South Dakota Office of Tourism - sitemap

Monthly Report

March 2008

MEMORANDUM TO: Richard Benda

DATE: April 7, 2008

FROM: Melissa Bump

SUBJECT: Tourism’s March  Monthly Status Report

You may download and print the entire March Report  in Adobe Acrobat (PDF).


2010 Initiative
Cultural Heritage Tourism
Media & Public Relations
Industry Relations
Trade Sales
Film Office
Information Centers
Native American Tourism
Travel Market Advertising
Logo Usage
Strategic Planning Session
Great Events


2010 Initiative

Please refer to the web site at for updates.

Or, review Tourism's March Summary Report to Secretary Benda.

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Cultural Heritage Tourism
Completion of the “South Dakota Treasures, Cultural & Heritage” publication is July 2008.

Attended a meeting in Pierre at which Country Adventures explained their website as being an online mall for rural tourism. They received a grant to develop and expand their website and their Rural Resource Marketing Assistance program, which includes holding public information meetings.

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Media & Public Relations
Compilation of earned media: March estimated ad value of $13,705 (circ. 2,298,607); and Fiscal Year 2008 estimated ad value of $491,682 (circ. 10,621,898).

Posted following press releases: To in-state media (posted to and the State News Web) “Enhanced Tourism Web Site Promotes South Dakota Campgrounds.” Posted five industry releases to Posted press release announcing the “In Your Own Backyard” series; the first story is a Brookings event and the press release will be posted in April. Solicited Backyard submissions from the industry and developed a placeholder on so industry partners can download the form and submit ideas.

Fulfilled requests from LA Homes & Gardens, National Geographic Adventure, My Home magazine, and inquiries from MediaSD. Interviewed by Argus Leader (Minnesota promotion), KOTA-TV (upcoming peak season), Capital Journal (peak season, Film Office, film project, incentives, and marketing efforts), Rapid City Journal (film project and film incentives), and KSFY-TV (gas prices…will they affect tourism?). Provided copy regarding South Dakota’s state parks to the St. Paul Pioneer Press for inclusion in their Go Guide, a specialty publication. Compiled and sent information to Shel Zolkewich, a freelance writer from Canada, regarding summer family travel opportunities.

Attended first meeting for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial celebration and fireworks. Discussed ideas for sponsorships, earned media, and possible additions to the fireworks page on Contacted South Dakota Public Broadcasting about live streaming of the fireworks.

Met with seven writers in Minneapolis on a Media/Public Relations blitz. In conjunction with this, worked as a street team to promote the Great Neighbor Getaways to Minnesota residents at one of the Hiawatha lite-rail train stations. The promotion also included wrapping two rail cars with South Dakota images.

Worked on developing an outdoors adventure itinerary for the June fam in northeastern South Dakota, which includes biking in Sioux Falls, horseback riding in Sica Hollow State Park, canoeing/fishing on Roy Lake, and geo-caching in Fort Sisseton State Park. Sent invitations to 10 selected writers.

Continued working with cities in an attempt to bring Travel Media Showcase (TMS) to South Dakota, a conference for travel writers that allows them to quickly meet with industry representatives from other states/regions.

Added two video clips to YouTube and updated and added subscriptions to other channels.

Currently registered and have stories on and

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Industry Relations
Hired Joey Hockett as the new Visitor & Industry Relationships Representative. His programs include Great Events, Agri-Tourism, Million Dollar Challenge projects, and co-op marketing programs.
Organized regional brainstorming meetings in Rapid City, Pierre, Watertown, and Sioux Falls. Regional tourism directors reviewed the topics/comments during Strategic Planning Sessions that involved the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Board, Tourism staff, and industry leaders.

Contacted CVBs and regional directors to get their 6-month meetings and events calendars and offered to attend meetings per invitation.

Received six new applications for Governor Rounds Million Dollar Challenge program for FY2009. They will be reviewed by staff and the Tourism Board in April. The FY2008 Million Dollar Challenge program included one statewide project, plus others in the Black Hills, Belle Fourche, Wall/Badlands/Murdo and 15 others along I-90, Northern South Dakota, four cities along the Missouri River, Britton, Faith, Hill City, Chamberlain/Oacoma, Rapid City, North Sioux City, Eagle Butte/Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Winner, Watertown, Pine Ridge, and Yankton.

