Online Sales Jump for South Dakota Tourism

In just one month, the South Dakota Office of Tourism's online sales increased 257 percent, the agency reports. The triple-digit increase in February can be attributed to the Office's newest  web-based program, Digital Revolution.
 
Governor Mike Rounds unveiled plans last year for the Digital Revolution – a new travel web site with opportunities for everyone in the visitor industry, both large and small, to control their own content and gain valuable exposure on the home page of South Dakota’s official tourism Web site.
 
“Photos, videos and an online booking mechanism help to make our online visitors’ experiences even better,” says Rounds. “This is cutting edge. There’s nothing else like it.  No other state in the union is doing what we have done this past year.”
 
February 2010 was the first full month of operation for Digital Revolution. Compared with the same time period in 2009, the new www.TravelSD.com has seen dramatic increases in online sales and visitor engagement, the state reports.
 
Every city, attraction, activity, lodging, dining, shopping and traveler service can become a Digital Revolution partner. By paying a one-time fee of $250, businesses can add and edit their own descriptions (hours, features, contact information, etc.) and upload photos and videos.

 Related destinations, activities, vacation packages, events and news stories are automatically connected to businesses and displayed on their Web pages. For an additional $250, a partner can add a booking widget, which allows visitors to book their vacation directly from TravelSD.com.
 
“There are nearly 300 partners signed up to be a part of the program, but there’s always room for more,” the Governor says. “Our vision is to have every destination, hotel, motel, hunting lodge, campground, restaurant, gift shop and attraction be a part of Digital Revolution.”
 
Visitors to the web site can add items to a personalized Trip Planner or click to book online. Other opportunities for engagement include requesting vacation guides, signing up for monthly e-mails targeted to individual interests, and uploading travel photos.

The statistics tell part of the story:
* Online sales on TravelSD.com are up 257 percent in February 2010 compared to February 2009
* Use of the Trip Planner on TravelSD.com is up 57 percent
* Average time on site per visit has increased by 23 percent for U.S. visitors on TravelSD.com
 * Average time on the TravelSD.com Home Page has increased 24 percent
 

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