Meeting Planning through Friendly Competition & Community-Based Tourism

Visit Rapid City gives planning professionals one of the most unique and involving site visit experiences, championing community connections throughout it all.

Many planning professionals need firsthand familiarization with a destination to believe it will best fit their groups. This was the sparking thought behind one of Visit Rapid City’s most successful meetings & conventions tourism initiatives to date: The Amazing Rush.

Inspired by the reality tv series The Amazing Race, The Amazing Rush is a competition-based FAM (familiarization) trip that takes place throughout South Dakota’s Rapid City and the Black Hills – typically during National Travel & Tourism Week.

Teams of chosen competitors (including meeting planners, sports planners and travel trade professionals) embark on a multi-day experience with Visit Rapid City (the city’s CVB), exploring the destination’s local community and meeting offerings through stops and adventures that include bucket list attractions, breathtaking scenery and unexpected spaces. 

For six ‘seasons’ and counting, the CVB and their meetings marketing agency, Digital Edge, have taken the idea of FAMs and site visits and spun them into the ultimate experience for business event specialists – and that’s just scratching the surface.

“When you’re a smaller destination with such a strong community and so much to offer planning professionals and groups, it can be challenging to get a real feel for that,” explains Mya Surrency, Co-Founder at Digital Edge Marketing. Though Rapid City is a smaller destination, the impacts of this annual competition have been BIG. Not only has the number of planner participation increased every season, but community participation has as well.

Stewards of the Community

Because of The Amazing Rush, planning professionals can experience how their meetings will come to life and be valuable in Rapid City. Throughout the competition, local shop and venue owners, restaurateurs, artists, and other community members are involved and help impart the relevance and importance of the city’s heritage, culture and local connections in meetings.

Destination management and stewardship have become core values for many CVBs. Visit Rapid City’s initiatives to support further these local connections have helped create stronger ties within the community and boosted the overall awareness of how amazing smaller destinations like Rapid City, SD, are.

Takeaways, Tips & Insights

1. Think outside the box and give smaller destinations a try.
Large destinations may be the first choices to cross your mind when you think of finding a city to host your next meeting, but like you, other planning professionals are thinking of some of those same locations. Be unconventional and give smaller destinations a try. There are many small host cities out there—like Rapid City—that are waiting to make a BIG impression on you.

2. Visit the destination to see the possibilities.
While researching and emailing CVB teams online can help you determine if a city is right for your meeting, nothing can replace getting the experience in real life. By visiting the destination, you can get a feel of the area, take a look at venues in person, work directly with the local CVB to receive customized services, and get to know the local businesses that are the roots and bedrock of a destination.

3. Check out testimonials from other planners.
During the selection process for finding a host destination for your event, be sure to read testimonials and get feedback from other planners who have held meetings in locations you are considering. These reviews can give you additional insight into these cities and help you make a more informed decision.

Your Expert Meeting Planning Team

Connect with Visit Rapid City to bring your next event to South Dakota’s “Gateway to the Black Hills.” 

Reach Out to Visit Rapid City Directly