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Trade Sales Group Tour/International
Have received information from 218 partners for the 2009-2010 Group Tour Planning Guide. Will make calls to current partners who’ve not yet responded.

Worked with South Dakota Association of CVBs to create website banner ads and placed on two Meeting & Convention websites: Meetings Midamerica will include the banner ad on their main website (5,500 hits weekly) and also on an e-newsletter blast to their database of meetings planners (3,700 subscribers). Midwest Meetings will place the banner ad on their website (2,300 hits weekly) for one year. Placements also include corresponding editorial.

Organized and participated in the Minneapolis Trade Blitz. Other partners were from the Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Association, Rapid City CVB, Sioux Falls CVB, and Watertown CVB. Met with 60 travel agencies and tour operators. Contact information/leads were shared by all.

Finalized details for the Omaha Trade blitz, March 31 - April 4. Other partners are from the Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Association, Southeast South Dakota Tourism Association, and Sioux Falls CVB.

Completed itinerary for the Western Hospitality fam tour for travel agents in May with stops in Sioux Falls, De Smet, Watertown, Pierre, Murdo, Badlands National Park, Wall, Black Hills National Forrest, Deadwood, Spearfish, Hill City, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and Chamberlain. Sent 1,500 invitations to travel agencies affiliated with AAA and MLT. Fam is limited to 45 participants.

Sent Issue 3 of the Travel Professionals E-Newsletter to 123 list members – tour operators, travel agents and meeting and event planners.

Assisted travel agents and regional directors from MLT World Vacations, plus AAA offices in Texas, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Washington, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio, California, Minnesota, Minneapolis, New York, Abbott Travel, and Carlson Wagonlit. Fulfilled requests for information from AAA/CAA offices in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin; plus Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Continued working on 2Nation Tours Familiarization Tour in June, covering eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota. Mailed Save-the-Date postcard to 1,200 tour operators and group leaders who had requested 2Nation Tours Fam tour information.

Sent requested information to Northland Travel, WTI Tours, Iowa; Carlson Destination Marketing Services, Minnesota; Bus Tours magazine, Illinois; Sun City Roseville, California; and American Travel Service, Norway.

Confirmed arrangements for the Japanese Group Tour Fam itinerary for 10 in June, which includes the Black Hills and major attractions, Badlands National Park, Rapid City, Pierre, De Smet, and Mitchell.

Fulfilled photo requests to Marc Bainaud, France, and Godfrey Hall, United Kingdom, for buffalo roundup articles

Attendees at the Rocky Mountain International (RMI) Roundup in April include 18 South Dakota suppliers who represent 23 businesses and who have the opportunity to meet with 39 tour operators – 37 international and two domestic inbound companies. Finalized itinerary for post-RMI Roundup tour for 11 tour operators, April 11-15.

Attended International Tourism Bourse (ITB) with RMI staff in Berlin and met with 77 tour operators and journalists, an increase over last year when we met with 68. (Dirk Rohrbach, Germany, presented a slide show on his three upcoming South Dakota Native American tours that will help raise money for a new school at Oglala and for Lakota textbooks.) There is much interest in our area due to the devalued dollar and the upcoming presidential election. Attended Paris Mission with RMI and conducted nine tour operator trainings and seminars; hosted eight journalists to meetings and dinner; and hosted 27 tour operators and journalists to a VIP dinner plus a meet and greet.

Mottotourismo, Italy, has confirmed that they be in South Dakota in June for a motorcycle tour, and will publish South Dakota motorcycle routes in a tour catalog, magazine article, and TV program.

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Emailed March’s story ideas to 1,400 outdoors writers and editors - “Out Northern Pike fishing on Lake Oahe.”

Was contacted by Jack Baker, the president of the North American Ice Fishing Championship (NAIFC) Tournament Series about bringing Trap Attack Ice Fishing Tournaments back to South Dakota. He is interested in having a tournament in the Webster area, but requires a $5,000 city sponsorship fee in order to be considered. Provided tips and contacts to Rusty Damons regarding an outdoors show.

