SOUTHERN IDAHO TOURISM

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Situation

Southern Idaho Tourism (SIT) was formed in 1995 to promote recreation and tourism in a seven-county area surrounding Twin Falls, Idaho. Part of their mission is to utilize tourism as a tool in community and economic development. The explosive growth of internet usage in the tourism category helped drive SIT’s search for a marketing partner with internet moxie.

The board was keenly aware that it needed to get up-to-date fast with web media and travel industry marketing when they hired Steele Branding. SIT has a unique business model; a volunteer Board of Directors, a four member Executive Committee with day-to-day activities managed by an Executive Director. This meant Metrics for marketing ROI and precise accountability were essential in keeping this business alive and growing.

Strategy

Southern Idaho Tourism does not have the mass-appeal enjoyed by major metropolitan regions. Interest in the area would require a well thought out web-based plan enhanced with a tradition media component. To provide direction for this effort Steele employed a set of research-based actions and recommendations starting with the procurement of current travel data conducted by in-state universities, and tourism marketing research conducted by the state of Idaho.

This information was distilled and supplicated with a detailed demographic study conducted by yet another demographic research firm to further fine tune exactly who it was that made up the regions target market.

By combining this information, Steele created and placed the most cost-effective advertising in traditional travel publications and then tailored the interactive aspects of the Southern Idaho Tourism website to captivate, entice and engage prospective travelers.

Result

SIT’s Executive Director is required to consistently show substantial ROI to the board and constituents in order to secure annual funding and support. Each year, since hiring Steele, SIT has reported double digit same-month increases over the previous years based on travel industry feedback, local hospitality reporting, and requests for information that come directly to the S.I.T. office. We are pleased to report that in the Spring of 2009 (in a down economy) the new interactive website analysis showed a 56% INCREASE over the previous year.

Steele’s annual contract was renewed.

“The team at Steele listens carefully…this is key to our relationship. We communicate and discuss concepts, the budget, and content. Their service is prompt and thorough. I urge you to give them your serious consideration.”

Debbie Dane, Executive Director - Southern Idaho Tourism