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UM News
July 02, 2012

MISSOULA –

The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at The University of Montana and the Governor-appointed Tourism Advisory Council recently won the J. Desmond Slattery Professional Marketing Award at the annual international conference of the Travel and Tourism Research Association.

The award recognizes collaboration between the TAC and UM’s tourism institute in creating a user-friendly and publically available interactive website.

The Travel and Tourism Research Association, the premier international organization for blending research findings with practice in the tourism field, gave the award on June 19 in Virginia Beach, Va.

“It is an honor to win this award and to be recognized internationally as leaders in bridging the gap between tourism research and the tourism industry,” said Norma Nickerson, ITRR director. “The Tourism Advisory Council’s Research Committee was instrumental in making this interactive website happen. The collaboration between industry needs and University research has been an exciting path to travel.” 

The “Customize Your Report” webpage allows users to manipulate data to answer their specific questions about nonresident visitors to Montana. 

“The ‘Nonresident Report Builder’ and ‘Travel Trends’ tool, particularly with its readily accessible and configurable format, has helped inform and guide our strategic planning process and is used to help measure the effectiveness of our efforts,” said Katy Peterson, consumer marketing manager at the Montana Office of Tourism.  

 “The report builder gives even the smallest business an in-house research department,” said Rhonda Fitzgerald, owner of the Garden Wall Inn in Whitefish and chair of the Tourism Advisory Council. “We have used this feature to generate reports for purposes ranging from urban planning, to resource conservation, to marketing.” 

“While we have long relied on research material from ITRR to develop our business plans and marketing plans, the new ‘Report Builder’ feature on the ITRR website has made it easier for me to develop feasibility studies for new hotels,” said Bill McGladdery, director of hotel operations for Town Pump and chair of the Tourism Advisory Council’s research committee.

The Montana tourism research data can be accessed online at http://www.tourismresearchmt.org/.

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Contact: Norma Nickerson, director, UM Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, 406-243-2328, norma.nickerson@umontana.edu.