South Dakota Great Place Program

About the Program

Great service is extremely important to the South Dakota Department of Tourism. That’s why we want to put a spotlight on the businesses that  exemplify great service around the state. We value and appreciate the businesses that constantly put people first, continuously go above and beyond, and help strangers at every opportunity. Therefore, we have developed a new program to recognize these businesses each year: the South Dakota Great Place program.

South Dakota Great Place Program

How to Apply

  • To apply as a business for the South Dakota Great Place designation, click here for the online application form.
  • Businesses that demonstrate the highest levels of service and hospitality will be considered for the George S. Mickelson Award given annually at the South Dakota Governor’s Conference on Tourism. To be eligible for consideration, the business must first have requested and received the South Dakota Great Place designation.
  • This program is replacing the Great Service Star (GSS) program. There are similarities to the GSS program, but please note that some requirements have changed.

Applications must include:

  • Evidence of excellent customer service, including:
    • Comment cards and/or online comments.
    • Participation in the South Dakota Great Face program.
    • 75% of staff have taken a hospitality program for that year. The Department of Tourism’s Online Hospitality Training program is a sufficient program for this training.
  • Examples of updates made designed to enhance the customer experience. This can include painting, welcome gifts, new bedding in rooms, flowers designed to welcome visitors, etc.
  • Information about the business’ involvement in the local tourism industry and community (memberships or involvement in local DMO, CVB, and/or chamber of commerce, volunteer work, etc.).

South Dakota Great Place designees will receive:

  • A letter from the Secretary of the Department of Tourism.
  • A certificate to proudly display.
  • A window cling for display in the front entrance, which indicates that the business is an official South Dakota Great Place.
    • Please be aware that due to budget constraints from COVID-19, we will be unable to distribute window clings to our South Dakota Great Place recipients for the year 2020, but hope to distribute them in 2021.
  • Access to the South Dakota Great Place logo for use in all marketing materials.
  • A South Dakota Great Place designation in the South Dakota Vacation Guide.

Applications will be accepted January 1–November 20 of each calendar year. No applications will be accepted from November 21–December 31. Businesses are eligible for recognition on an annual basis, but must reapply each year.

South Dakota Great Place Application Form


South Dakota Great Place Designees

Use the links below to view Great Service Star designees from 2015-2020. The first group receiving the new South Dakota Great Place designation will be listed in 2021.

2020 Great Service Star Designees

2019 Great Service Star Designees

2018 Great Service Star Designees

2017 Great Service Star Designees

2016 Great Service Star Designees

2015 Great Service Star Designees


If you are looking for information about recognizing an employee, please see the South Dakota Great Face program.



Please contact Teresa Tople, Administrative Assistant & Project Specialist, for more information at 605-773-3301 or [email protected].