Travel agencies

Pandemic forces state and local travel agencies to find alternative advertising methods

Industries like tourism have been forced to roll with the punches.

RAPID CITY, SD — Over the past two years during the pandemic, a lot has changed, from gatherings in public places to the way business is conducted on a day-to-day basis, which includes marketing.

Industries like tourism have been forced to roll with the punches. For example, the South Dakota Department of Tourism has begun marketing two distinct groups of people, those who are willing to travel and those who are not.

“What we’ve been telling these folks is that when the time is right for you and you want to start traveling, great places are waiting for you,” said South Dakota Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen. “There was a part of the American population who said that we were going to travel today. We are willing to travel, so our message was to go to great places. We are ready to welcome you. We are ready to keep you safe.

This message made its way to Rapid City, where travel companies were forced to use other, more social media-based tactics. Some of these tactics include user-generated content and photos and videos of the wintery Black Hills exterior.

“People who have visited the area who don’t live here, sharing their experience seems to have a huge impact,” said Stacie Granum, Acting President and CEO of Visit Rapid City.

In fact, this tactic has helped Visit Rapid City during the winter offseason.

“We saw a very high engagement rate,” Granum said. “There was interest and we also saw more visitors to this office than in the past.”

For an area that typically sees 1-2% growth, matching a year where a 12.4% increase with just 11 months of data seems like a daunting task.

However, if the studies planned by the travel industry say anything, it’s that people will come back.

“It all leads up to us going to have another great year,” Granum said. “Now will it go beyond 2021? It’s hard to say. We just have to take it week by week.