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2008 Peak Campaign: Research and E-Commerce Strategies

Marketing Research

The Office of Tourismís Research team continues progress towards a unified VRM system that will allow us and the Visitor Industry to learn more about the South Dakota visitor and their behaviors when planning a trip. In addition, the team conducts an annual Intercept study to gain valuable insights about vacation spending, vacation time, final destination and much more. This data is then compared historically to previous years.

To gain a better understanding of the Canadian audience, the team also conducted focus groups and delivered an email survey to this market to gain a better understanding of their travel planning habits. We were able to apply this data to our Marketing efforts and Canadian promotion through print, interactive media and television.

The Research Team is also an invaluable resource as they keep a keep a close eye on the effectiveness of our marketing by utilizing and monitoring inquiries, traffic counts, revenue, attraction attendance, state occupancy rates, web traffic and many other indicators. It is critical to monitor these indicators frequently throughout the season so adjustments can be made if needed.


Ecommerce

The E-Commerce team in cooperation with Lawrence and Schiller developed a comprehensive interactive effort for this yearís Peak Campaign. One of these elements included a redesign to our Travelsmart and Travel Professionals e-newsletters. The Travelsmart e-newsletter also included a dynamic content enhancement that allows the subscriber to select content that interests them. Another ongoing effort that was implemented during this season was the optimization of www.TravelSD.com. Optimization efforts are an important factor needed to increase organic search traffic. Similar to past campaigns, web banners, PPC, Micro Sites and landing pages were also elements of this yearís campaign.

In addition to the interactive efforts above, the team implemented several new sections on TravelSD.com which include a breaking news section to educate potential travelers about weather hazards that could impact their travel plans. We also rolled out the South Dakota Travel Community that gives consumers the ability to share their South Dakota vacation stories, videos and photos.