History of IOGA Group Marketing Efforts
The Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association (IOGA) group marketing program is focused on raising additional awareness of Idaho as a destination for quality guided outdoor adventures. The primary goal of IOGA marketing is to drive inquiries for guided adventures to IOGA outfitter members. Tourism is Idaho’s third largest industry and the Idaho outfitter and guide industry represents the largest segment of the outdoor recreation portion of the Idaho tourism industry.
The IOGA was one of many organizations that supported legislation to establish Idaho Department of Commerce in 1982 along with the resultant tourism promotion grant program that is funded with approximately one half of the total 2 % “bed” tax that is collected on each lodging night. IOGA estimates that there are approximately 70 outfitter businesses statewide that provide lodging to visitors and therefore collect the 2 % tax. IOGA has competed for and been successful in garnering an Idaho Travel Council (ITC) grant each year since the program was established for the purpose of promoting awareness of the diverse Idaho outfitting and guiding industry. Per ITC grant rules, IOGA qualifies (non-profit status with a tourism industry focus) for the ITC competitive grant program. The average size of an IOGA ITC grant award is $50,000.
By ITC grant rules, each grant applicant must have a 10% match for each dollar awarded. The IOGA match has been garnered through the sale of ads to outfitters for the State Travel Guide. IOGA is one of several multi-regional grantees, meaning that IOGA has member outfitters in all seven ITC regions.
The IOGA ITC grant request is generally due in April with a final draft due in early June. The ITC staff reviews the grant in early June and recommends clarification, if needed. Awards are made in late July/early August by the ITC, which consists of eight members appointed by the Governor. Several outfitters have served multiple terms on the ITC.
It was common during the 1980s and early 1990s for some of the IOGA ITC grant funds to be used to support volunteer association members to attend sport and travel shows around the country to promote the industry. IOGA has also had a presence at major wildlife conservation organization annual shows. Another common grant element of IOGA group promotion has been placement of ads in popular hunting, fishing and adventure travel magazines.
Several research projects have been partially funded utilizing ITC grant funds including a 1987 economic impact study done by graduate student Jake Lansche of Idaho State University. In 1993/94 another economic impact study was completed by Stuart Leidner and Ed Krumpe of the University of Idaho. Support for this research effort came from both ITC grant funds and the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. Other cooperators were the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board and the U.S. Forest Service. Separate and subsequent market research was completed in the late 1990s and 2000. Summary copies of these research projects are available by contacting the IOGA office.
Since 1991, the IOGA has had a partnership with the Idaho Department of Commerce Idaho Travel Council to sell ads for the Guided Outdoor Adventures section of the State Travel Guide. Printing and distribution of the “reprint”, the annual IOGA Directory, has been funded through the ITC grant. All licensed outfitters, IOGA member or not, are listed in the annual IOGA Directory. All licensed outfitters are eligible to purchase an ad in the annual State Travel Guide and/or the reprint of the Guided Outdoors Adventures section which is the annual IOGA Directory. It should be noted that the IOGA has had a Directory since at least 1961.
Between 1994 and 2001, IOGA utilized consultant services to coordinate the IOGA Marketing Program. The consultant utilized membership input to write and implement a marketing plan that was tied directly to the IOGA ITC grant program. Beginning in 2001the IOGA executive director assumed marketing coordination responsibilities with the assistance of the IOGA office manager and membership input.
Since 1995, grant funds have been used to have a presence on the Internet at www.ioga.org. Grant funds have been used each year since to refine the IOGA website. Blogs, press releases and industry e-newsletter bulletins are produced routinely and placed on the website and IOGA’s Facebook page.
ITC grant funds were used during the summer of 2004 to co-sponsor Kid Outdoors on a national cable sportsmen channel. Kid Outdoors was an Idaho produced 30 minute television show focused on kids and professionals, such as outfitters and guides, enjoying outdoor recreation experiences together.
In summary, the IOGA group promotion program is constantly evolving. For more information, contact the IOGA office at 208.342.1438.