Over the years I’ve seen many advertising products appear in the hotel lobby. They are often there one season, and gone by the next. So when a new face arrived in town, with lobby digital signage and an in-room television channel called ExploreTC, I was curious. Was it well produced? Did the company operate with integrity? Could this be an opportunity for collaboration rather than competition?
I sought an introduction through a mutual client and met Jay Gorter; owner of Visitors Media, Grapevine Digital Signage and founder of ExploreTC. With a background in technology and sales Jay was successful in reviving the concept of a visitors channel in Traverse City hotels. He partnered with lodging properties to provide digital signage in their lobby. But it was the well produced video content playing in-room that attracted advertisers and this little card lady.
After our first meeting we decided to test each other’s products. I would design and distribute a card to get travelers to tune in to ExploreTC. In exchange I’d try my skills in front of the camera and turn a blog post about wine tasting tips into video content that could run on the channel and promote the Traverse Traveler app.
After a year of working together on multiple projects we discovered we had much in common, but brought very different skills and perspectives to the table. After 14 years on my own, it was time to grow our businesses by working together.
Traverse Traveler merged with Visitors Media, the parent company to ExploreTC and the recently purchased Traverse City Dining Guide. Three brands united under one roof. And I finally got out of the basement!
As it happens our debut project, Traverse Traveler Wine Tasting Tips, still runs on the network as one of our signature content features.