and align industry marketing efforts to enhance Colorado's competitiveness
Tourism Marketing Matching Grant Guidelines
The Tourism Marketing Matching Grant is closed! Please check back in summer 2023 for updates about the next grant cycle.
For: Tourism nonprofit organizations, destination marketing/management organizations, and government entities
Amount: Up to $40,000 per application
Application period: September to October
OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office
Each submitting lead applicant is limited to one (1) Tourism Marketing Matching Grant per state fiscal year (July to June) unless prior approval is provided. Lead applicants can be a partner in a separate 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/management organization, chamber of commerce, lodging tax panel
- government entities in Colorado (state entities, local governments, and federally recognized tribes) engaged in tourism promotion
Ineligible applicants include:
- for-profit organizations
- individual attractions, museums, or businesses
Entities that failed to fulfill Colorado Tourism Office grant award requirements within the past twelve (12) months may be deemed ineligible.
Recipients of the Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant are ineligible to apply for a FY23 and FY24 Tourism Marketing Matching Grant unless prior approval is provided.
Eligible projects must be new marketing initiatives. 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.
- creative executions specific to the marketing and promotional campaign:
- creative advertising production (print, digital, out-of-home, video, social, and radio)
- content development (written, video, or audio)
- videography and post-production video editing
- audio development (radio, etc.)
- marketing collateral (print and digital brochures, visitor guides, posters, and maps)
- fulfillment costs
- promotional items (Promotional items must support the grant program goals and contain clear branding such as a call to action (CTA) or logo that features the grant recipient’s destination or organization.)
- marketing executions specific to the marketing and promotional campaign:
- media placement (print, digital, out-of-home, television, social, and radio)
- social media initiatives
- public relations initiatives
- search engine marketing (SEM) initiatives (SEO/paid search)
- Crowdriff Stories
- trade shows
- registration and booth rental fees
- airfare/lodging fees (up to10% of project budget)
- website development, refresh, or restructure
- other approved projects
Ineligible Use of Funds:
- general administrative costs such as employee salaries and office supplies
- grant writing or grant management costs
- items for resale and gift cards
- travel expenses, except for trade show attendance, as specified above
- food or alcoholic beverages
The applicant can financially match the project cost at a higher amount if the cost exceeds grant dollar limitations.
Apply through the OEDIT online portal by 4pm on Thursday, October 20, 2022.
Although not required, applicants are encouraged to submit a brief LOI prior to completing a full application so that CTO staff can learn more about the proposed marketing campaign and what the destination or tourism industry sector hopes to achieve through Tourism Marketing Matching Grant funding.
The application process is as follows:
- Verify your eligibility by reading through the guidelines carefully.
- Prepare your application materials by filling out this Tourism Marketing Matching Grant Application Materials (DOCX). This document includes all application questions.
- Log in to the OEDIT online portal and submit your complete application in the online portal. Instructions for navigating the online portal are available here.
- Applications will be reviewed.
- Status notification five weeks after the application closes.
You will need to provide:
- completed Tourism Marketing Matching Grant Financial Worksheet (XLS)
- a detailed timeline that includes all milestones and deliverables
- letter(s) of commitment showing evidence of required cash match – matching dollars may not come from the State’s General Fund, Federal funds, Colorado Tourism Office funds or other grant funds. Letter(s) of commitment must be on official letterhead and state the amount of cash committed by the organization
- project support letters – all grant applications need to include at least two letters of support from community partners or tourism industry partners in the community
Additionally, nonprofit entities must provide:
- a current certificate of Good Standing from the Colorado Secretary of State
Applications are first vetted through an internal compliance review to ensure eligibility and that all required materials have been submitted. Incomplete applications may be rejected.
The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) will appoint a committee to review eligible applications. Grants will be awarded based on application scores, availability of grant funding and CTO final approval.
Reviewers will prioritize applications that include:
- a proposed marketing and promotional campaign that states clear objectives and includes attainable deliverables
- a campaign or brand book demonstrating positioning, brand voice, and/or visual identity
- a campaign with measurable metrics and KPI's
Tourism Marketing Matching Grant
The committee will score applications on these criteria.
- project overview
- strength of marketing plan
- expected impact
- implementation capacity
Once an application is approved, OEDIT must execute a formal grant agreement with the awarded applicant prior to obligating or spending any grant funds. Grant funds will be awarded after the formal grant agreement start date.
Expenses incurred before a formal grant agreement is executed are not allowable expenses.
- complete the marketing campaign within the approved timeline and grant agreement end date
- keep the budget updated
- submit reports as outlined in the grant agreement including a final report describing what was accomplished with the grant funds, a final budget, and documents for expenses incurred including invoices, expense receipts, and proof of payment
- CTO grant funds cannot be used as a match for existing or future grant opportunities including CTO co-op marketing opportunities
- prior to production, publication, placement, and/or distribution, creative assets must be approved by the CTO
- all marketing and promotional materials that are funded in part by Colorado Tourism Office need to include the official Colorado Tourism Office logo.
- grantees must submit a formal Proposal Change Form if there is a change to the original proposal
- any unused grant funds or grant funds not used as approved not used as approved shall be returned to the Colorado Tourism Office pursuant to the grant agreement.
The following table outlines the timeline for the grants awarded in 2022.
|September 1, 2022||Application opens|
|October 20, 2022||Application closes at 4:00 pm|
|Late November 2022||Recipient notification|
|January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023||Grant project execution period|
|February 15, 2024||Final report and expense documentation due|
Marketing Matching Grant Recipient Press Release template
Proposal Change Request Form
Logos - reach out to program manager as public use of logo requires CTO approval
CTO Marketing Best Practices
- The CTO strongly encourages participants to include third-party usage rights in their agreements with photographers, videographers, and content creators; this allows your photography and videography to be used and amplified by other partners, including the CTO, global travel media, and travel trade.
Sample Production Contract (guidelines and sample production contract language for considerations when capturing photography or videography)