Hosted journalists Jim Neimiec, Western Outdoors, on a spring goose hunt and Bob Jensen, Midwest Outdoors, on ice fishing the northeast.

Compiled promotional gift package for Pat O’Connor with KCAUTV 9 in Sioux City, Iowa, for the Annual Walleye Weekend Tourney in Pickstown.

Worked with Bill Scherk to set up spring trips for Due North Outdoors TV. Contacted Bill Marchel, a writer for the Star Tribune, about his recent article on snow geese; pitched the ivory gull story. Have made initial contact with Geri Storer, The Hunting Chronicles TV Show. Contacted Eric Gislas with Kent Hrbek Outdoors regarding story ideas, “Riding the Mickelson Trail” and “Spring Training (fishing) in South Dakota.” Contacted Bob Cooper, freelance writer from California, regarding story opportunities in South Dakota. Cooper is planning a trip this spring and is pitching a story to National Geographic Adventure on “Wild Roads” of South Dakota.

Continued working with the Sioux Falls CVB on the Professional Outdoor Media Conference (POMA) that will be held in Sioux Falls, July 30 - August 2. Held discussions with POMA about a fishing tournament they want to have the day before the conference; working with Yankton CVB to set up a spot on Lewis and Clark Lake.
Contacted industry partners to set up a spring ice-out northern pike fishing trip for April.

Participated in a conference call about the “Tour de South Dakota” bike tour, a race for professional bike riders only, which draws people from all around the country. It requires a large monetary investment.

Forwarded information on the South Dakota Walleye Classic in Akaska in August to the Vocus list of writers who write about fishing and to the outdoors news list.

Held a conference call with Bob St. Pierre, Pheasants Forever, regarding the Association of Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP). They are searching for a venue that allows them to fish, hunt multiple species, and hold meetings with accommodations for 40-50 people.

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Film Office
Continued working with Black Hills Central Reservations regarding package bookings for seven winners from the National Treasure: Book of Secrets promotion.

Assisted the South Dakota Film Festival group to distribute “Call for Entries” postcards to film industry.

Fulfilled requests for film production and tax refund information to Children In Film, looking for talent and modeling agency; and Elisia Harkins, TV Production at Notre Dame High School.

Organized agenda and speakers for the first 2008 Film Roundtable in Pierre and discussed the role of the Film Office; 19 people attended. Presenters included Mike Pflaum from Mount Rushmore National Memorial regarding film permits and South Dakota Film Festival organizers.

Staffed an exhibitor booth at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, which provided the opportunity to network with the film industry and sell South Dakota as a location. This festival is also an educational opportunity for producers/film companies via seminars and screenings. Worked with South Dakota Film Festival to distribute their postcards with their festival information.

Set up meetings with film industry contacts while in Santa Monica at the Association of Film Commissions International (AFCI) Locations Trade Show, April 10-13. Developed a slideshow of South Dakota locations to have available at the trade show booth and submitted two film office ads for Marketing Awards, which will be announced during the trade show.

Placed full page, 4-color ad in P3 Production Update, which will be distributed at AFCI Trade Show.

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Information Centers
Reviewed 135 applications for the travel counselor positions at the Information Centers; conducted phone interviews plus one-on-one interviews in Sioux Falls and Chamberlain. Mailed regret letters; mailed hire packets to 75 applicants. Centers open May 17; daily hours of operation are 9am to 7pm.
The training tour is in the southwestern part of the state, May 1-8, and includes eight communities.

Worked with Pheasantland Industries on designing new brochure racks for the Centers. Developed new script for the travel tapes and CDs. Discussed new research to be conducted at the Centers.

Mailed poster co-op program information to the industry; there are 85 partners; three spaces are still available at Wasta EB.

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Placed list of those who’ve earned the privilege of displaying the 2008 Great Service Star on
Wrote article for the Custer Chamber of Commerce newsletter explaining the Governor's Hospitality Certificate program. Prepared list of certificate recipients from Custer and Custer State Park for the Custer Chamber in preparation for their annual spring banquet.

