Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tourism Efforts Lure Travelers, Dollars

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tourism Efforts Lure Travelers, Dollars

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department is claiming victory in efforts to entice travelers and their dollars to the state.

Tourism advertising efforts generated more than $147 million in travel revenue for the state's economy during 1998, the department reported on Monday.

A study showed that every $1 invested in tourism advertising by the state yielded $15.99 in travel expenditures. The report for the Tourism and Recreation Department by Strategic Marketing & Research of Indianapolis concluded that the advertising campaign had a strong overall performance. "Any investor would be thrilled with a return on investment of $16 to $1," said Kathleen Marks, director of the Oklahoma Travel and Tourism Division, which is the marketing branch of the Tourism Department. "That money translates into jobs and tax revenue to fund state services for Oklahomans, such as education," she said. Projected state spending this year to advertise tourism attractions totals $3.9 million. Information from the study's 1,945 telephone interviews with people who responded to the ads during 1998 will now be used to fine tune the campaign. Findings from the study will be used by the division and its advertising agency, Ackerman McQueen, to make marketing and advertising decisions, such as which markets and mediums are the most cost effective, Marks said. The cost to convert one inquirer to a visitor during 1998 was $25, down from $34 in 1994, the last year an advertising effectiveness study was conducted. Visitors spend an average of $483 during their trip to Oklahoma, according to the study. Overnight visitors spend $541 while day trippers spend $197. In addition to the $147 million generated in 1998, the study also measured the impact of people who responded to ads in 1998 but did not plan to visit the state until 1999. This impact totaled $16.3 million. The 1999 tourism advertising campaign features Oklahoma in more than 35 national, regional and international magazines, 18 television markets, newspapers, billboards and the Internet, Marks said. Some magazine ads have been running since January and the broadcast schedule started Feb. 15. "Research shows that many people begin to plan for their summer trips in February and March," she said. The department has already received 15,000 responses to the television ads. Traveler expenditures in Oklahoma totaled $3.2 billion annually and result in 62,000 jobs, Marks said Money for the ads comes from a promotion tax of 0. …

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