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Shoulder Season Marketing Campaign Underway

8/17/2005
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PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Office of Tourism is launching its shoulder season advertising campaign targeting family travelers, empty nesters and outdoor enthusiasts. Through a market-driven and research-based campaign, Tourism is aggressively promoting the state as a single but multi-faceted visitor destination. Marketing efforts focus on the diverse travel product and unique attractions in South Dakota for the fall travel season. “Our 2005 shoulder season campaign is based on a foundation of careful research, planning and strategy,” said James Hagen, secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development. “We are focusing on efficiencies in our marketing and are being innovative in how we use the Internet and promotions to gain maximum exposure for the state.” Chicago, Ill. will be a targeted market for the shoulder season campaign for the first time ever. United Airlines offers direct flights from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Sioux Falls Regional Airport and began offering direct flights to Rapid City Regional Airport this summer. “Chicago has been an important target for our peak season campaign,” Hagen said. “With the improved air access between Chicago and the South Dakota gateways of Rapid City and Sioux Falls, continuing our promotion to this market just makes sense,” he said. Other cities targeted by the campaign include Denver, Colo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; Omaha, Neb.; Rapid City and Sioux Falls, S.D., and the regions of southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa. The campaign is crafted to carry messages to families, empty nesters and outdoor enthusiasts interested in history, soft adventure activities such as hiking and biking, and sporting opportunities like hunting and fishing. The content of television and newspaper ads and e-mailed newsletters is shaped around vacation packages. Each audience sees ads that are tailored for their interests. “A history package priced for two will be promoted in a television ad broadcast on the History Channel to reach empty nesters; a vacation package priced for a family of four will be promoted on the Family Channel, for example,” said Hagen. Packages featured in the ads are part of the Office of Tourism’s Online Vacation Packages Co-op. The shoulder season campaign will emphasize South Dakota’s outdoor opportunities with new efforts. Fishing and pheasant hunting are promoted in ads airing on ESPN2, Fox Sports Net North, the Outdoor Life Network and The Outdoor Channel. More than 15,000 potential visitors are targeted with a direct mail effort. New Web pages have been created to provide a comprehensive online resource for look at hunting and fishing in South Dakota. The campaign also incorporates the active participation of visitor industry partners. In September and October, 1.8 million readers of Better Homes and Gardens, Midwest Living, Ladies’ Home Journal, Country Home and More in the states of Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota will see a full-color, 16-page South Dakota ad. Half the insert contains editorial and photos about statewide travel opportunities. The other half includes ads of visitor industry partners. In late August, newspaper newspapers will also include inserts which will reach more than 874,000 readers in the upper Midwest. The inserts are packed with photos, stories and ads by industry partners about travel opportunities in the Glacial Lakes and Prairies, Great Lakes and Southeast regions. “Dynamic partnerships like these allow the Office of Tourism to leverage more funds for marketing activities that benefit South Dakota’s entire visitor industry,” said Billie Jo Waara, director of the Office of Tourism. The success of the campaign will be tracked by various methods. The Office of Tourism will monitor phone inquiries, Web site visits and response rates. At the conclusion of the campaign, the Office of Tourism will report its efforts to the industry. Elements of the shoulder campaign were developed by Lawrence & Schiller of Sioux Falls and the Office of Tourism. The campaign strategy was directed by the Office of Tourism.