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Tourism Unveils Marketing Campaign

5/1/2006
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PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Office of Tourism has kicked off its peak season advertising campaign which is designed to showcase the diversity of the state’s tourism offerings and spotlight travel specials. The campaign utilizes a three-tiered approach as well as offers a "Twenty Bucks for the Road" ethanol promotion as an outreach tool. * Tier One In tier one markets, Tourism is reaching out to potential travelers with image-based ads that build awareness of South Dakota and entice consumers who haven’t been to the state to learn more about our Great Faces and Great Places. The ads feature South Dakota’s breathtaking scenery and unique visitor experiences. Tier one markets include Chicago, Ill.; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colo.; Kansas City, Mo. and Milwaukee, Wis. * Tier Two Tier two efforts encourage potential travelers from nearby markets to travel to South Dakota for a quick weekend getaway at one of the state’s many unique events. A special emphasis is placed on promoting travel specials. Tier two markets are Des Moines, Iowa; Minneapolis, Minn.; St. Paul, Minn. and Omaha, Neb. * Tier Three Tier three efforts also encourage residents of nearby states to visit South Dakota and prompts South Dakotans to explore their own backyard at unique events. Ads prominently featuring travel specials are designed to spur last-minute weekend travel. Tier three markets include Fargo, N.D.; Sioux City, Iowa and Sioux Falls, S.D. “We have many great marketing and promotional efforts planned for the upcoming year and are looking forward to another increase in visitor spending,” said Gov. Mike Rounds. “The strategic tiered approach is all part of Tourism’s efforts to tailor our message to the needs and wants of potential visitors revealed in focus group research and surveys.” Tourism is also rolling out a new incentive aimed at combating increasing gas prices. The Office of Tourism has partnered with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) in an ethanol fuel promotion titled “Twenty Bucks for the Road.” The promotion encourages potential visitors from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin to visit www.TravelSD.com and sign up to receive a voucher towards the purchase of ethanol blended fuel. Once travelers are in South Dakota, the $20 voucher can be redeemed at participating retailers. Tourism has already received more than 10,000 requests for the fuel voucher generated by the marketing campaign. “Our ‘Twenty Bucks for the Road’ program is an effective outreach tool to entice cost-conscious travelers to visit South Dakota and to increase awareness of ethanol,” said Billie Jo Waara, director of the South Dakota Office of Tourism. “This program helps neutralize consumer perceptions that increasing gas prices will make travel too expensive.” The South Dakota Office of Tourism has also launched a redesigned and revamped consumer Web site, www.TravelSD.com. The revamp is part of Tourism’s efforts to tailor its message to the needs and wants of potential visitors revealed in focus group research and surveys. A trip planner feature has been added to the Web site, which allows online travel planners to build an itinerary of travel plans in South Dakota. Searches for information can be performed by experience or by attraction and city. Newspaper, magazine and television ads are running to promote South Dakota’s family-friendly atmosphere, unique scenery and legendary spirit. The network and cable television ads include 30- and 60-second image spots and 30-second product spots that include a donut promoting a specific travel special. Many different family, history and outdoor travel specials that are part of Tourism’s Online Travel Specials Co-op are featured in the product spots. The commercials feature breathtaking footage and the Great Faces. Great Places. music package. Display ads in travel sections of major newspapers also promote specific travel specials. In addition, the South Dakota Office of Tourism revamped the Giant Step Co-op for 2006. The program moved away from a one-time magazine insert to a three-page advertisement that is running in Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Better Homes & Gardens, Child, Ladies Home Journal, Midwest Living, Parents, Travel + Leisure Family and Travel 50 and Beyond 16 times through July. The center spreads feature six South Dakota themes with highlighted industry partners. The third page is dedicated to partner photos and copy. The ads are reaching a total of 7.7 million subscribers. Great Getaways, an eight-page ad, will reach 1.4 million newspaper readers in Iowa, Manitoba, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and South Dakota. It’s packed with photos, stories and ads by 37 industry partners about travel opportunities in the Glacial Lakes and Prairies, Great Lakes and Southeast regions. In 2006, Tourism is again partnering with Rapid City’s Air Service Task Force (ASTF), Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Association, Black Hills Central Reservations and the Deadwood Chamber and Visitors Bureau to market to the Dallas, Texas and Chicago, Ill. metro areas. The partnership promotes the Black Hills in television commercials, niche magazines and other print publications. Additionally, the ASTF is accelerating its use of Internet-based marketing strategies to directly reach key consumers in these metro areas. The Office of Tourism is also partnering with Glacial Lakes & Prairies Tourism Association in a targeted campaign to reach families and outdoor enthusiasts in North Dakota. The co-op’s message, to “Rediscover Your Weekends” in northeastern South Dakota, will be spread in North Dakota via a three-pronged approach including direct mail, radio spots and newspaper ads featuring vacation travel specials in northeastern South Dakota. Elements of the peak season campaign were developed by Lawrence & Schiller of Sioux Falls and the Office of Tourism’s Creative Strategies team. The campaign strategy was directed by the Office of Tourism.