Why Sunbelt CVBs Need Snowbelt Agencies

Winter arrived to Wisconsin this week and it brought with it snow, sleet, 18 degree temps and howling, biting wind.  To say it was a shock to the system is an understatement. Of course, we can comfort ourselves in that it will only be 150-180 days now until we again get warmth, sun and leaves on our trees.  Yes, it builds character (I guess), makes us tough and – more than anything – helps us appreciate the wonders of being on a warm and sunny beach in the middle of February.

So why don’t CVBs from the Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America and other beach destinations retain Wisconsin-based agencies to create their branding and marketing campaigns?  Surely, we know what drives consumers to choose warm weather destinations better than firms that are based in Miami or Los Angeles.  While those fair weather agencies may be closer to the destination than us, they are in shorts and sandals all year – while up here in Wisconsin we are wearing six layers of clothing and still shivering.  How can they possibly really get into the psyche of us denizens of the “Frozen Tundra,” and connect with the emotional messages necessary to make us choose their beach over all the other beaches?  We may be cold, but we are not dumb; we recognize those phony ads immediately.

I know this topic well, having spent 15 years in the NYC market working to get consumers to choose Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica and St. Lucia for their winter/spring vacations.  While the East Coast does get its share of winter weather, it just does not compare to the biting cold, howling winds and never-thawing piles of gray snow that we get here in the Badger state.  While people on the East Coast want a beach vacation, Wisconsinites need that vacation. We really, really need that vacation!

I’m not recommending that Sunbelt destination marketers cut back on targeting East Coast gateways. They have lift, loyal travelers and established trade- and tour operator relationships that are both valuable and desirable.   However, in all seriousness, I believe that any exploration and investment that is put towards growing an Upper Midwest visitor base would pay off handsomely.  So get started with a Wisconsin agency now and you will see a heavy influx of green and gold Packers’ jerseys on those beaches very soon!