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South Dakota Dept. of Tourism Receives National Nod

9/9/2009
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PIERRE, S.D. –The South Dakota Department of Tourism’s newest tool for bringing visitors to the Black Hills is receiving national recognition.
The tool is the Black Hills Digital Strategy. The U.S. Travel Association and the National Council of State Tourism Directors just gave it top billing for interactive marketing at the Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations.
The Black Hills Digital Strategy is an online integrated digital marketing program. The program allows people who visit www.blackhills.travel to research hotels, tours, and travel packages, and book them directly from the site.
“This program provides a one-stop-shop for people interested in visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota,” said Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development. “Working with tourism partners in the Black Hills, we can provide travelers with a clearinghouse of destination options, and make it as easy as possible for them to book a trip in South Dakota.”
The Digital Strategy partnership also provides businesses with an opportunity to showcase their services.
“Through the partnerships and the online elements, we are able to feature videos, advertisements, and e-mail marketing opportunities,” said Melissa Bump, Director of the South Dakota Office of Tourism. “What’s even more exciting–the partnership is paying off. Since the launch of the Digital Strategy, tourism sales are up in the Black Hills.” 
The results of the digital marketing campaign showed success in every category targeted. Since the launch of the campaign:
·        More than 206,000 people have visited www.blackhills.travel.
·        Online sales are up more than 200%.
·        Travel bookings are up 30%.
Black Hills Digital Strategies Group partners are the Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Association, the Rapid City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Black Hills Central Reservations, the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, the Custer Chamber of Commerce, the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Destination Spearfish, Rapid City Regional Airport, the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce, and the South Dakota Office of Tourism. 
The Black Hills Digital Strategy efforts are part of Goal 1 of Gov. Mike Rounds’ 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota from 2003-2010.
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