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SAS helps Kansas reel in revenue from parks, tourism

Johannesburg, South Africa  (19 May 2011)  – Whether it's generating habitat reports, optimising federal aid analyses, or increasing licence revenue, the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks relies on SAS Business Analytics.

The public steward of Kansas' natural resources works to conserve and enhance Kansas' natural heritage, wildlife and habitat. Today, the department is applying analytics to ensure the benefits of the state's diverse, living resources for future generations. The first step, integrating relevant data, immediately generated substantial savings in time and effort.

"Our nine databases just didn't talk to each other," explains Doug Nygren, Fisheries Section Chief at the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism. "Our biologists synthesise data into about 200 annual progress and management reports, addressing things like water levels, fishing regulations and species stock. They used to spend 30 to 45 days generating reports; by automating the process, we anticipate cutting that by two-thirds."

A fee-based agency responsible for maintaining appropriate levels of wildlife and aquatic species state-wide, the department supports its programmes with revenue from hunting and angling licences. To ensure revenue growth, the department needed to better understand its sport hunting and fishing customers.

"We couldn't access usable data on our customers," said Nygren. "Using SAS Data Management technology to clean the licence data, we discovered tremendous churn and customers who weren't buying yearly. Through the use of data mining, we've learned to motivate customers to renew more consistently."

The department enhanced its products by offering multiyear licences and early season discounts. Upon discovering that youth between 16 and 21 had the lowest renewal rate, it designed a $40 youth licence good until age 21.

To increase new licences and renewals, the department used SAS to target marketing communications to past and current customers.

"We've been mining our customer database to drive marketing campaigns for three years," Nygren explains. "With clean lifestyle data, we determined who to target with direct marketing materials, and as a result, increased licensed anglers by approximately 3 000 additional licensees."

Nygren estimates increased economic activity from angling licences alone was $1 403 per angler annually, or $3.8 million over three years. Further, he says the department generated $365 000 in state and local taxes, and over $417 000 in federal taxes.

The department also uses SAS to accurately determine how many individual hunters and anglers to claim for federal aid purposes. In one year, federal aid certifications increased 10%.

SAS helps the department distribute grants to local governments where state lakes are located. The grants are used for fisheries improvements such as boat ramps, fishing docks or dam repairs.

"My field staff has the power of SAS Analytics and a Web portal for reports that they can customise. Self-service has reduced headaches for our IT staff, which used to handle a lot of special requests."

To better utilise its data for analysis and create insightful reports for users, Nygren retained SAS Alliance Program Member Solution Design Team to help with the data integration and report design work.

"The consensus among my staff was, 'Wow, how did they get that much done in two weeks?'" Nygren concludes. "I showed the progress and management report to another state agency, and they instantly realised the benefit of what we're doing."

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