Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau hopeful for summer tourism season – The Dickinson Press


DICKINSON — Though tourism departments across the country witnessed a drop in their numbers since the coronavirus pandemic hit in March of 2020, marketing teams are working on increasing traffic as the summer season approaches.

This week, Executive Director Terri Thiel of the Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau (DCVB) provided an annual report to the Dickinson City Commission on April 19 at City Hall, pointing out a positive slope in 2021.

“Obviously, we’ve had a pretty bumpy ride the last couple years — 2020 obviously. And then, (we were) trying to recover with 2021,” Thiel said. “We did see quite a few people coming back and of course, the national park wsa the No. 1 recreation spot along with a lot of our state parks that saw an unprecedented amount of people coming into those state parks with that.”

Due to local legislators and the recent Legislative session, Thiel noted that the state tourism department has been able to increase its marketing budget, which will in turn benefit visiting centers across North Dakota.

As chair of the North Dakota Travel Alliance Partnership, Thiel noted that the DCVB was involved in numerous bills and testimonies for the hospitality industry during the the North Dakota Legislative session. She added that it was a win for the North Dakota Tourism Division, as they received a one-time additional $7 million for marketing — which increased their budget from $10 million to $17 million.

In 2021, the DCVB team conducted a “refresh and redesign” of its logo. Target market for the DCVB’s tourism advertising goes into Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and other states in that eastern region.

“’Western Edge’ is what our branding has been since we’ve been incorporated. We added, ‘Western Edge of North Dakota,’ just a little bit of a different change with that. We created a complete guide to guide anybody who’s coming in and what we’re doing with fonts, pictures, colors, all of that,” Thiel said.

The DCVB marketing online advertising campaigns saw an overall increase in several platforms, including Google which had 89,247 engagements in 2021 compared to 311 in 2020. Other social media increases were YouTube at 89,247 engagements in 2021, compared to 74,088 in 2020; Twitter had 7,245 engagements in 2021, compared to 2020’s 4,367; and Instagram at 887 in 2021, up from 310 engagements in 2020.

The Badlands, pictured above, of North Dakota create a haven for adventurers and tourists from all across the United States and the world.

Contributed / Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau

In 2021, the DCVB’s Facebook engagements were at 128,119 — a decrease from 154,588 in 2020.

Thiel also remarked on the new online campaign — the Coffee Cruise — that was developed to drive visitors to the DCVB website. According to Thiel’s report, the Coffee Cruise interacts daily with coffee drinkers and local coffee shops along the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway and onto Medora — highlighting Dickinson as a key stop on the way. As part of this marketing campaign, the DCVB hosted contests to engage visitors and locals, providing additional content.

Other marketing tools include new maps locating Stark County cemeteries and ghost towns, history podcasts and travel guides.

Total web visits for the DCVB saw a spike in 2019, and that number was able to climb back up in 2021, Thiel said. Top locations for website traffic are Dickinson, Minneapolis, Chicago, Bismarck and Denver, respectively. The top referral for website traffic came from Facebook.

“We also have a demographic. It really runs even between male and female, but more on the female (side) — 25 to 34 years of age,” she said.

City of Dickinson Commissioner Nikki Wolla, left, and Kayla Kilwein at Salt Kitchen & Co., which is located in downtown Dickinson.

City of Dickinson Commissioner Nikki Wolla, left, and Kayla Kilwein at Salt Kitchen & Co., which is located in downtown Dickinson.

Contributed / Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Occupancy rate was at 43% in 2021, compared to 42.2% in 2020 and 56% in 2019. The average daily rate last year was $83.85; 2020 was $69.14 and $73.48 in 2019.

The top states who visited Dickinson, North Dakota, in 2021 were Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, California and Michigan, respectively.

“So (with) local events and meetings, we started to rebound. We still are working on a lot of meetings and conventions, but this year we’ve probably gotten a better uptick going into 2023 and a few more,” she said, adding that they do calendar listings, Facebook shares and weekly radio reports to inform the public and visitors of what’s happening.

Each year, the Dickinson City Commission budgets $50,000 that the DCVB administers in providing event assistance. In 2021, the center was able to provide media assistance for several events, such as the Badlands Art Show, PBR Bull Riding, the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce Harvest Festival and the 3rd Annual Winterfest. In total, the DCVB pledged $40,510 for 2021.

A young boy from a Dickinson baseball team throws a pass during a summer game.

A young boy from a Dickinson baseball team throws a pass during a summer game.

Contributed / Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau

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