Chiefs/St. Croix Web Sites Honored By Tourism Industry
November 20, 1998
Two Internet sites on tourism initiated by the University of Wisconsin-River Falls have received statewide recognition for their use of technology.
The Kansas City Chiefs Summer Training Camp and the Scenic St. Croix Valley on Tuesday (Nov. 17) were cited with a prestigious Trailblazer Award for Excellence in the Use of Technology by the Wisconsin Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. The award was presented in Eau Claire at the Wisconsin Department of Tourism Fall Conference.
The University was particularly pleased to receive the awards, said Mark Kinders, UW-RF Public Affairs Director and the marketing chair for the St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance.
"This award is a reflection of the educational and cooperative relationships between the University and the communities that comprise the St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance. Many people share in this award."
The Chiefs training camp site was through the collaborative efforts of the Office of Public Affairs and the Information Technology Services department. Five student interns and a recent graduate played a crucial role in designing the underlying technology for the Chiefs site, enhancing its graphic look, and providing the daily content that drew fans throughout the camp.
The students included Tim Buda of Rochester, Minn., Mary Mercord of Prescott, Teresa Kusske of Hastings, Minn., Jason Egerstrom of Columbia Heights, Minn., and Joe Barbey of River Falls. Graduate Mark Danielson of Two Rivers, Wis., redesigned the graphic appearance and interactivity of the Chiefs site.
During the 1998 camp, the site received 1.9 million hits on such pages as daily updates uploaded from the sidelines after each practice, team roster, practice schedule, training table menus, special events, feature stories, electronic guest book, and a Webcam that was used to upload more than 1,500 photos from the sidelines.
According to Kinders, the purpose was to create a compelling site by providing intensive information that far surpasses what any traditional media covering the camp could provide. This ability to look "inside" at information unavailable to mainstream media would provide a connection to motivate Chiefs and NFL fans to plan a trip to training camp.
The St. Croix Valley site was initially developed four years ago to assist Chiefs fans in visiting other events and attractions in the St. Croix Valley after attending team practices. Since then it has expanded dramatically to include a searchable database of amenities in the Valley to assist tourists to plan their visits year around, as well as a calendar of events, maps, and index of community attractions with links to tourism-related businesses that are on line.
Kinders credited the chamber and business association executives for the task of gathering and updating the volumes of information posted on the St. Croix Valley site.
"The data they have provided and updated would fill a very large 200-page book," Kinders said.
He noted the site experienced over 160,000 hits leading up to the camp. It also was used as an electronic ordering site for the Alliance's promotional packet, with thousands of visitors responding to the Alliance's and UW-RF's advertising and publicity efforts in the Midwest to draw tourists.
The St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance includes the Minnesota communities of Hastings, Afton, Lakeland, Bayport, Oak Park Heights, Lake Elmo, Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, Scandia, Center City and Taylors Falls.
Wisconsin communities include Prescott, River Falls, Hudson, Somerset, New Richmond, Dresser, Osceola, and St. Croix Falls.
The St. Croix Valley Alliance this year also was recognized as a Wisconsin Top 50 Rural Development Project and in 1997 shared in national recognition with UW-RF for economic development initiatives through a Silver Medal from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
The Chiefs have completed their eighth training camp at UW-RF and signed a contract extending their stay through the year 2001.
The Chiefs web site can be found at http://www.uwrf.edu/chiefs
The St. Croix Valley site can be found at http://www.uwrf.edu/scvrta
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