Evaluated application proposals for the cities sponsoring a spring hospitality training speaker and distributed $10,000, per proposals, to Britton/Sisseton at Fort Sisseton, Watertown, Chamberlain, Spearfish, Rapid City, Huron, and Faith. Will compile list of spring training sites for press release and/or email blast to the visitor industry.

Contacted Priscilla Romkema and Sheila Aaker from Black Hills State University (BHSU) and invited them to present the online hospitality training curriculum module at the Strategic Planning Session in Deadwood. Mailed information to Chambers, CVBs, economic development offices, and Governor’s Tourism Advisory Board encouraging them to spread the word on four regional Train-The-Trainer workshops about the online training curriculum. The workshops were set up by BHSU and will be held in April and May; attendees will be able to train others on using the online training curriculum.

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Total January Inquiries:                                            

Internet (e-mail):           13,421

Mail:                                1,223                                                                    

Phone:                            1,504  

Total:                              16,148


For fiscal year 2008, there is an overall increase in inquiries of 18%  percent over FY2007  

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Native American Tourism
Attended the Indians and Pioneers Meeting in Pine Ridge. Attended the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance meeting in Fort Pierre.

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Fulfilled requests for photos/slides to Lawrence and Schiller, Insight Marketing Design, South Dakota Health Care Association, Outdoor Campus, The Big Read, Sioux Falls; Game, Fish and Parks, South Dakota State Historical Society Press, Governor’s Office, Harley Owners Group, Pierre; Custer State Park; Rapid City Journal, RJ Design, Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes Association, HMS Enterprises, Rapid City; TDG Communications, Deadwood; South Dakota Walleye Classic, Akaska; Joop Bollen, Aberdeen;
City of Madison; Register-Lakota Printing, Chamberlain; South Dakota Magazine, Yankton; Business Facilities magazine, New Jersey; Isaac Walton League, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minnesota; Spring Hill Press, Missouri;; USA Today; and Essentially America magazine, United Kingdom.

Fulfilled video requests: Sent outdoors and scenic footage to KSFY-TV and KTTW-TV for spots they are producing for the Outdoor Expo. Sent Black Hills footage and a TV spot to Prairie Berry Winery for use on their website. Sent Black Hills footage to the Black Hills campus of SDSU for a nursing recruitment video they are producing. Sent video of Deadwood and the Black Hills to Lawrence and Schiller. Sent stock footage to UFC Countdown in Los Angeles for a music video profile they are producing.

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Travel Market Advertising
Finalized and shipped the following for the peak season campaign for Giant Step magazine ads: 3-page Deadwood ad, Midwest Living, on sale April 24; 1-page Sylvan Lake ad, Budget Travel, on sale April 20; 1-page Crazy Horse ad, Camping Life, on sale April 22; 3-page Sylvan Lake ad, Family Circle, on sale May 15; 1-page Corn Palace ad, Travel 50 & Beyond, on sale April 28; 3-page Corn Palace ad, Guidepost, on sale May 20. Placed general Tourism newspaper ads in Eau Claire, Milwaukee, Omaha, Des Moines, Gannett group (Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Fond due Lac, Manitowoc), Minneapolis, St Paul, Worthington, Omaha, and Sioux City. Tourism and Deadwood ad for Minneapolis Star Tribune special section – Great Vacations Guide, inserts April 13. Tourism TV donut spots. Tourism Tier 3 radio spots. Deadwood Co-op newspaper ads in Denver, Minneapolis, Casper, Cheyenne, and Sioux Falls. Deadwood Spadea and advertorial for the Denver Post, inserts March 23. Deadwood radio spots. Rapid City Co-op newspaper ads in Minneapolis, St. Paul, St Cloud, Denver, Fort Collins, and Argus Leader’s special publication, Good Life Magazine, inserts March 24. Custer State Park Co-op newspaper ads in Fort Collins, Greeley, SW Minnesota, and Sioux Falls. Banner ads and jump page for Custer State Park Weekend Reunion Giveaway. Travelsmart – March issue: Custer State Park Promotion, camping, rock climbing, and outdoor photography were featured.
The Great Neighbor Getaway promotion in Minneapolis also included wrapping two rail cars with South Dakota images. A breakout of the earned media impressions for the train wrap promotion includes: KELO (x2) – 200,000 unique visitors to their website per week; Argus Leader – 53,000+ or 75,000+ on the weekend; Minnesota Public Radio – 800,000+; Minneapolis Star Tribune – 365,000+; blogger from Hell’s Kitchen; and Finance-Commerce Online – 3,400. Total estimated at 1.6 million impressions.

