Tourism Marketing Shifts Keep Oklahoma’s Tourism Reach Strong

Following is a column by Oklahoma Tourism Department Executive Director Deby Snodgrass outlining Oklahoma Tourism’s advertising efforts. 

The most recent numbers tracking consumer interest in Oklahoma as a travel destination are decidedly trending upward. Visitation to TravelOK.com, our main information and marketing tool for Oklahoma tourism, is at an all time high. Brochure orders through the website continue to break all previous records.  Read More

TravelOK.com Reaches #4!

Quantcast.com, a firm that tracks and measures visitation to the top million websites in the U.S., ranked TravelOK.com as the 4th most visited state tourism website in the country for June.  According to Quantcast, TravelOK.com had an average monthly traffic of 232,300 and an average number of page views of 6.57 in June – which is a close second behind VisitMaine.com’s 6.58. TravelOK.com consistently ranks among the top 10 most visited tourism websites in the nation, but this is the highest Quantcast.com ranking to-date.

Other TravelOK.com Statistics/News:
• Increased the percentage of out-of-state users on TravelOK.com by 16% in June 2012 compared to June 2011.

• During the month of June there were 428,035 visitor sessions on TravelOK.com and 2,075,331 page views on the site.  This was the first time TravelOK.com has exceeded 400,000 user sessions in a single month, breaking the all-time monthly visits record for the site.  July visitor sessions reached 472,292, an increase of 89% over July 2011 with an average session count per day of 15,235.

• Are you on Pinterest, a content sharing service that allows members to "pin" images, videos and other objects to their virtual pinboard?  If so, please follow TravelOK.com.  TravelOK’s Pinterest page had 425 people following all of our boards by the end of June, up from 343 in May.

Lake Safety/Blue Green Algae Campaign Generates Response

More than 52,000 people have visited the new CheckMyOKLake.com website in response to an in-state television campaign and public relations effort to let Oklahomans know about the new resource.  The television campaign, produced by OTRD, began running in-state in early July.  The ad message reminds people to follow three important water safety practices - wear a life jacket, drink responsibly around water and learn to recognize Blue Green Algae. An in-state newspaper campaign is also underway.

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department developed the CheckMyOKLake website which allows the public to check recreational water quality at Oklahoma lakes and rivers and provides educational information related to blue-green algae levels.  The website and educational effort is the result of legislation (Senate Bill 259) signed by Governor Mary Fallin, which establishes the first statewide policy for response to outbreaks of toxic blue-green algae blooms in Oklahoma’s recreational bodies of water. The legislation takes steps to protect both public health and Oklahoma’s rural economies that are dependent on tourism from the state’s lakes and rivers.

Discover Oklahoma Wins 2012 “Telly” Award

AAA Discover Oklahoma television show Executive Producer Shel Wagner and Videographer/Editor Tommy Evans were recipients of a national bronze 2012 Telly Award for “Outstanding TV Segment” for their segment on genealogical tourism. The winning episode aired on the October 29 Discover Oklahoma broadcast and took viewers on a journey with Shel as she uncovered her family roots in Cement, Oklahoma.

The Telly Award is the premier honor for outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, web commercials, videos and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world. 

The Discover Oklahoma episode competed with entries that also produced travel-themed television shows such as the Discovery Channel, History Channel and Turner Studios.  With nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, the 2012 Telly Awards was one of the most successful and competitive in the history of the Telly Awards, according to organizers.

OTRD Executive Director Addresses Enid Regional Development Alliance’s Annual Meeting

Executive Director Deby Snodgrass lauded the importance of tourism to Oklahoma’s economy in a recent keynote presentation at the annual meeting of Enid’s Regional Development Alliance.   Click here to read the resulting newspaper article in the Enid News and Eagle.

2013 Tourism Event Info Needed

TravelOK.com is gathering information for 2013 Oklahoma festivals and events.  The interactive team has mailed survey forms to more than 1,000 event organizers calling for submission of 2013 events for placement on the website.  Having a listing on TravelOK.com can significantly increase exposure for Oklahoma tourism events among the traveling public and media. To submit your community’s or organization’s event, go to online event form.

