The Digital Age: Tourism businesses utilizing social media to reach target groups

To still reach their target audience, local tourism businesses are using different online advertising approaches, like Google and Tik-Tok.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — In the tourism industry, online ads are geared towards families traveling to the Black Hills, but the flexibility in the digital advertising gave places like Visit Rapid City the best change to get more bang for their buck.

With fewer people coming into visitor centers during the pandemic, fewer brochures and print ads were getting in the hands of tourists.

“If it’s not performing, you switch things up, switch your targeting, and that’s what we love about it because it allows us to be a lot more effective and helps us stretch our dollars a lot further but we love the traditional advertising as well, you know, billboards, television, radio things like that,” said Stacie Granum, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Visit Rapid City. “Every form of advertising has its place and can be really effective if it’s done right.”

For Black Hills Balloons, the most noticeable growth came in the past few years. The Custer-based company saw its online impressions soar from 2019 to 2020. Owners Keely and Damien Mahony bought the business in 2015.

Black Hills Balloons

“It’s just doubled, it’s more than doubled. We really fine tuned the online presence, we put social media out there,” said co-owner of Black Hills Balloons, Keely Mahony. “We were able to really boost it and get it out there to a few more people and the digital age really helps, ya know?”

Claire Scarborough with The Mammoth Site also works with the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Also seeing travel brochures fossilized, their creativity turned to active video streams, like TikTok, that brings people to their social media and website platforms.

“We’ve noticed that people really gravitate towards during this time is video, so we do a lot of live video shoots,” Scarborough said. “We also are trying to do more recorded video shoots because we find that people really enjoy getting to come here without actually having to leave their homes.”

Another pandemic induced response to a changing world.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Business, ConnectCenter1-Family, Local News, South Dakota News