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 consistently put people first, continuously go above and beyond, and help strangers at every opportunity. The South Dakota Great Place program recognizes these businesses each year.

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. The application deadline is October 31.
  • 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. For Mickelson Award consideration, applications must be received by October 31, 2021.
  • This program replaces 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.
    • Implements an employee recognition program. The Department of Tourism's South Dakota Great Face program is a sufficient program.
    • Participation in a hospitality training program. 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.
  • Access to the South Dakota Great Place logo for use in all marketing materials.

Recognition is for the year in which you apply and expires December 31.

Applications will be accepted from February through October of each calendar year. No applications will be accepted from November through January. For Mickelson Award consideration, applications must be received by October 31, 2021. 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

The first group receiving the South Dakota Great Place designation was for 2020. Use the links below to view previous Great Service Star designees from 2015-2020.

2020 Great Place Designees

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 Bailey Carlsen, Industry Training, Special Events, and Legislative Relations Manager, for more information at 605-773-3301 or [email protected].