Montana tourism marketing stays flexible after big 2017 fire season

going on special assignment given the unpredictable nature of Montana’s wildfire seasons the state’s tourism industry can never be certain with that will that challenge increase those experts predict hotter summers and bigger fires and years to come as MTN’s Dennis Bragg finds out state tourism marketing is rolling with the punches and tweaking both the message and help for businesses it’s the summer Seeley Lake would like to forget with the biggest fire of the year burning 160,000 acres next door and other fires pumping in smoke it was miserable in the sealy Swan and not just for tourism and businesses that we didn’t expected to affect heat that we had to quilter and see the lake that’s like yeah and to get rid of a lot of my stock because it just smell the smoke and all these impacts it they’re just compounding of one pop on top of another it fetched not only a tourist but also Montana and spending money in their communities and neighboring communities as well which is a is a big piece of Montana summer and summer spending researchers estimate more than eight hundred thousand visitors didn’t come to Montana last year with the state losing as much as a quarter of a billion dollars yet there was a silver lining and all those clouds of smoke and though it seems like the perception was the whole state was on fire we actually did see a growth in visitor spending by 11 percent and we saw record-breaking years at their presentation at Glacier National Park so though I know there was a cute local impacts on a statewide level we did really well and I’m pleased to see that our tourism economy is so strong they were able to actually sustain growth during a challenging season the question is what’s going to happen in 2018 is the state’s marketing going to take a hit in the long run maybe not we did see what within our surveys that visitors are quite resilient like yeah it was bad this year but I don’t expect it to be bad next year it’s not going to really affect my decision-making yet the concern is if this becomes a year for year after year thing you know how do we then adjust our our marketing to me it’s about memory building and really capturing what we can experience together as a family that’s where the age of big data makes a difference in the commerce department is all about using the research and staying nimble we’ve switched more to digital behavioral demographic sort of targeting which gives us a luxury that when something pops up like this we can turn off certain as turn on different ones target different people in different areas additionally the Commerce Department helps suffering communities last year pumping in dollars for emergency marketing and business operations which is now a permanent program businesses that were a risk of going out of business or had gone out of business and we’re trying to get back into operation we were able to provide a small grant of up to $5,000 to help with things such as inventory or getting payroll covered or getting Montanans back to work there’s a framework in place this emergency support framework and the goal is that it is seamless in the event that there is a natural disaster man-made disaster we’re there and we’re able to assist right away while the 2017 numbers are worrisome palay says Montana has a long history of adapting well whether it’s a fire season or changes in gas prices or we have a low snow year like we are always dealing with variables that are out of our control so no matter what what what the season is or what the variable that’s being thrown at us we’re constantly monitoring that and seeing what the impact is on our audience and adjusting our strategies and our targeting accordingly on special assignment Dennis Bragg MTN news and despite the fires Montana leads the way with its tourism marketing in fact Dennis tells us right now state officials are being consulted by other states like Washington they

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