To be considered for funding, your program must be a partnership of at least one non-profit organization involved in the tourism industry and one hotel. The project should represent an innovative and active tourism marketing program that will promote collaborations within and across sectors of the tourism industry as well as draw visitors from more than 150 miles away. The program must take place in the Greater Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA or one of the following counties: Harris, Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller and Washington.
Examples of eligible uses of grant funds include:
- Public relations
- Paid advertising production and placement (for recognized and audited out-of-region media)
- Social media campaign
- Web site development /enhancement and/or search engine optimization targeted to leisure tourists
- Web-based marketing
- Video/CD /DVD production
- Printing and mailing costs for collateral materials including guides, directories and direct mail campaigns
- Promotional activities
- International marketing opportunities
- Special marketing opportunities (Familiarization [“FAM”] tours)
The Letter of Intent (required) and the Full Application are available at www.visithouston.com/matchinggrant
You may attend one of the grant writing seminars to be offered on either July 19 or August 11. Details and registration are available at www.visithouston.com/matchinggrant
No, you can begin the application and choose to save your input and finish it at another time. Just click the “Save” button located at the bottom of each input page. To return to your application, go to www.houstonfirst.versaic.com.
To ensure no application data is lost, click on the “Finish Later” button at the bottom of each application page.
After you submit your LOI, you will receive an email confirmation. The staff will review the LOI’s as they are received so the Full Application will be released on a rolling basis. Should your LOI require additional information you will be contacted by a Houston First staff member to discuss ways to strengthen your proposal. If your LOI is accepted, you will be issued an email invitation to complete the Full Application.
No; Houston First accepts applications only via the online portal.
All questions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In-kind contributions represent the value that the project partners will provide that is not in the form of cash. This might be discounts off the regular price, coupons, free amenities or experiences, etc. The value of this in-kind contribution may have to be estimated if the number of program participants is unknown. For example, if a hotel offers free parking as part of the marketing package, the normal cost of that parking times the number of rooms you believe will be sold as a result of your project, would be the value of in-kind from the hotel partner. Please note: the value of in-kind contributions cannot exceed 25% of the total partner contributions.
The applications will be screened and scored initially by a group of Houston First employees and managers. The recommendations of that Working Group will go to the Joint Tourism Committee of the HFC Board of Directors. Final decisions are made by the Joint Tourism Committee.
Yes, you may apply again in 2017 for the continuation of a successful 2016 program or a new program.
We plan to hold a press event and award ceremony in January 2017 to announce the winners of Marketing Matching Grant awards. At that ceremony, each lead organization will receive ten percent of the total amount awarded. Thereafter, funds will be distributed on a reimbursement basis for actual costs incurred. The reimbursement form will be available at www.houstonfirst.versaic.com.