April 21, 2016 North Dakota Tourism E-Newsletter
Keep up on the latest tourism industry news impacting North Dakota
April 21, 2016 Newsletter
Message From the Director
North Dakota Talks Travel in Chicago
Travel Industry Conference
Online Events Calendar Added
Tourism Spreads the Word at Sport Shows
Midwest Travel Twitter Chat features ND May 4
Group Travel Expert Tip
- Construction begins on 13-mile stretch of westbound I-94 near Medora. Expect delays. Scheduled to be complete late fall.
- Fluffy Fields Vineyard is now open near Dickinson.
- Lake Darling to open early
It was great to see so many partners at our Travel Industry Conference in Grand Forks last week. Thanks to the Greater Grand Forks CVB for being such awesome hosts! It is always a great way to connect, collaborate and kick off the summer travel season. Those who attended heard me talk about our focus on driving more overnight stays this season. While the state's main objective still needs to be inspirational, we have also developed strategies to drive more room night sales in an effort to improve our occupancy rates. These will evolve as the season progresses and include messaging about the availability and affordability of our hotel rooms. This message is in contrast to past years where occupancies have made it difficult to find rooms in many communities and other national park areas in the region, which are sold out due to the 100th anniversary of the National Park System. You will see more “book your room” and “extend your stay” suggestions in ads, subject lines and in travel counselors’ conversations. We will use our paid advertising vehicles like email, native advertising and digital ads, as well as our own channels like our website, consumer e-newsletter and social media.
At the conference, we also talked about fewer Canadians crossing into our state and the challenges of the lower Canadian dollar. The value of the Canadian dollar set a 10-year low in January at .68 and the last time the exchange rate was this low was July 2004. When we compare our Canadian traffic from 2015 to 2004 – we had 24% more traffic. This shows that consistent marketing has paid off. During the first week of our digital advertising run, traffic from Canada was up 232% and the click-through rate on the campaign is well above the industry average in all markets, and is best in Canada.
As we get ready for National Travel and Tourism Week, May 1-7, it is a good time to remind our residents and policy makers that our industry is important to our state economy. Tourism generates revenue, helps diversify our economy making us less reliant on commodity-based ag and energy, and it improves our quality of life. So celebrate and advocate!
North Dakota Media Relations Director Kim Schmidt recently promoted North Dakota in the Chicago market, where she had an opportunity to visit with media professionals and share North Dakota’s “Legendary” opportunities. A few key appointments included the Chicago Tribune and a radio interview with WGN. To find out more about the media mission, feel free to contact Schmidt.
The annual North Dakota Travel Industry Conference was held April 11-13 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. Keynote speakers included CBS Radio host and brand strategist Roshini Rajkumar, former Vice President of Travel Michigan George Zimmermann, co-founder of Emerging Prairie, Fargo TedX and 1 Million Cups Greg Tehven and Vice President of Bluebridge, Adam Weber. Attendees are asked to click here to evaluate this year's conference.
Congratulations to this year's winners of the Governor's Awards for Travel and Tourism: Medora Musical 50th Year Anniversary, Attraction of the Year; Mike Beaudoin, Travel and Tourism Industry Leader; Victoria Solis, Behind the Scenes Tourism Employee; North Dakota State Fair, Event of the Year; Norsk Høstfest, International Tourism Award; Carolyn Schweitzer, Front-line Tourism Employee; Jamestown Tourism, Tourism Organization of the Year.
Now more than ever, it's important to get people into your communities and into your hotels and motels. Take advantage of free events listings that might draw people into your cities and towns. North Dakota Tourism has compiled an easily accessible calendar of events with a link from the NDtourism.com homepage. Events are placed by partners onto the website through Partner Access and the calendar is pulled from that listing. The calendar is updated regularly as events are added. Click here or go to the homepage to view the calendar online. Links are live for digital users and the PDF format can also be printed.
North Dakota Tourism has completed another successful year of outdoor sport and travel shows. Tourism staff recently exhibited at five travel and sports shows across the Upper Midwest. More than 7,700 people visited with North Dakota Tourism at those shows, matching the total from 2015. North Dakota Tourism promoted the state at the Denver International Sportsmen’s Exposition, Denver; Chicago Travel and Adventure Show, Chicago; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sport Show Milwaukee, Wis.; and Minneapolis Camping and RV Show and Northwest Sport Show, both in Minneapolis. “Visiting national parks and fishing were the most commonly asked-about topics,” North Dakota Tourism’s Outdoor Promotions Manager Mike Jensen said. “Show attendees were very interested in taking advantage of low gas prices and were much more open to longer road trips this year.”
Join North Dakota Tourism on May 4 to talk about all of the #NDLegendary adventures taking place in North Dakota this year. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase your destination, attraction and event to a captive Midwest Blogger audience. Click here for more or contact Kim Schmidt if you have any additional questions.
Position now for your future tour groups. Click here to learn more.
Have a fall event or a tourist destination in need of promotion? Our fall Canadian newspaper insert is the perfect way to showcase your North Dakota legendary adventure. We have four 1/8-page placements available. They are first-come, first-serve and can be reserved by contacting Maria Hager today!
- M Magazine, Milwaukee’s Lifestyle Magazine has spots available in the June issue. As an advertiser, you will benefit from a free link to your website from M Magazine’s complimentary digital edition. Deadline to reserve is April 27. Please contact Laura Schmidt for more information.
- Take advantage of a new, customized opportunity to get the word out on your destination with individualized eBlasts. Be the only voice showcasing your destination to our 20,000 leisure and more than 3,000 hunting and fishing subscribers. However, because this opportunity is only available once per month on the leisure side and quarterly for hunting and fishing, it’s first-come, first-serve. Leisure eBlasts are $2,000 per send while hunting and fishing are $800 per send. Contact Mitch Knothe (208-869-5178) to take advantage of this personalized opportunity or for more information.
Make your advertising dollars go further by partnering with North Dakota tourism. From print advertising to digital deployments, our cooperative opportunities are designed to aid you in showcasing your destination to thousands of potential visitors. Contact Hager for more information.
North Dakota Tourism has a visual presence at the IIHF U18 World Hockey Championships in Grand Forks. North Dakota Legendary is featured prominently on a dasher behind each goal. The placement gives great exposure to a worldwide audience in many countries that are heavily marketed by North Dakota Tourism, including Denmark, Sweden, Canada and Finland. The tournament concludes April 24.