Peak Campaign: Research and E-Commerce Strategies
Research and E-Commerce Strategies
The Research and E-Commerce team has worked with Lawrence & Schiller to develop an aggressive Direct Mail campaign for the peak season that includes a new design, Visitor Relationship Management (VRM) research and a tracking system to measure the response to the mailing. This new design is sure to grab the reader’s attention with a personalized message and photos from family vacations at different attractions throughout South Dakota. This mailing is being sent to specific profiles that have been identified through our VRM research.
Visitor Relationship Management Project
Participants of industry focus groups, 2010 Initiative sessions and the Tourism Conference over the last few years have asked the Office of Tourism to obtain more information on South Dakota travelers for enhanced target marketing. The participants asked that we provide research on who the core South Dakota traveler is and how they could better reach them.
By understanding visitors today and who they are, the Office of Tourism can better target similar travelers who would be more apt to visit the state. Information technology and data gathering has advanced to the point where tourism marketers can target demographics such as location of residence, age, occupation type, income and family size. Marketers can also target past trip behavior like frequency of travel, trip spending, past attractions visited, transportation mode and type of accommodations. When you combine lifestyle-targeting capabilities such as media habits, leisure activities, automobile ownership, a tourism marketer can pin-point travelers down to the household level. Much of the 2007 peak advertising utilizes this new research.
The research teams from the Office of Tourism and Lawrence & Schiller combined efforts to conduct Focus Groups in Mankato, Minn., on Feb. 8; Sioux City, Iowa, on Feb. 13; and Oshkosh, Wis., on Feb. 15. Participants were divided into groups and screened by age, sex, travel habits, location and annual income. They were first asked general travel questions and then tested using different research methods when reviewing print/television advertisements. A combined summary of the focus group research will be available upon completion.
As more and more potential travelers are researching travel information using the Web, it becomes more important for us to conduct further research using web analytics. We can then use this information to track where the majority of our traffic comes from, what they are looking for and to ensure our site is providing good information. The Office of Tourism works with the Center for Tourism Research to continue these efforts.
The E-Commerce team continues to develop and enhance the www.TravelSD.com Web site. Some of the recent upgrades are the Experience videos, Giant Step Partner Clips, a new look to the Calendar of Events and an improved interactive Trip Planner that consumers can use to customize their South Dakota vacation.
The Office of Tourism is taking a different approach with banner ads this season. We have teamed up with a company that specializes in internet behavioral targeting. This new process allows our ads to rotate throughout numerous sites to determine which type of Web site location and/or banner ad produces the best click- through rate and number of impressions.
Tourism’s monthly Travelsmart e-newsletter is sent to more than 185,000 subscribers, both in and out of our target markets. For the 2007 peak issues, we are creating targeted messages for each of the three tiers identified for our marketing campaign. In addition to a specialized message, each monthly issue still directs subscribers to travel specials, events and other planning information on www.TravelSD.com.