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South Dakota Office of Tourism enhances online services

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PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Office of Tourism recently enhanced its consumer Internet site,, making it easier for users to arrange travel plans online.

Enhancements include:

• A mobile-friendly Web site,

• Embedded booking engine.

• South Dakota Sportsmen Community.

“In a world where online services and information are in high demand, we knew we had to make changes to provide more convenient travel planning experiences for our visitors,” said Richard Benda, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development.

The mobile-friendly Web site makes it easier for people to access South Dakota travel information while on the road. The format is easier to read on mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs. The site includes access to South Dakota’s travel directory, which contains city listings in South Dakota, as well as businesses and services in the visitor industry.

The addition of a new booking engine within allows the Web site to act as a one-stop shop for visitors. Travelers to South Dakota can research, plan, and book their vacations all from a single location on the Web.

Those who hunt or fish in South Dakota can now share photos in the South Dakota Sportsmen Community. Visitors may also comment on other hunters’ photos and post stories about their hunts in South Dakota.

As the Office of Tourism continues to improve ways of providing convenient online experiences for potential visitors, usability studies were used to test the function of the main consumer Web site. Internet visitors were selected at random to undergo live tests of the site and were asked questions about its ease of use.

“Each of these enhancements adds additional value to our visitors’ experiences,” said Melissa Bump, director of the South Dakota Office of Tourism. “Additionally, by asking the users of our Web site to tell us their likes and dislikes, we can make better decisions regarding the future of the site and the changes that need to be made.”

The Office of Tourism is currently analyzing the results of the usability study to determine the enhancements that are still needed.

The online improvements are part of Goal 1 of the 2010 initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota.