Western Minnesota Prairie Waters staff is looking back at the summer and fall travel season, as plans for 2013 are well underway.
As we plan for 2013, our key objectives continue to be maximizing our budget; working with partners at local chambers, tourism boards, city staff, and elected officials of Region 6W; tourism partners like Explore Minnesota Tourism and Southern Minnesota Tourism Association; marketing the region in both traditional and new media; and education about all the region has to offer and the impact and importance of tourism.
Some of our accomplishments in 2012 include:
- Advertising campaign
Each year, Prairie Waters writes a grant to Explore Minnesota Tourism (EMT) to pay for 50% of our advertising (up to $4,000). In 2012, Prairie Waters has placed ads with local newspapers, Outdoor News, Midwest Living, Minnesota Off-road, ATVentures, Explore Southern Minnesota Guide, South Dakota Magazine and AAA Living. We have also done online ads and email marketing.
- Biking in the Prairie Waters Region
We collaborated with Have Fun Biking to promote biking in the Prairie Waters region. Have Fun Biking prints an annual guide and maintains a website with maps showing bike trails, routes for road biking, and low-traffic roads that are suitable for biking.
- Visitor Guide distribution
Our advertising leads to many requests for more information about the region. We get requests via our website, our toll-free phone number, and from advertising partners. Staff compiles packets containing the requested information, which most often consists of the Prairie Waters Visitors Guide; the Antiques, Unique Shops, Dining & Lodging Guide; the Have Fun Biking Guide; and a calendar of events. We also include more specific topical information as requested, as well as maps and individual city information.
- Annual Gathering
Our 2012 Annual Gathering was held at the Appleton Area Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park on July 25. Many guests were given a 4×4 ride through the OHV Park by a local 4×4 enthusiast, and it was a great opportunity for the Prairie Waters Board and Staff to get first-hand knowledge of the OHV park. Guests were treated to a picnic-style meal of brats and hot dogs as well as a door prize drawing, with prizes donated and collected by board members from businesses around the region.
- Regional Website
We manage a regional website which gets over 100,000 hits annually. It’s a very useful website for those traveling to our region and contains information on where to stay, what to do, a calendar of events, and more.
We also have a Facebook page that allows us immediate access to “fans” of Prairie Waters where we can post announcements, photos, and upcoming events. We currently have over 1,100 fans that we market to with weekly updates, photos, and links to stories about the region.
We would like to thank our county, city and business members for their financial support and a collaborative spirit that enables us to continue the Prairie Waters mission of promoting the region as a great place to visit, work, and live. When we work together, we can accomplish so much more!
Western Minnesota Prairie Waters is a regional tourism program supported by the counties of Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Swift; the cities of Appleton, Benson, Clara City, Dawson, Granite Falls, Hanley Falls, Madison, Marietta, and Milan; and area business members.
For more information on Western Minnesota Prairie Waters, please visit our website at www.PrairieWaters.com; our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PrairieWaters; or call toll-free 1-866-866-5432.