Marketing efforts looked at as trustees pin down next move with ordinance

By Jeff Smith


It’s all about tourism and how to improve it in Keystone. A couple of trustees with the Keystone town board want to make sure getting visitors to Keystone is done as effectively as possible.

At the last Keystone town board an ordinance discussion took place. The plan was to revise it to say that the town board shall retain 100 percent of the Bed, Board and Booze (BBB) tax to be distributed under the guidelines of the Municipal Tax Guide for Municipal Officials.

The issue of the ordinance was tabled on Oct. 4. According to trustee Rick Brandfas, they are still looking for a clear direction before going forward with something.

2011 was the last time the ordinance was revised. Communities in the Black Hills can choose to use the money for any type of purpose they see fit.

According to South Dakota codified law, the tax shall be levied for the purpose of land acquisition, architectural fees, construction costs, payments for civic center, auditorium or athletic facility buildings, and the promotion and advertising of the city, its facility, attractions, and activities. Not many communities have the same ordinance that Keystone has now. In addition to 50 percent of the funds from the BBB going to the Chamber of Commerce, the money is also used for the Keystone Historical Society, the Keystone Community Center, extra fund for ADA requirements, youth fund, promotional fund for Keystone and land acquisition.

The Keystone Chamber of Commerce was given $111,611 for the 2017 budget. For next year the Chamber of Commerce will receive $119,596 with the money from this year’s BBB tax. 

Brandfas said that he wants the Town of Keystone to have control of the money and have the Keystone Chamber of Commerce be more accountable.

“We want to move as quickly as possible to a resolution,” Brandfas said.

In a written statement, Keystone Chamber of Commerce executive director Temple Estrada said Keystone will succeed when the chamber and the city work in harmony with each other.

Brandfas said people might have felt changing the ordinance was personal. It was not against the businesses, as Brandfas said there are around 350 other people in Keystone that the town board needs to look out for, too. He said money also is needed for the cemetery, parks, restrooms and sidewalks.

Clay King, general manager at the Presidential Wax Museum, thought that the meeting on Oct. 4 was good in that it opened the door for more communication. He said a door had to opened before fixing concerns or changing what is spent.

King is the chair of the marketing committee for the Keystone Chamber of Commerce.

“The marketing committee provides a second set of eyes for marketing and advertising for Temple Estrada,” King said.

King also said the nine  board member for the Keystone Chamber of Commerce all have different talents and there is a wide range of different businesses represented.

The marketing committee provides the big, higher direction for marketing and graphic design that the chamber does.Their recommendations are based on research.

“We converge as a marketing committee to spend some time to find what the best approaches are,” King said.

The best place for digital and print advertisements is a large part of what they seek out.

At the meeting on Oct. 4, a discussion of how communities track their success of bringing visitors to the town was brought up.

Michelle Thomson, president/ CEO of the Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association, said a lot of communities will gauge their sessions on a website. They can watch for communities that they are advertising and see if what they are doing is being effective.

Thomson said marketing is really important to bringing people to the Black Hills.

“There is a lot of communities throughout the Black Hills that is doing tourism promotion to make sure visitors go into their city,” Thomson said.

She noted that having use of the Bed, Booze and Board tax is essential in bringing in more visitors which in turn increases the sales tax.

She warned about defunding tourism.

“The dollars spent marketing for tourism has huge return,” Thomson said.

King said with Google Analytics people can actively see people coming in and out of a website.

After initially reaching out to an audience the Keystone Chamber of Commerce will be able to advertise specifically to certain demographics or who the ad resonates with.

When they see that there is a trend of the same kind  of people, as an example, a person with a family of four with two to three children then that ad is working.

The chamber can also employ a tactic called retargeting. Retargeting is when digital ads bounce around websites as people use the Internet.

This happens for the Keystone Chamber of Commerce primarily at times people are planning their vacations, January, February and March.