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Legendary Hospitality

Mission Statements: Department of Commerce - "To lead North Dakota's efforts to attract, retain, and expand wealth."

Tourism Division - "To create new wealth for North Dakota through increased spending by out-of-state visitors and to enhance the image of North Dakota."

YOU are Legendary-- Each year North Dakota hosts more than 16 million vacations and when visitors are surveyed about their trip in North Dakota they praise our friendly people.

Guestology - 1) Tourism is one of the leading industries in the state; 2) Tourism contributes 3.8 billion, or 29%, to the economic base; 3) Visitors spend an average of $204 per day per person in or near where they spend the night; 4) It is the fastest growing industry in the state; 5) Core tourism is the 4th largest private-sector employer in the state.

What Do Visitors Mean to You? Every 493 visitor creates a new job in North Dakota. Each visitor creates about $24 in tax receipts, $11 of which goes to state and local authorities. Each visitor generates $39 in wages to workers employed across an array of industries, and each visitor adds about $81 to the Gross State Product.

Tourism's Impact in North Dakota   -
30,240 jobs - 8.6% of the state's employment. Which relates to approximately $733 million in wages and salaries; Tourism generated $368 million in federal, state and local government taxes and if tourism didn't exist, each household would pay $636 more in taxes annually.

Resources - Know where your local information centers are located including the nearest visitor center, Chamber of Commerce, CVB, Tribal Headquarters or the community library. You can order complimentary ND Travel guides and maps from the ND Tourism Division who’s website www.ndtourism.com gets more than 400,000 visits per year.  The listings include: Attractions, Outdoor Adventure, Entertainment, Events, Accommodations, Travel Information, Vacation Packages and Education Vacations.

North Dakota Ambassadors - You may be working at a historic site or attractions, but visitor spending helps your entire neighborhood's businesses grow and keep people employed. Nearly 75% of our state's visitors travel by motorized vehicle. What they see of your community from the highway will invite them to stop or urge them to keep driving. So in planning: Look at your community with "visitor's eyes". Make the entrance to your town welcoming and enticing.  Offer a state where visitors can get maps, travel guides, and calendars of events 24/7. Make sure your local libraries are stocked with your historic sites information, travel guides and community calendars of events. "You don't sell the patch...you sell the quilt" No matter how special your site is, tell visitors about all of the things to see and do in the neighborhood. Sell the whole quilt - not just the "patch". Consider hosting a "local customer appreciation day". Invite local front-line-staff and community members to visit your site so they can help you "sell" your attraction. Waive admission fees for those who help cross-sell and promote your site.

First Impressions are Important - Is your attraction or site--- Well signed, clean, well-lit, well-maintained and open?   Are you “on stage” with- Appropriate dress, behavior, knowledge, skills and attitude?   Visitors to North Dakota typically stay for more than 5 days. Overnight visitors may spend up to three times more than day trippers. Welcome travelers and encourage them to stay an extra day in your area by offering them assistance. Suggest places to stay and places to eat. Offer a calendar of events, free travel guides and maps and day trip ideas and scenic drives.

When you give directions to a visitor keep these hints in mind A. People can only remember one or two directions at a time. B. Use a map or write down travel routes and landmarks. C. Give directions using existing landmarks. It doesn't help a visitor to be told its four blocks from a building that used to be there. D. Include, "You know you've gone too far if you get to...."

Remember that you can truly help your site or community if you invite visitors to –Stop, Spend, Recommend and return again and again!

Using the North Dakota Legendary Hospitality Training Program   --The North Dakota Department of Commerce Tourism Division has created this statewide Hospitality Program to help educate front-line service employees and volunteers about the impact and value their job has on retaining dollars in their community. Examples of front-line employees may be those in the hotel, food and transportation services, attractions and events sites, as well as many other jobs throughout the state.   This free program is available to everyone in the tourism industry and can be used for new employee or volunteer orientation programs, seasonal employees or as a refresher for those who have been with a business for a while.

This training kit includes the following:   --North Dakota Leader's Guide - The North Dakota Tourism Division wants to ensure that all tourism industry partners recognize how important their role is in their state and local economies. Keeping a visitor in the area or the state one day longer makes a significant impact in a community. This guide offers information on how business leaders can benefit by providing this training program for their employees and/or volunteers.

North Dakota Legendary Hospitality Training DVD - The DVD features the history, culture, experiences and attractions in North Dakota, as well as information about tourism-related resources and materials available to them, and tops for offering exceptional customer service. The training program is in a "chapter" format so it can be played continuously (approx. 120 minutes) or chapter by chapter which can be stopped and resumed as needed. The DVD can be viewed from a computer, on a projector for larger groups, or with a television and DVD player.

Legendary Hospitality Playbook - The Playbook is an accompanying guide designed to be used in conjunction with the DVD. Program participants should have a Playbook, a state map, and current North Dakota Travel Guide to use to help them follow along while viewing the DVD. If you need additional guides and maps, please contact your local Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitor Bureau or the North Dakota Department of Commerce Tourism Division.  Additional Playbooks may be printed from the North Dakota Tourism Division website: www.ndtourism.com and click on the "Industry" tab and the "Hospitality Training" menu options. Please contact the North Dakota Tourism Division at 800-435-5663 or e-mail: aschilling@nd.gov with any questions about your North Dakota Legendary Hospitality Training Kit.

Excerpts from Tourism Potential in North Dakota-with Emphasis on Southwest ND
Report information@  website: AgECON Research

This entire report, authored by Kathy Coyle under the supervision of Dr. William C. Nelson, was published September 1998 by the Agricultural Economics Department at North Dakota State University.

