The South Dakota Department of Tourism launched the South Dakota Great Finds passport in January 2022, the first free mobile-exclusive pass in our partnership with Bandwango. Great Finds was created to make it even more fun for consumers to find hidden gems across the state. Using gamification, the Great Finds passport encourages people to explore and experience out-of-the-way places hidden throughout South Dakota.
With the pass, visitors and locals can check in to designated Great Finds locations to unlock a broad range of fun South Dakota prizes based on the number of locations visited. Participating businesses can also offer discounts to users. The program delivery is seamless, with no app download needed. Instead, the pass is simply accessed through TravelSouthDakota.com. Participant location redemption is followed through GPS-based tracking, with prize notifications automatically sent to participants through SMS and email. Prizes are then emailed or shipped directly to participants. Click below to find a complete summary (PDF) of the Great Finds passport program:
This program is designed to attract visitors to lesser-known sites throughout South Dakota, at no cost to participating businesses, events and locations. The Department awards prizes to participating consumers who check in at stops. Great Finds prizes range from a South Dakota Sticker Pack (10 stops required) to a South Dakota Osprey Backpack and a chance to win a South Dakota Great Vacation (100 stops required). For more information, check out our official South Dakota Great Finds page on TravelSouthDakota.com:
How It Works
The passport is a mobile-exclusive passport with no purchase necessary. The location redemption process is GPS-based, with visitors simply checking in to each location from their phone’s home screen.
In instances where a location offers a discount, passport holders simply present the given discount on their mobile pass to your staff to redeem, so long as the passport holder is in close enough proximity to your business. The deal or discount will be time stamped at the time of redemption.
The first year of Great Finds runs until end of 2022. Additional participating location updates will be made throughout the twelve months, and completely new pass locations will appear in 2023.
Each featured business is provided with a window cling and poster (examples, below). Businesses should display one or both of these elements prominently so visitors know they’ve found the correct location. Redemption instructions should be kept on hand for employees to reference if visitors have questions about the program. Download this PDF:
As a key component of Department's marketing campaigns, the Great Finds passport will receive strong promotion through South Dakota Tourism-owned channels. The passports will be promoted on TravelSouthDakota.com with website personalization efforts, social media pushes and email program callouts, along with display and social promotion through paid media efforts. In addition, partners will be indicated as South Dakota Great Finds on TravelSouthDakota.com and in the South Dakota Vacation Guide with an in-line "SD Great Find logo" next to their listings.
How to Promote
The Department is excited to promote the Great Finds passport through paid and owned media; however, it's appreciated when others want to assist in promoting the program. Here are a few ways in which communities, businesses and locals can promote the passport programs:
- Request Collateral: The Department has posters providing visitors with an overview of the passport program & prizes. Businesses may request posters to display by contacting the Department of Tourism.
- Share on Social: Being a location on the passport provides bragging rights. Businesses, events and locations can share the great news with their social followers. Tout that the passport will bring locals and visitors alike to your community and businesses. In need of a social media image? Download this one:
- Spread the Word: If you are a current passport location or local business, share with visitors the next nearest passport location, assisting passport holders to continue their journey or simply to start their passport adventure.
How to Get Involved
Would you consider your business a hidden gem in South Dakota? Do you know of one we should include? Each 12-month cycle, the Department will revamp each passport with new businesses, events and/or locations. We’d love to potentially add your recommendations to the program in the future! Contact Erin Weinzettel with the Department of Tourism for more information.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How did my business/event/location get selected?
Does it cost anything for businesses/events/locations to participate?
As a participating business, do my employees or I need to do anything?
If visitors have questions about the Great Finds passport, where should they go?
How do people get their prizes?
How long does this program run?