The Destination BC Co-operative Marketing Partnerships Program (Co-op Program) is an application-based program that provides co-operative, consumer-focused marketing and promotion support to community consortiums, sector organizations, or approved individual and paired communities in British Columbia.
The Co-op Program was developed in 2015 based on recommendations from a cross-section of stakeholders and Destination BC’s Tourism Marketing Committee — an industry-based advisory committee with representatives from all regions across BC. Input for the program was also provided by participants from over 20 community consultation sessions across the province.
A review of the Co-op Program was conducted between September 2018 and June 2019 to ensure it continues to align with Destination BC’s priorities and changes within our tourism ecosystem. The program review included consultation with current program participants, as well as Destination BC staff. The results of the 2018/19 review concluded that the Co-op Program was working well and did not require substantial amendments.
The program aims to drive consumer demand and increase tourism revenues by investing resources where and when capacity exists and leveraging private and public funds to maximize marketing impact. The program also helps to support Destination BC’s strategic corporate priority of developing a Powerful Marketing Network.
Find more information here.
If your questions about the application process and program aren’t addressed in our FAQ document, we encourage you to reach out to [email protected].
No, this is a co-operative marketing partnership between Destination BC and the applicant. The applicant is required to contribute an amount equal to or exceeding the amount contributed by Destination BC.
Destination BC will require the return of any unspent funds or funds spent on ineligible activities.
Definitions (from the program guidelines):
A community is defined as a geographic area with a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), or where a DMO does not exist, a municipal or village council, Indigenous community, or regional district.
A regional district can apply on behalf of participating communities in its area. However, there must be a minimum of three communities participating and they must be providing incremental funds for the proposal. In other words, a regional district could not apply with existing marketing funds, but instead must receive new funds from each participating community.
Yes. Destination BC encourages such partnerships where the arrangement makes sense.
Unfortunately, individual businesses may not apply directly to this program. Individual businesses should look to the sectors, or the communities in which they operate, to determine opportunities for participation. Businesses may also be able to participate in the initiatives offered by their Regional Destination Marketing Organization. Details on each region can be found here.
Destination BC encourages communities to approach trusts as potential revenue sources for the consortium contribution. However, a trust will not be considered as one of the three community consortium partners. The intention of the program is to encourage communities to develop partnerships with other communities and not to have funding sources act as one of the partners.
Yes. We hope many current projects will reapply to the program and expand the opportunity to other communities and businesses. Please contact program staff so we can direct you to the lead contact for an existing consortium.
Destination BC encourages tourism partners to seek partnerships with other communities in the province. If interested parties are pre-approved as a single or paired community applicant, they may not partner with a community consortium on another project, but may participate in a sector project.
There is no minimum investment required by each partner; therefore, partners do not need to contribute equally. However, in the spirit of true collaboration, a reasonable amount from each partner is expected. For example, the Sea to Sky Arts, Culture and Heritage project was funded under the Co-op Marketing Program: Tourism Whistler contributed $20,000; Tourism Squamish contributed $3,500; and Tourism Pemberton contributed $1,000. This was a fair contribution arrangement agreed to by the partners, given the size and ability of the respective partners.
NOTE: All communities are expected to participate in the development of the plan and contribute to its collective success. The community with the largest investment cannot take control of the campaign. For a paired community application, each community must contribute an equal dollar amount.
Applicants can partner with an organization outside of BC. These funds may be utilized but, Destination BC will only match funds from BC tourism partners. For example, a consortium has $50,000 from partners (including $10,000 from a community or business based in Alberta or Washington). If the application is approved, Destination BC will only match funds from BC, i.e., $40,000 will be matched.
The intended focus of effort for the Co-op Program is to be short-haul markets (BC, Alberta, and Washington). Exceptions to the short-haul markets may be made, with appropriate business rationale. Overseas markets are ineligible.
We have also added information in the guidelines to reflect ways that Destination BC and partners in the program can work together through activities such as industry digital readiness, a common tagging framework, alignment in marketing performance measurement, brand alignment, and adopting a Content Commonwealth approach (UGC Partnership Network, the BC Content Hub, and 3rd party usage rights), etc.
Since the Co-op Program began, we have worked with many partners on brand alignment opportunities and have had much success. We have identified three tiers of brand alignment:
Note: to use the logo tile or Great Forest font, a license agreement must be signed.
Provincial alignment to the Super, Natural British Columbia® brand supports our global competitiveness by driving stronger consumer recognition of the British Columbia experience. By aligning your brand and marketing with the Super, Natural British Columbia brand, you can add to the power of that recognition and leverage the resonance that the brand has built with domestic and global audiences through Destination BC’s global marketing programs. Successful applicants will be asked to align with one of three brand tiers (detailed in the application) and work with specific brand and creative guidelines to achieve alignment.
Consumer-focused asset development includes content writing, photography, video development, microsites or consortium landing pages.
Consumer-focused market research related to program execution and relevant measurements that will allow the consortium to make informed marketing decisions. Pre-approval by Destination BC’s Research & Analytics team is required.
