In preparation for the upcoming tourist season, the Department of Tourism’s peak marketing “My Great Place” campaign has launched in key markets to promote leisure travel to South Dakota.
“By helping people in these key target markets discover South Dakota, we expect that this will be a solid summer for both visitors and tourism-related businesses in the state,” said James Hagen, Secretary of the Department of Tourism. “We look forward to sharing South Dakota with visitors as they discover their own great place.”
These audiences are strategically targeted by the department through specific messages and imagery placed in highly visible and common forms of media including TV advertisements, magazines, direct-mail, email, online, social and billboard signage.
“We won’t be surprised if people that once visited the state as a child become inspired to bring their children or grandchildren this year to experience the joy and wonder that South Dakota has to offer,” Hagen said. “It’s not unusual for the uniqueness of South Dakota to become a tradition that’s passed on to the next generation.”
Primary cities that the department will advertise in this season include Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chicago, Ill.; Denver, Colo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Green Bay, Wis.; Kansas City, Mo.; Madison, Wis.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Omaha, Neb. Secondary and third-tier markets include Fargo, N.D.; La Crosse/Eau Claire, Wis.; Lincoln, Neb.; Mankato, Minn.; Portland, Ore.; Spokane, Wash.; St. Cloud, Minn.; Quad Cities, Iowa; and Wausau, Wis.
The department has worked to tailor its marketing and advertising efforts to the changing planning habits of travelers. Led by greater insights gained from recent department research, peak leisure efforts kicked off in November with most of the campaign launching in March. Efforts which started this winter included: participation in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; a President’s Day celebration event at the Mall of America; a season-long promotion with the Minnesota Vikings; South Dakota-branded entryways at the Southdale Shopping Center in Minneapolis; a high-impact, pop-up direct mail piece delivered to targeted Chicago homes; participation in travel and outdoor consumer shows such as the Pheasants Forever National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic; and billboards in Chicago, Ill.; Denver, Colo.; Madison, Wis.; and Minneapolis, Minn.
This spring the department is hosting a “Good Times, Great Places” sweepstakes promotion. The promotion will bring social media influencers to the state to experience one of four specific itineraries developed for the campaign. Consumers can participate by entering for a chance to win one of these trips through an engaging online quiz that matches them with the itinerary best fitting their vacation interests.
In total, the department’s peak marketing efforts are expected to generate more than 518 million impressions. Efforts will run through the third week of July.
The goal of this year’s campaign is to continue the growth that the South Dakota tourism industry has experienced over the past seven years. In 2016, the state greeted 13.9 million visitors, resulting in visitor spending reaching $3.8 billion. Last year’s campaign generated $51 in visitor spending for every dollar spent marketing the state as a vacation destination.
The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism and the South Dakota Arts Council. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.