Worked with Mount Rushmore National Memorial Society to secure a parking pass and four reserved seats to the fireworks for our 4th of July giveaway.

Designed new format for Great Getaways piece into a 24-page, four-color insert for 50 partners from across the state. The first newspaper inserts will by April 27 and have a total circulation of 698,593.

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Worked on elements of the timeline, layout, advertising, and distribution for the motorcycle publication.

Ordered 40,000 copies of “Golf South Dakota” booklet and will work with the South Dakota Golf Association on distribution. It is available on TravelSD as a pdf.

Will send Great Lakes Birding booklet to the printer in mid-April.

Plan to design and produce a new Native American guide by the end of June. This piece will focus on the culture of each reservation, and it will include travel highlights and protocol.

Created a new two-color, 4-page guide for archaeology and paleontology, “Greenhorn’s Guide to Archaeology & Paleontology.” Plan to print 3,000 copies with delivery in early April for distribution at Information Centers and by request. It is available by pdf on TravelSD.


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World Wide Web/E-Commerce
On Visitor Services Directory has 5,169 entries; and 44 vacation packages are listed for 14 cities. Three hot deals are currently running. From February 29 to March 23, 26 e-postcards were sent by consumers. Posted the homepage link for the Sturgis Rally “Win a Free Ride” and the Rally page banner ad.

Ran test on three different landing pages for the Minnesota promotion to determine which page layout performed the best with the Minnesota audience. Have received 468 entries for the $250 dollar gas card giveaway.

Reviewed numerous landing page designs for the Custer State Park online promotion and giveaway. Have received over 2,407 unique entries thus far; will select winner on April 15. For CSP Co-op, reviewed keyword for PPC campaign.

For the campground co-op, a section on will house information about both public and private campgrounds in a searchable database by amenities.

On, updated the guidelines for the Million Dollar Challenge program.

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Summer Internships
Photography internship was accepted by Stephanie Flyger, who is attending the University of North Dakota and majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies – Photography; her hometown is Pierre.

Visitor Industry Relations internship for the Information Centers was accepted by Jake Jessop, who is attending the University of South Dakota and majoring in Business Management with a Human Resources Management specialization; his hometown is Presho.

Media/Public Relations internship was accepted by Nick Fosheim, who is attending South Dakota State University and majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising; his hometown is Webster.

Creative/Visitor Industry Relations internship was accepted by Nellie Bloomberg, who is attending South Dakota State University and majoring in Hotel Management; her hometown is Pierre.

Trade Sales internship was accepted by Beth Rahja, who is attending Northern State University and majoring in Marketing. His hometown is Frederick.

Unsuccessful candidates were notified.

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Logo Usage
Sent logo to Ryan@ThinkBamboo. Sent State Seal files to Unique Sign in Rapid City for signage for the former Governor’s mansion east of Rapid City. Sent South Dakota script to Black Hills State University.

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Czech Days, Tabor – June 19-21: Designed a new poster for local committee.

Oahe Days, Pierre – June 20-22: Ordered 8,500 copies of an oversized postcard for direct mailing.

Festival of Presidents, Rapid City – June 27-28: Forwarded ad for placement in South Dakota magazine. The remaining ads are for newspapers, due in April.

Mickelson Trail Trek, Black Hills (Outdoor Event) – September 19-21: Local committee approved postcard direct mail piece and will mail 12,000 copies to past event participants and lists purchased from Ruf.

Hill City Western Heritage Festival, Hill City – September 20-21: Designed an oversized postcard. The magazine ad is due in May and newspaper ads are due in August.


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Strategic Planning
Met with tourism staff, L&S team, regional tourism directors, and industry professionals to develop new promotion projects and set priorities for the next year

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