Saturday, February 11, 2017

New Rapid City Regional Airport (KRAP) strategy seeks additional flights

The Rapid City Regional Airport is trying a new approach to increasing its business this spring, which officials hope will eventually add more flights.

A new digital marketing strategy was approved by the Airport Board of Directors this week to market the airport and the Black Hills as a destination to people in Chicago, Minneapolis and Dallas. 

This is the first time the airport has attempted to market to inbound traffic rather than outbound, said Toni Broom, deputy airport director for finance and administration.

In the past, the airport had winter campaigns in local media to stimulate outbound traffic.

"So this is a bit of a change for us," Broom said. 

The board approved the 2017 Spring Digital Strategy with Lawrence & Schiller, a Sioux Falls-based advertising agency, in the amount of $56,000 on Tuesday. 

It is a small part of a larger marketing plan for the airport, which will include a full analysis of data to determine final markets and target audiences for the next one to two years, according to a memo from airport executive director Patrick Dame to the airport board. 

It was approved ahead of the full plan because officials hope to make an impact this summer.

Data shows travelers typically book flights 45 to 55 days in advance, according to the memo. 

The Chicago and Minneapolis markets are already targeted by the South Dakota Department of Tourism, and the Dallas area "indexes high with our potential audiences," Dame said in the memo. 

"We chose those three for this particular campaign because we know the South Dakota Department of Tourism and other tourism entities are marketing heavily in Chicago and Minneapolis," Broom said. "Dallas also shows a high propensity of people who would come to the Black Hills."

Lawrence & Schiller will create a new home page for the airport. This is needed to direct travelers to an interactive, clean and professionally designed page where flights can be booked along with a complete Black Hills vacation package, Dame wrote. 

The airport is planning a website overhaul in the near future, and the new home page will be incorporated into that, he said. 

The media strategy will focus on introducing the option to fly to the Black Hills while communicating the benefits of flying. The markets are recommended based on current inbound airport traffic, market population and driving distance to Rapid City. 

The target audience is families that are active, affluent and spend time outdoors. They will also target active empty nesters. 

The campaign will run until early April.  

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