Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association 82nd Annual Meeting Reports Record Year


RAPID CITY, SD – After an uncertain 2020 year, the Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association has announced a very successful 2021.

The organization and leaders of the local travel industries were all in attendance at the meeting and lunch as the speakers elaborated on statistics regarding the increase in numbers.

From last September to August of this year, the number of tourists increased by more than 20%.

Nearly 5 million people visited the national parks and the hotel occupancy rate exceeded 55%.

“IIt ended up being an absolutely fantastic year, ”said Michelle Thomson, President and CEO of Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association. “We were fortunate to have DMO CARES marketing dollars that we could spend that helped give the tourism industry a little extra boost. “

Over the past year, the organization has maintained a large online presence. They worked to create advertisements and campaigns highlighting the natural environment and exterior aspects of the area.

Their website and social media pages, in turn, have been viewed millions of times, with interactive content engaging users and extending their reach.

Far enough for visitors from Florida and California to respond to the ads.

Trend-based content was also a new addition. The influx of people moving to the Black Hills while working from home helped create the company’s “Work Here, Play Here” ads.

However, as Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association anticipates the return of large groups, they do not plan to revert fully to pre-COVID strategies.

“We are impatiently awaiting the return of large groups and international companies. So our marketing will kind of go back to where we were in the past, but we’ll definitely pay attention to trends, ”said Thomson. “And what’s going on at the national level to see if there are things we need to do, to polish.”

And as they prepare for another year of marketing, plans have already been made to incorporate even more online and media-based content.

“It’s a lot more social media, a lot more magazine advertising,” said Presston Gabel, business manager for the South Dakota Mammoth site. “Lots more voice ads through Pandora and things like that.”

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