PIERRE, S.D. – Planning a trip in South Dakota has never been easier, and more people than ever before are realizing it. Online travel bookings from TravelSD.com, South Dakota’s official travel website, have increased nearly ninefold so far this year.
In total, there was a 71 percent increase in sales during the first half of 2010 in both online and call center travel bookings.
Gov. Mike Rounds challenged the state Office of Tourism and the visitor industry a year ago to increase online exposure and Internet bookings for visitor-industry businesses in South Dakota.
Thanks to that challenge – dubbed the “Digital Revolution” – TravelSD.com got an overhaul.
Visitors and the industry are benefiting from the improved website, the Governor said.
“The website’s new features provide a one-stop location to research and book vacation options,” Gov. Rounds said. “Because of it, more South Dakota visitors are going online to buy vacation packages, reserve hotel rooms and purchase tickets to attractions.”
Companies with TravelSD.com listings are being exposed to nearly two million online visitors each year, the Governor added.
Online visitors can build their own itinerary using a newly enhanced trip planner, find detailed information about where to go and what to do, easily book vacations, and sign up for emails tailored to their individual interests.
On top of added exposure, businesses with TravelSD.com listings can update their Web pages with photos, videos, and special offers. Business listings are also cross-linked to automatically connect to online guests who may visit the area or are interested in associated activities and attractions.
“We have 295 business partners participating in the program, but there’s always room for more,” the Governor said. “Our vision is to include every South Dakota destination, hotel, motel, hunting lodge, campground, restaurant, gift shop and attraction that wishes to participate.”
Online bookings aren’t the only measures of success for Digital Revolution. Additional statistics (rounded off) comparing Jan. 1-June 30, 2010, to the same time frame in 2009
9 percent increase in unique website visitors - those that are new to the site and are visiting it for the first time.
12 percent increase in the number of pages viewed on average by each visitor
19 percent increase in the average time visitors spend on www.TravelSD.com
18 percent increase in the number of visitors finding the site through search engines such as Google
Visitors to South Dakota can book their travel through TravelSD.com or through South Dakota Central Reservations. The call center can be reached at 800-S-DAKOTA.