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July 22, 2019
This paid piece is sponsored by the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau.
There’s an audience of travelers who likes to not know exactly where a trip will take them.
It has become known as a mystery tour in the group tour industry and increasingly is an option offered by tour operators nationwide.
The tours have found a niche in Sioux Falls, where the Convention & Visitors Bureau decided to capitalize on the trend and started marketing them this year as it promotes the city as a multiday destination.
“We have long considered Sioux Falls for a group tour, and this year we finally were able to fit it in for our annual Mystery Tour,” said Kathy Chadwell of A&B Tours.
“Based on the response from all the vendors and the planning assistance from the local CVB, we should have done this before now! I cannot thank often enough to everyone involved for the solid follow-up and tremendous service that we have received! Sioux Falls has so much to offer, and they do it so very well. I would not hesitate to add another day to our Sioux Falls tour in the future.”
The CVB crafted several options with detailed one-, two- and three-day itineraries highlighting all the exciting things to see and do in Sioux Falls.
It pitched the idea to tour operators using the tag line “Unlock the Mystery of Sioux Falls” at travel trade shows this past spring and supported it with a multitiered marketing campaign using print, digital and postcard mailers followed by a personal phone call.
“After first contacting the CVB and sharing our idea for a mystery trip, I received a plethora of information on the city, different activities, hotels, restaurants and a suggested itinerary for the five days that we planned on being in town,” said Perry Wieland of R&J Tours.
“The information was so detailed that we probably could have just made our contacts over the phone and ran the tour without a site inspection, but that is not the way we like to plan tours, so my wife and I traveled to Sioux Falls to follow up on all of this information.”
When they arrived, they were greeted with enthusiasm by CVB representatives, he said.
“The excitement for the city we felt was truly a big part in us planning the tour. Our tour was a great success, and I can see us returning to Sioux Falls in the future for another tour. I’ve worked with many CVBs, but I honestly can say that the Sioux Falls CVB is one of the best we have worked with.”
Since its launch, Sioux Falls has booked several mystery tours with tour operators. Without revealing too much of the “mystery,” tours have included stops at Falls Park, SculptureWalk and Arc of Dreams, Washington Pavilion, Stensland Family Farms, the Old Courthouse Museum, Pettigrew Home and Museum, Butterfly House and Aquarium, Stockyards Ag Experience and EROS Data Center.
Because these tour companies typically book several consecutive nights in Sioux Falls, each visit creates up to $30,000 in estimated economic impact to the city.
Deb Qualset, assistant vice president and administrative assistant at The Tilden Bank in Nebraska, contacted the CVB when she began discussing offering a group bus tour to Sioux Falls. The CVB helped craft itineraries and connect her with contact people, timeframes and routes.
“I especially appreciated input and suggestions to visit some hidden treasures in and around the city,” Qualset said. “Our overall experience in Sioux Falls was very enjoyable, and the consensus on the bus ride home was ‘When are you planning another tour to Sioux Falls?’
To connect with the CVB and plan your own Mystery Tour, contact Jackie Wentworth at 605-373-2028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s an audience of travelers who likes to not know exactly where a trip will take them. Enter the “mystery tour” — a trend that’s taking off in Sioux Falls.