, ,

Successful Marketing Can be a Funding Stream for Heritage Tourism


You already have big ideas and attractions in place, but you need money to make the magic happen. If you want to fund heritage tourism in your region, where do you start? Here are a few tips:

  1. Start with a marketing plan that lays out all the strategies, and costs of your heritage tourism marketing project.    
  2. Give your plan life with what it will look like in months and years. Have projections ready on how heritage tourism marketing will impact your area, region, and state. Essentially, set goals.
  3. Prepare a plan that shows the big picture and the nitty-gritty that proves there will be a return on investments in heritage tourism marketing.     

Maybe you are the idea generator planning a housing development, hotel, restaurant, or entertainment venue that you know will bring in people from miles away. Your plan anticipates tourists will visit or even move to the community you are promoting because it’s new and exciting and in a great location. 

You are prepared to meet with investors, stakeholders and government entities. But are you really prepared? Consider a few really great examples of heritage tourism.

Get More Deals
Account-based Marketing gets results!
Get More Leads
Need ideas to generate leads from your website?

Jamestown, New York, builds a $50 million National Comedy Center

In a great example of a marketing strategy that went gangbusters, consider the $50 million National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York, that got its start in 2015. The goal, according to news releases, was 114,000 visitors a year.

Located in Jamestown, New York, home to about 30,000 residents and the Lucille Ball Comedy Museum, the goals were ambitious. 

In August 2018, the center opened and Conde Naste Traveler noted it was “The Unlikely Attraction That’s Putting Western New York Back On The Map.”  

The center built a buzz about what was coming, and more state grants rolled in along with funds from local partners, foundations, and comedians.  

In 2019, Chautauqua County had its best lodging numbers for the first three quarters of the year, according to a report on the site. It was a success on many levels and has been recognized with numerous awards.  

It all started with a plan, a pitch and a $1.5 million grant from New York’s tourism promotions.      

Jumpstart Funding

We put together the Ultimate Guide to Funding for DMOs

Western Pennsylvania Earns Funding with Strategic Heritage Marketing

When we at Bull Moose Progressive Marketing work on heritage tourism marketing for our clients, we like to prove a concept in advance. It’s not just a great idea. It’s an idea with return on investment for years to come. 

In a marketing strategy, you need to prove you deserve funding and that a project has long-term sustainability. In this and other projects, we complete projections on what the return on investment would be. In heritage tourism efforts, we also rally support from legacy families and industries in the original marketing plan.     

John R. Phillips, II, President and CEO, of the Oil Region Alliance, agrees that having strong advance marketing paves the way to funding success, especially during COVID-19. He pointed out that many heritage tourism marketing folks had to change tactics when museums, historic houses and other indoor venues were closed to the public, but the Oil Region Alliance was ready. 

People have definitely discovered and rediscovered the outdoors,” he said.  

The Oil Region has abundant trails, lakes, and outdoor recreation opportunities and they all became extremely popular in 2020, according to Oil Region Alliance Communications and Tourism Manager Emily Altomare.

“There was a 200 to 400 percent increase in the use of outdoor parks in 2020,” she said.

But it’s not just walking and hiking that appeal to people in heritage tourism.

“Our walking tours have interpretive panels available all the time,” she said.

The informational panels provide opportunities to learn something significant about the history of trails and just about everything.

“Visitors can be transported into a different time. That’s what’s fun about heritage tourism. It takes you back in time,” she said.

Upfront marketing strategies helped the Oil Region Alliance in many ways. A strategic plan was part of the process.

The historic walking tours in Franklin, Titusville, and Oil City discussed the historical preservation and architecture of houses and buildings and what took place in them. Many were significant homes or owned by people who helped build the community and the oil and gas industry. 

Is Your Website Giving Visitors Trust Issues?


Join Bull Moose Marketing’s Director of Digital Strategy & Brand Development, Megan McDonnell, and Lead Web Designer, Nuno Faustino, to learn about the principles and functionality your website needs in order to lay the groundwork for a high-performing, standout DMO website.

Stand Out: Be Unique, Be Credible, Be Trustworthy

A personal touch is required to improve funding opportunities. John Phillips said it takes salesmanship, marketing, and confidence to acquire funding from state and national sources along with donations and support from local stakeholders and legacy families, and industries

There’s a lot of competition for grants, and establishing a reputation and earning trust from the grantors has improved access to funding for heritage tourism marketing in the region. 

  • Ron Mattocks

    Ron Mattocks was born and raised in rural, Pennsylvania before joining the Army after high school. After serving as Infantry captain, he next worked as an executive at a Fortune 500 real estate and development company. Eventually, Ron switched to marketing, later consulting for companies such as GMC, ConAgra, Mattel, and others. Ron is also a published author and contributor to publications such as The Huffington Post, Disney's Babble, and the TODAY Show. In 2017 Ron co-founded Bull Moose Marketing where he is the VP of Client Strategies. He is also the Board VP of the Crawford County Historical Society and serves on the board for the Crawford County Planning Commission.

Help Articles

The Progressive Marketer

These progressive marketing articles offer tactics and strategy inspiration for heritage tourism, economic development, destination marketing organizations and other industry segments working to make their communities better places to work and live.

Your Visitors Just Want to Feel Understood

When it comes to travel, your visitors want to feel understood. Destinations that can show empathy and understanding will gain their trust and loyalty.

What Does the Metaverse Mean for Rural Destinations?

With the Metaverse making tourism headlines everywhere, it’s vital for rural DMOs and CVBs to know what this trend means for their destination.

How to Build an Authentic Brand Promise with Your Destination’s Website

It’s important to make sure the first impression, and every touch-point in between, is one that’s authentic for your DMO, CVB or cultural nonprofit. Your visitors want to know that your area is worth the visit, and that they can trust that you’re marketing an experience that will match up to expectations.