Selling Sioux Falls: A strategic approach to attracting tourists

May 10, 2018

This piece is presented by Click Rain.

By Kate Kotzea, director of marketing technology


Summer is just around the corner, which means sunshine and vacations! While vacations are wonderful for travelers, they have a big impact on local destinations as well.

This is National Travel & Tourism Week and also marks the 35th anniversary of the 1983 congressional resolution that established the week to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of the U.S. travel community. Tuesday also was the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Annual Visitor Industry Luncheon, where area travel professionals and community leaders come together to celebrate the achievements and economic impact travel and tourism have in our city — and there are quite a few!

In 2017, not only was Sioux Falls consistently mentioned as a top place to travel to, but also those visitors made an impact:

  • 1.65 million visitors came to Sioux Falls and generated an estimated $403.5 million economic impact to our city.
  • The southeastern region of South Dakota accounted for $1.5 billion in visitor spending.
  • Minnehaha County accounted for 27 percent of visitor spending across the entire state, and visitor spending in Lincoln County has more than doubled over the past five years.

Knowing how impactful travel is to our economy, the U.S. Travel Association — the organization behind National Travel & Tourism Week — has a national focus on Project Time-off, trying to get U.S. workers to take full advantage of their vacation time to get out, explore and recharge. The U.S. is ranked on the lower end of the scale of countries that use their vacation time; in 2016, only 46 percent of U.S. employees used all of their vacation time. We can do better!

At Click Rain, we love being able to partner with the Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau to promote and market our great city. There is no better pride than highlighting all Sioux Falls has to offer and finding ways to share the Sioux Falls story with potential visitors. Over the past few years, we’ve rolled out a variety of travel personas to better showcase the unique ways in which travelers can experience Sioux Falls — from foodies and families to those focused on the arts or outdoors, there are content and marketing materials to appeal to all.

With the use of personalized website content, we are able to create a relevant website experience for those visiting the site with known travel personas, local visitors or those learning about Sioux Falls for the first time. This has helped generate an increase in website engagements, including visitor guide downloads, email signups and organic search visits.

Through the use of strategic measuring and tracking, marketing efforts now can be tied back to the amount of hotel rooms and airline flights booked by those who have seen Sioux Falls marketing messages. The most recent winter campaign, a joint effort with South Dakota Tourism, generated a 170 percent return on investment from media dollars to hotel room bookings. This campaign resulted in getting more visitors aware of and ultimately traveling to Sioux Falls during a usual seasonal downtime.

To ensure we are staying engaged with the ever-evolving traveler, we continually implement tried-and-true tactics, as well as emerging ones. This year, we are airing our spots on ConnectedTV to engage with more viewers where they are watching television more often — online. A targeted direct mail piece based on website engagements is being sent out to encourage more awareness of Sioux Falls. These targeted marketing efforts allow us to be extremely effective and efficient with marketing dollars.

If you haven’t yet taken time to explore all the great new areas, attractions, restaurants and more this great city has to offer, get out and start being a tourist! Sioux Falls has evolved over the years from being a place people would travel through to being a place people travel to.

Get inspired by the Sioux Falls Experience video or download the mobile app to see how tourists find all of the great gems we get to call home.

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Selling Sioux Falls: A strategic approach to attracting tourists

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