Oklahoma State Park News

Summer visitation is steady at Oklahoma’s state parks for the summer.  June was the seventh consecutive month that revenue topped $1 million for the system.  In an effort to continue to improve Oklahoma’s state park system, there are many construction projects underway including updated campgrounds and construction of a new nature center at Lake Murray State Park near Ardmore.   At Beavers Bend State Park near Broken Bow, construction is being completed on fishing platforms at the bridges in the Riverbend Area.  The platforms will soon be available and will be totally accessible (ADA compliant) for use by all anglers.

PIKEPASS Available at Two Tourism Information Centers

The Oklahoma City Tourism Information Center located at NE 122nd Street and I-35 is in the process of finalizing an agreement with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to establish a full-service PIKEPASS  counter at the facility. The counter will be staffed seven days a week and will result in OTA covering a significant amount of the Oklahoma City TIC’s operating costs.  Currently two Tourism Information Centers – OKC and Miami – sell the PIKEPASS to travelers.  The decision to become a PIKEPASS service center came from the many requests from travelers stopping at the facilities. PIKEPASS is the Electronic Toll Collection System developed and implemented for the Oklahoma Turnpike System and provides totally automated, free-flow travel on all Oklahoma Turnpikes at highway speeds, eliminating the need for motorists to stop and pay tolls. PIKEPASS service at the TICS located along toll roads increases traffic to the facilities and provides additional opportunities to promote Oklahoma’s tourism attractions to travelers.

June/July Visitation Up for TIC System

Visitation to Tourism Information Centers located on major interstates was up 21.33% this June over May 2012.  In addition, June 2012 visitation was up 11.12% over June 2011.  For July, overall visitation for the TIC system was 227,755, up 2.3% over July 2011.

Consumer and Group Marketing Activities

OTRD’s Consumer and Group Marketing team ensures Oklahoma tourism is promoted at relevant consumer travel-related shows and to the group tour marketing.
The Consumer and Group Marketing section attended the Travel Alliance Partners (TAP) Dance in Shreveport, LA in June.  Travel Alliance Partners, LLC is a partner-owned organization of the 33 premier tour operators in the United States and Canada. Each is a regional expert with new and unique itineraries. This is an invitation only show and Oklahoma was able to have valuable one-on-one time with the TAP members. Other Oklahoma industry partners attending included Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chickasaw Nation and Cherokee Nation.
In addition, Oklahoma was represented at the Kansas City Just For Her Expo, May 31-June 2.  Participating industry partners included: Green Country, Norman CVB, Chickasaw Country/Nation, Pine Lodge Resort, Great Plains Country, Edmond CVB, Ponca City Tourism, Muskogee Chamber of Commerce, Miami CVB and Tenkiller Lake Association.  The attendance at this show was estimated between 10,000 and 12,000.

Oklahoma also participated in the Red Hat International Convention, June 28-July 1 in Shreveport, LA.  Industry partners attending in addition to OTRD were Ponca City Tourism, Oklahoma City CVB, Chickasaw Country/Nation, Norman CVB, Great Plains Country, OKC National Memorial, Frontier Country and Miami CVB.  Attendance at the show was approximately 2,000 and OTRD distributed about 1,600 brochures.

Oklahoma Today Magazine Wins National Award

Oklahoma Today Executive Editor Steffie Corcoran and Oklahoma photographer Shane Brown were awarded a national Wilbur Award for the story “The Brothers of Clear Creek” which ran in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Oklahoma Today magazine. The Wilbur Awards are presented annually in nine categories by the Religion Communicators Council, Inc. These national awards recognize excellence in communicating religious issues, values, and themes in the public media.

On another note, don’t miss the September/October issue of Oklahoma Today which will be mailed to subscribers in August.  The issue features five storied high school football rivalries, home school sports, Jim Thorpe, and much more!