Visit Montana Receives Mercury Award for Eastern Montana Tourism Campaign

Riding Bikes at Makoshika State Park MONTANA – The Montana Department of Commerce announced today that Visit Montana, the state’s tourism marketing program that showcases content and photography to inspire visitation to Montana, received a Mercury Award from the U.S. Travel Association for their work on the 2019 Eastern Montana Initiative tourism campaign. The "Road Less Traveled" award was presented to Visit Montana at the Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) in Los Angeles.

Mercury Awards are presented by the Travel Association to recognize members for excellence and creative accomplishments in state and territory destination marketing and promotion through showcasing outstanding work, the continued development of imaginative, exciting marketing and inspirational promotional programs.

“Montana's Eastern Montana Initiative showcased an amazing area outside of Montana's traditional "tourist trail" and highlights the beauty, history and the people of the eastern side of the state,” said Commerce Director Scott Osterman. “It is recognition like this that will help Montana’s tourism industry grow and thrive and we are very proud of our staff and tourism partners for all of the work and effort put into this initiative.”

The Eastern Montana Initiative was developed to help balance tourism visitation throughout the state. Glacier and Yellowstone national parks as well as cities and regions in the Western half of the state continue to experience increased visitation and bed tax revenue while revenues in the Eastern regions has historically trended downward. In an effort to reverse this trend, the Office of Tourism and Business Development, in partnership with tourism organizations and stakeholders, developed the initiative to improve the economic impact of tourism in specific counties and draw tourists away from areas of the state that experience overcrowding during the summer.

The priority of the initiative was to inform and educate audiences about Eastern Montana experiences. The goals and objectives for the program included to position Eastern Montana for sustained success, redistribute visitor population across the state, build awareness of Eastern Montana’s tourism offerings, increasing visitation, sustain investment in tourism infrastructure, product development and promotion and create a grant program to specifically support Eastern Montana.

The campaign effectively used video ads featuring a dinosaur experience video, display ads promoting articles on Indian Country, Eastern Montana road trips and bird hunting. The campaign placed banner ads that showcased the Montana Dinosaur Trail. In addition, social media carousel ads were created touting the breadth of experiences and family-focused adventures. The campaign also created a dedicated landing page on VISITMT.COM for Eastern Montana activities.

The initiative resulted in a 17 percent increase of arrivals to the region and increased bed tax collections in Eastern Montana while adding higher visibility through increased website and social media traffic. In addition, Makoshika State Park had a record 45,000 visitors in the summer of 2019, with June seeing its highest volume of visitors ever.

Tags: Office of Tourism and Business Development