Printed maps and travel guides still a “go” at rest areas

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 5:26 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2023 at 10:59 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - In an age where the answer to most questions is “Google it” one tangible form of advertising doesn’t seem to be hurt by the digital divide.

The stocking and restocking of marketing materials at rest stops doesn’t just magically happen.

“We have an interesting partnership with the North Dakota Department of Transportation, their rest area caretakers take care of the racks for us,” said Mike Jensen, Outdoor Promotions Manager for the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

Mike Jensen oversees outdoor promotions for the North Dakota Department of Commerce, and he says they partner with cities and towns across the state to market attractions and get people off the beaten path (copyright Cliff Naylor) and into their communities. While a quick search of the internet may be a popular way to find answers, he says these small brochures are still very popular for travelers.

“The distribution is down just a little bit, people still like when they’re trip planning, when they’re travel planning, they like to have something in their hand they like to look at the pictures,” said Jensen.

He says the most popular piece of marketing he places in rest stops is the state map, and travelers agree. In a world of Alexas, and Siris, sometimes a paper map is more helpful.

“Yeah, because I need to see the whole picture. Sometimes you want to see exactly where you are and how far, and I mean Google maps will tell you exactly that. But you want to see the whole picture and see how far you’re going and which direction,” said Barb Polette of Glendive, Montana.

Barb says on a different trip she discovered Fort Lincoln State Park and enjoyed a day learning about the history of the space, proving that this tried-and-true way of showing off our state is not running out of gas anytime soon.

The Department of Transportation printed 150,000 maps, the North Dakota travel guides are almost just as popular.