Columbia-based Marriner Marketing Communications is the new agency of record for the Maryland Department of Commerce’s Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, which is also known as the Maryland Office of Tourism. After soliciting proposals from 21 prospective vendors, the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts elected to join forces with Marriner, with approval from the Maryland Board of Public Works.
“Marriner’s strategic approach outlined a clear road map for how to generate more customers, jobs and revenue in Maryland,” said Liz Fitzsimmons, managing director of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. “We have great chemistry with the Marriner team and look forward to working together to champion the state and build destination awareness.”
As the state’s official travel marketing agency, the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts will collaborate with Marriner to implement a new marketing communications strategy, including a new campaign, which will highlight the state’s attractions, accommodations and services. These include a variety of culinary, craft and distillery businesses; entertainment venues; scenic byways; and water and mountain activities, along with locations of historical significance, such as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, which opened in March 2017.
Marriner Vice President of Strategic Partnerships David Melnick said, “With our staff’s passion for tourism and our office’s base in Maryland, partnering with the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts is a natural fit. Our team is a great blend of Maryland natives and residents from other states. This combination of knowledge and perspective will help us showcase all the reasons that Maryland is a must-visit destination.”
The agency’s five-year contract runs through May 2022 and focuses on two functional areas—marketing and advertising creative services as well as media placement services. Spurrier Group, a Capitol Communicator sponsor and long-standing Marriner partner with expertise in travel and tourism, will provide support and additional insights for media strategy.
These organizations will work in concert to raise awareness about the value of visiting Maryland and engage directly with travelers to get involved in their trip-planning process and ensure they have a positive experience. The objective of these efforts is to increase day trips and overnight stays in Maryland, while also increasing return visits.
Chris Just, vice president and executive creative director of Marriner, said, “A group of us took a 550-mile, all-day road trip throughout Maryland to prepare for our presentation, and we came back even more excited about the opportunity to work with the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts. We want Maryland visitors to feel that same energy when they’re here. We’re honored to be chosen for this contract, and we’re eager to get started.”
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Commerce. Visitors to the state spent $16.8 billion on travel-related expenses in 2015. The Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.3 billion in state and local taxes, and provided Marylanders with more than 143,000 jobs with a payroll of $5.7 billion. For more information: visitmaryland.org.