January 7, 2016 North Dakota Tourism E-Newsletter
Keep up on the latest tourism industry news impacting North Dakota
January 7, 2016 Newsletter
Message From the Director
National Parks Travel
Tourism Welcomes Marketing Assistant
Backhaus Tourism Partner Liaison
Visa Waiver Provisions
ND Tourism Sportshow Schedule
Group Travel Expert Tip
Happy New Year!
This is going to be an exciting campaign year and we’d love to be able to spill all the details but … we have to wait just a little longer. As you already know, we are working with North Dakota native and actor Josh Duhamel on our 2016 campaign and plan to show the campaign later this month. The shoot made WDAZ's top stories of the year. Details of the launch are still being worked out in order to maximize exposure. As a result, the 2016 Travel Guide and Hunting and Fishing Guide are still under wraps. Expect your bulk shipments within the next couple of weeks.
US Travel Association forecasters are projecting 2016 to continue upward trends, citing a 1.4% business trip increase and a 2.1% increase in domestic leisure trips. This is slightly below the growth they projected in 2015. Here in North Dakota, our metrics are showing a mix. The details for third quarter will be in the next newsletter.
Canadian Visitors and Other Stats
There have been questions regarding Canadian visitation. Through October, traffic into North Dakota through Canadian ports of entry was down 10%. This is due to the downturn of Canada's economy and the poor exchange rate for our Canadian visitors. The last time the exchange rate was at the level it is now was in July of 2004. Comparing our 2015 traffic to 2004, we have 24% more autos coming into North Dakota this year than during that year. A similar impact is being seen in other states. Comparative data is available only through June, which showed North Dakota was down 3.6% YOY/YTD. Minnesota was down 6% for that time period and Montana was down 6.8%.
Another concern is our hotel stays. As reported by Smith Travel Research, occupancy is at a five-year low. For the month of November, North Dakota’s average hotel occupancy rate was 45.6%. Keep in mind we added 1,553 new rooms in 2015 to bring our total to 8,761 new rooms since 2010. Never before has it been so important to make a big splash with our media buy and advertising campaign. Our website traffic remains high and our inquiries are strong - showing there is interest in travel to North Dakota. We encourage our partners to work on packages, special offers and their online listings so our advertising and public relations can drive potential visitors into booked travelers.
Click here for updated dashboards on visitation to North Dakota.
- Rosey’s Pop-up Grilled Cheese Bistro is open at 212 Roberts Alley, downtown Fargo. It features a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches and sauces and will soon expand into a multifaceted restaurant and seafood and cheese market.
- Portions of the scenic drive in the North Unit and South Unit are closed due to winter weather conditions.
- Free entrance to the TR Park is January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Bismarck Airport joined Hector International Airport in Fargo in now offering TSA Pre-Check. Allegiant Airlines is resuming twice-weekly seasonal service from Fargo to St. Petersburg, Fla. effective February 17.
Brand USA, the public/private partnership created to increase international visitation to the U.S., has released the official trailer for “National Parks Adventure,” its upcoming giant-screen film that will launch on Feb. 12, 2016. It will be shown domestically and in countries around the world with the intention of enticing travelers to visit the U.S. North Dakota could see lots of travelers visiting the parks due to the attention the movie will bring to the international markets.
In addition, 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and ND Tourism will be recognizing the centennial with additional promotion of our key visitation motivator – Theodore Roosevelt National Park. In celebration, we’ll be giving away an annual park pass every week of 2016. Please help us promote this fun giveaway. Click here to learn more.
North Dakota Tourism has welcomed Kenmare native Maria Hager to the team! Maria began January 4 as Tourism Marketing Assistant and will be overseeing the cooperative marketing program, in addition to a number of marketing duties with Tourism and the Find the Good Life in North Dakota program. Maria is a 2015 graduate of NDSU. Email her at [email protected] to say hello.
To better serve our partners, North Dakota Tourism has appointed Tammy Backhaus official stakeholder/tourism partner liaison. Backhaus has been part of the ND Tourism staff for almost 12 years and is a great resource for all your tourism questions. If she doesn’t know the answer she can find it! Whether you are looking for help with partner access or the rest area brochure program she is excited to help. She will be reaching out to partners in an effort to better inform them of opportunities with the ultimate goal of helping them be more successful and developing a stronger industry. As always, the entire tourism team is here to assist you throughout 2016. Backhaus' contact information is 701-328-2526 or [email protected]
Congress recently passed legislation to fund the government through next September. Included in this legislation is H.R. 158, as passed by the House last week, which provides sensible reforms to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). These improvements will further enhance and strengthen the VWP and help bolster our national security. The U.S. Travel Association thanks its members for their support throughout 2015.
North Dakota Outdoor Recreation Marketing Manager Mike Jensen will be promoting North Dakota at six upcoming regional shows. As the staff's hunting and fishing expert, Jensen answers questions, distributes hunting and fishing guides and co-op partner brochures and represents the state at sportshows around the region. Here is this year's schedule:
- January 14-17 - Denver International Sportsmen’s Exposition – Denver
- January 23-24 - Chicago Travel and Adventure Show - Chicago
- February 11-14 - Minneapolis/St. Paul RV Vacation and Camping Show – Minneapolis
- February 25-28 - Omaha Boat, Sports and Travel Show - Omaha. Neb.
- March 2-6 - The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sportshow - Milwaukee
- March 30-April 3 - Northwest Sportshow - Minneapolis
One big advantage to cooperatively advertising with North Dakota Tourism is being able to stretch your marketing dollar and presence. Becky Repp, our ad rep at American Road Magazine, has reported that only one ¼-page spot remains in their two-page North Dakota co-op. This opportunity will go fast – so email Becky to reserve that spot: [email protected]. While the cooperative advertising reservation form was due December 31, there are a couple of Canadian newspaper insert spots available. It’s more important than ever to remind our Canadian guests of the advantages to visiting North Dakota!
- May insert – one spot remains
- August insert – three spots remain
Be sure to contact publication sales reps directly for inclusion into their cooperative programs. For a copy of the 2016 Media Plan, contact Maria Hager at [email protected].
Be social. Of 2,100 companies surveyed for a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Report, 79% use or plan to use social media. However, only 12% believe they are using social media effectively. Check out Group Tour Media’s Expert Tips to Grow Your Group Sales.