Copies may still be available by contacting the Bowman County Economic Development Office in Bowman, ND. Three counties in southwest ND: Bowman, Adams, and Slope; hired NDSU to research the possibilities. Tourism is the fastest growing industry in America, but at the time of this study, North Dakota spent the least to promote itself and earned the least from this growing industry.

International visitors to the US - The International Trade Administration publish statistics of foreign tourists in the US twice a year. The report, which is available on the ITA web site free of charge, indicates Japanese led the group of visitors to the United States in 1996.They represent 24% of our international visitors, the United Kingdom 14%, and Germany 9%. California is the number one destination followed by Florida, New York, and the Hawaiian Islands. International visitors to North and South Dakota were too few to measure by ITA standards. Minnesota had 266,000 and Montana 48,000 international visitors. The ITA survey does not include visitors from Canada and Mexico. Usually the visitor is traveling with a spouse (35% of them) or a friend or relative (32%). The travel party is made up of only adults (89% of them). They are in the US for leisure and recreation (76%), and 64% of them only visit one state. Most international travelers have been to the US before (68% are repeat visitors), and they average 8 nights in the country (median measurement). The international visitor spends about $2,000 US dollars enroute to the US but another $2,000 while here.  About one quarter of that total goes toward lodging and one quarter for gifts and souvenirs. Their favorite pastimes include: Favorite pastimes of international tourists to the US.

It is rare to find an international visitor with travelers checks (10%), instead they pay with a credit card 54% of the time or with cash (34%). Usually they are adult male (61%), about 41 years old, whose salary is nearly $77,000 a year (on average in US dollars). One third of the international travelers are professional/technical and nearly that many (27%) are managers or executives. Consequently, catering to the international traveler is much different than the Canadian or Fargo family that likes low/average cost fun together, outdoors, entertained by music, comedy and sports activities. The foreign visitor is a seasoned traveler, anxious to consume at shops and restaurants and see the bright lights and attractions of the metropolitan areas. What remains to be seen, however, is if rural America packages and promotes itself overseas, will their lists of favorite places change? Will visits to the countryside, villages, Native American communities, and ethnic sties increase?  International travel is America's largest export. In a sense the US is exporting fun. It ranks ahead of agricultural goods, chemicals and motor vehicles (Koth, 1991).

Public Tourism Survey in Fargo, summer 1998 - A survey of 7,000 people south of 32nd Avenue South in Fargo, North Dakota, produced an 8.7% return rate. Unlike national (Tourism, 1998) and international surveys, the 808 residents in and near Fargo who returned the survey, do not place shopping and bird watching high on their list of things to do while on vacation. Instead, they said viewing natural scenery is their favorite pastime.

Western North Dakota shows interest in natural beauty, camping, and unique adventures. According to these results, an ideal trip for a south Fargo resident may be a package vacation that includes lodging and horseback riding on a ranch, a balloon ride over the Badlands and/or National Grasslands, attending a cultural event, boating on Bowman-Haley Lake, and singing around an open campfire at day's end. Certainly there are other possibilities that can be extracted from the survey.

A package should be tailored for a couple or a family with youngsters if you want to appeal to the majority of potential tourists from south Fargo. Of the 808 people who responded to the survey, 13% of the respondents were single, 43% couples, 30% families with youngsters, and 14% were families with older children. Filtering can be done to this data in order to determine the characteristics of the person most interested in parachuting, ballooning, and other activities. Filtering can help you target your advertising to those potential tourists who are the most interested. Similar to national studies, south Fargo respondents say they are taking shorter vacations.

Most say they prefer to pay what they perceive as an average cost for accommodations and events (71%). Only 26% are looking for bargain prices, and 3% seek out luxury accommodations. Most people take one or two trips a year. Twenty-eight percent said one trip; 32% take 2 trips, 18% take 3 trips a year, and 22% listed a variety of other durations.   Two-thirds of the respondents were female, one-third male. Their ages were evenly divided between three age groups: 20 something, 30 something, and 40 something.  Each age group represented about a quarter of the respondents. The other 25% represented a variety of ages younger and older than the three dominate age groups. The favorite vacation spot for those surveyed was the Minnesota lakes area.

Of the 636 who indicated they had vacationed in western North Dakota, most were complimentary. Thirty-four percent circled “excellent" to describe their vacation west of Mandan, ND. Fifty-four percent said it was good; 10% rated it fair and 2% said it was poor. The response was almost even when asked if they would like to receive more vacation information about western ND. Some who said "no," indicated they had already received material from the ND Tourism Department. However, some had no interest.  The last question on the survey was open ended. It asked if the respondent had any suggestions for merchants and community leaders hoping to better serve the traveling public in North Dakota. The overwhelming response was "advertise!" Those people surveyed appear to be interested in their state, but many do not know what there is to do out west except attend the Medora musical. In fact with a few exceptions, Medora was the only attraction they reacted to. It was as if all of the other towns and activities don't exist! That finding brings us back to their strongest suggestion, market your communities and activities more effectively!  The favorite vacation pastimes include viewing natural scenery, camping/family outings, seeing historical sites and shopping.

Percentage of Information gathered on Residence of Travelers to the US- Western Europe – 41%; Asia 34%;
Japan – 24%; United Kingdom – 14%; South America 11%; Germany – 9%; Brazil – 4%; France – 4%;
South Korea – 3%; Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland – 2%; Venezuela, Argentina – 2%; Spain, Sweden – 1%

Reprinted with permission from source: Tourism Industries, International Trade Administration. 5/98

North Dakota Department of Tourism keeps statics and a profile of International Leisure Visitors to North Dakota and United States. Their office compiles reviews from vacation areas to shopping experiences. For more information please contact North Dakota Tourism @ www.ndtourism.com

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