HELENA - Winter is coming and for many people, that means it's time to head outdoors to ski or snowboard.
The Montana Department of Commerce hopes to bring winter enthusiasts from across the country to Montana through its new winter tourism campaign.
Consumer Marketing Manager Raylee Honeycutt says folks of all ages who earn a household income of over $75,000 usually take at least one trip a year. Honeycutt sees each visitor as an opportunity.
"For every visitor that we bring into the state of Montana, ideally they're putting in about $82 into the economy for every dollar we spend," Honeycutt said. "So we want those individuals that are a little more affluent and willing to stay longer, to spend more money in our communities while they're here visiting Montana."
A $150,000 survey showed one of Montana's biggest competitors in attracting tourists is Colorado. The winter campaign is designed to exemplify Montana's winter ski and snowboarding opportunities.
"And tell them our terrain is as epic as Colorado," Honeycutt said. "We kind of have the whole package with great terrain, great hospitality, and the great experience when you're skiing."
By using the Wisconsin-based marketing firm Hoffman York, the Department of Commerce also partnered with Montana photographers and videographers to create new advertisements to attract tourists.
Not only will the new advertisements appear in magazines and online, but the campaign will have a larger presence on television. "Along with a couple of unique spots in the U.S. Olympic trials," Honeycutt said.
A new chat-bot, a computer program used to hold conversations in areas such as customer service, is also rolling out on social media.
"To allow us to provide more instant responses with our online communities and provide them with more information about how to get to Montana and what to do here," Honeycutt said.
For Honeycutt, the goal is the same across the board.
"To continue to tell the Montana story and help support the Montana economy and bring in those visitors in to share the treasure that we really do have," she said.
The winter campaign will run through mid-March of 2018 and then a warm season campaign will begin.