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June 16, 2014 10:30 PM

Attracting More People To Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls, SD

From the variety of shops on Phillips Avenue to the growing number of restaurants and hotels, the city of Sioux Falls has a lot to offer potential businesses and conventions.

But even with those attractions, selling the city isn't easy. That's why the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau follows a business strategy that's proven to be successful.

"A conference call has never ended like a hand shake. That's why we go to Washington, D.C. It's face to face," Executive Director for the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau Teri Schmidt said.

Schmidt and her sales staff make the week-long trip every year.

"The reason why we go to Washington, D.C., is because they have more national headquarters and organizational headquarters than any other place in the country," Schmidt said.

They share images to show that Sioux Falls is a premier event destination. Schmidt admits it takes time and dedication to build up a relationship.

"It doesn't always happen where the first year they will automatically say 'Yes. I want to bring my regional meeting there.' Rather, it's a three to five year process where we do follow up, follow up, follow up," Schmidt said.

Last October, all of those follow-ups paid off when Sioux Falls hosted a conference involving travel planners from 35 states.

"And that's where it started back in Washington, D.C.  We had some time together and took it from there and we were able to have a successful conference. We brought in 250 people to Sioux Falls and gave them great exposure to the destination," President & CEO of Group Travel Family Joseph Cappuzzello said

South Dakota's largest city made a good first impression.

"Most of them never experienced Sioux Falls, let alone South Dakota. They were blown away by the hospitality, and they knew they would be taken care of. We would give them the highest recommendation to anyone asking us to bring their meetings to Sioux Falls, South Dakota," Cappuzzello said.

When a conference is booked, the benefits go beyond the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"It's a win, win for everyone. Of course the hotels do benefit but it will give an immediate return back to the community with more dollars, so that goes right into a pot of money to grow more events. It's sales tax dollars and it's retail.  It's gas stations and restaurants and it's marketing," Ramkota General Manager Jan Grunewaldt said.

"The real plus for us is that we are in the middle of the country.  We're economical.  We have the facilities; we're easy to get to and there's a passion and a real fire in the belly to bring that business to Sioux Falls," Schmidt said.

A city with leaders who strive to bring more people to the area and a successful plan in place.

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