Grand Rapids CVB Becomes 'Experience Grand Rapids'

To help it attract more visitors to southwest Michigan, the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau in Grand Rapids, Mich., has adopted a new name and brand identity, it announced last week.

The new name, Experience Grand Rapids, was chosen after two years of analysis and research because it "more accurately" reflects the 83-year-old organization's mission, which is to "market the region as the premier convention and visitor destination and significantly impact the local economy."

"Throughout the past decade, Grand Rapids has emerged as one of most dynamic cities in the Midwest," Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small said in a statement. "As a result, our business has evolved tremendously. We have been known as the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau for the past 15 years. However, the time had come to brand the CVB locally and align our organizational name with our work. Driven by a key priority in our four-year strategic plan — to accelerate our role within the community — this change distinctly expresses both who we are and what we do."

Grand Rapids follows in the footsteps of several other major CVBs — including bureaus in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles and New York — that have embraced the concept of "destination marketing" by changing their names to make them shorter and more memorable.

"As a group, we collectively sought to answer how best to tell others about the unique experience awaiting visitors in Grand Rapids," said Experience Grand Rapids Board Chair Eva Aguirre Cooper. "Given our purpose as an organization, it was important that the name clearly communicate how much our city has to offer."

Along with its new name, Experience Grand Rapids has designed a new logo, introduced a new website and launched a new social media campaign designed to stimulate word of mouth about the destination.

Said Small, "The tourism industry has a substantial impact on our community from boosting local business with increased visitor traffic to creating a wide variety of new jobs. To maintain the momentum we've established in recent years, it's vital that we continue fueling this economic engine in new and innovative ways. We can do this with help from our local social media networking society — people who express a deep pride and passion for our great city online."