Pre-approval by Destination BC’s Travel Media Relations team is required. Travel Media Relations activities will be reviewed to ensure there is no duplication with projects already delivered by Destination BC’s Travel Media team. All requests for funds under the Co-op Marketing Partnerships program for Travel Media will be coordinated with the organization’s Travel Media Team. An example of eligible costs would include ground costs for hosting media to visit several communities. Activities approved under the Co-op Program may be eligible for funding under Destination BC’s North America Visiting Journalist Program.
No, destination development tactics such as product development, industry development and costs associated with developing strategic plans are not eligible. (Note that development of strategic plans related to digital readiness or inclusive marketing are eligible.)
The Co-op Marketing Partnerships program allows a consortium or sector to use up to 20% of Destination BC’s funds towards marketing coordination of the program. This must be matched by the Consortium, or the Consortium may choose to allocate greater than 20% of their contribution of funds to marketing coordination. Successful applicants can use these funds towards hiring a contractor, or to fund work hours for existing staff.
We request that community consortiums discuss their applications with relevant sector organizations prior to submission to Destination BC. The goal is to avoid duplication of effort and spending.
Please engage with Destination BC during the application process. When reviewing the applications, Destination BC will provide feedback and guidance to applicants where overlaps occur.
Yes, as long as applicants can show that they have engaged with the sector and that there is no duplication.
Applications will be evaluated based on the following four criteria categories and should be addressed in the appropriate section of the application.
No. Applications are reviewed based on merit, quality of the application, available budget and program uptake.
In alignment with Destination BC’s strategy, marketing funds are to be distributed widely throughout the province at the local level. Due to a high volume of interest in the program and strong applications, funds were distributed to more applications at a partial level in some cases. For information about your specific application, please email [email protected].
Yes. We strongly encourage ongoing dialogue among industry partners to find new or expanded partnerships. Please contact program staff to ensure your project meets the criteria and that you are requesting funds for eligible costs.
The Co-operative Marketing Partnership Program is an application-based program. The program will continue to be a competitive process and future proposals will be evaluated on merit. Therefore, projects should not assume that funding will be provided, nor that funding will be provided at the same level as was received in previous years.
It is important to be rigorous in the measurement of our marketing activities to manage, optimize, and improve the performance of each activity. Common measures are critical to measure performance against targets and benchmarks and compare activities across the Co-op program and across years. Metrics in Destination BC’s Marketing Performance Measurement Framework for digital marketing have been incorporated into the program Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
The KPIs identified were selected in consultation with Destination BC’s Global Marketing team. Sharing a common set of measures, with meaningful and consistent data, tells us if our collective efforts are making a difference and driving the results we all want to achieve. The supplementary key performance indicators (KPIs) are commonly used by marketing professionals and are optional to include in your interim and final report. Consider these KPIs an educational resource for your reference to help you determine the best way to measure the ongoing performance of your marketing tactics, to help gauge progress each year, and to help improve your initiatives.
You are welcome to collect and report on any other metrics you feel are relevant.
No. The inclusion of KPIs in the program is as a reference tool; they are not compliance metric under the program. Should any activities you undertake fall below the industry benchmark, this should serve as a point of discussion among the partners as to adjustments that could be made to improve results You will still be required to submit an interim and final reports as per the terms of the Shared Cost Agreement (contract).
A list of successful applicants for Fiscal 2022/2023 can be found here.
See Other Funding Resources for more information.
The Tourism Events Program (TEP) is a program open to all organizations and communities in British Columbia to support events and celebrations with a high tourism value. The Tourism Events Program aims to strengthen B.C.’s reputation as an events destination by providing supplemental marketing funds to event organizers to amplify the reach of an event and attract additional overnight visitors.
More information is available at Tourism Events Program.
The Municipal and Regional Tax (MRDT) is a tax of up to three percent on the purchase of accommodation imposed in specific geographic areas of the province (designated accommodation areas) on behalf of municipalities, regional districts or eligible not-for-profit business associations. The MRDT program was originally introduced in 1987 and raises revenue for local tourism marketing, programs and projects. Affordable housing was added as a permissible use of funds through Budget 2018.
More information is available here.
The Designated Accommodation Area Tax Regulation sets out the authorized purposes for revenue under the MRDT program. Authorized purposes of MRDT revenue for all designated recipients are tourism marketing, programs, and projects.
As the Destination BC Co-op Program is an application-based program that provides co-operative, consumer-focused marketing and promotion support with the goal of driving consumer demand and increasing tourism revenues, you may choose to use your MRDT funding for your Co-op project.
Please contact Destination British Columbia if you have any questions on approved uses of MRDT revenues at [email protected]
While Destination BC strives to share and amplify partner content, the volume of requests we receive is quite large. To improve the likelihood of your content being shared within our partner network, please review Destination BC’s Partner Content Checklist.
Please also connect with program staff to discuss other opportunities to showcase your consortium or sector.
Co-op funds cannot be used for the development, administration, or operation of a mobile app; however, content developed utilizing co-op funds can be echoed on a mobile app from the primary, ideally mobile first, website. Content cannot be specifically developed for use on a mobile app.
Applicants are able to select any agency that they feel are qualified and will support their needs to perform an inclusive marketing audit and/or develop an inclusive marketing strategy. For information on agencies that DBC has previously worked with please email [email protected].
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