Where we came from


Drawing from his experience in point of sale solutions, Jay Gorter launched a technology company in 2011 called Grapevine Digital Signage. Grapevine offered digital and video solutions for retailers and corporate customers, including hotel properties. These relationships in the hospitality industry led to the development of a new venture to leverage technology assets to create a visitors channel for Traverse City hotel guests. ExploreTC was born in 2013.

What began with 10 hotels broadcasting our in-room network has grown to 22 properties, in over 2480 hotel rooms. ExploreTC became a media company with a focus on educating the traveler with advertising and locally produced creative content promoting the region.

When the opportunity arose to purchase a well-respected magazine focused on Traverse City restaurants ExploreTC made the leap into print media and purchased the Traverse City Dining Guide in 2014.

Attracted by a shared mission and mutual respect for quality creative content, ExploreTC began working with Brandy Wheeler, founder of Traverse Traveler, a 13-year-old Traverse City marketing service. Together they built entertaining and informative 3-minute videos to share Traverse Traveler tips on the channel, including Wine Tasting Tips and What To Do on a Rainy Day in Traverse City. They quickly discovered a synergy that led to joining forces and uniting three brands under one roof.

In 2015, Traverse Traveler merged into Visitors Media. With the merger Visitors Media has assembled the right team, and the right solutions, to reach the traveler from the lobby to the room and beyond, and on every platform from print to broadcast to mobile apps.

Visitors Media Hotel Rooms Graphic

What we do

We are a media company with marketing solutions to connect travelers with unique local attractions for an authentic and memorable experience. Between ExploreTC, Traverse Traveler and Traverse City Dining Guide, Visitors Media reaches 86% of all hotel rooms in Traverse City. Our niche market focus means Visitors Media is positioned better than any other company to help local businesses reach the hotel guest.

Why we do it

We’re passionate about the Northern Michigan region we’re lucky enough to call home. Through our media outlets we can entertain and educate travelers from a local’s perspective.

Meet the team

Jay Gorter

Jay Gorter 

Founder and CEO of Visitors Media, chief technical support, master of the spreadsheet, card display filler

Armed with 25 years of technology experience, Jay was ready to develop his own dream job. That leap of faith, combined with perseverance and a little luck, led to Visitors Media. He believes in customer service, cutting-edge solutions and quality products that work. He’s an early-riser, dog walker and family man who looks forward to work every day.

Brandy Wheeler

Brandy Wheeler 

Creative Director, Traverse Traveler founder, idea generator, Apple fan girl, dangerous with a Sharpie

Brandy is a designer by trade, teacher by nature and comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. She brings 20+ years of experience in the creative industry to the Visitors Media team. When she’s not behind the computer, or on-camera for ExploreTC, you’ll find her on Twitter and Instagram sharing her love of Northern Michigan and advocating for autism, a cause close to her heart.

Julie Tripp

Julie Tripp 

Director of Programming, Editor of the Dining Guide, organizer extraordinaire, design diva

Whether she’s scheduling our channel playlist or organizing a sports fundraiser, everyone wants Julie on their team. She honed her graphic design skills and attention to detail working for the public schools. Her iCalendar is full, but this master multi-tasker always finds the time to get the job done, and done well. She’s a mother of two and believes orange is the new black.