LAKE PLACID, NY – Leisure travel visitors to Lake Placid and Essex County are environmentally conscious, attracted to the area’s outdoor activities and spent $65 for every dollar spent on marketing in 2010, according to the latest leisure travel information study.
For the eighth year in a row, the Technical Assistance Center (TAC), based at SUNY Plattsburgh, was contracted by the Lake Placid CVB/Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (LPCVB/ROOST) to conduct an independent, third party Leisure Travel Information Study.
According to the report, the average household income of 2010 respondents was $80,000. The average age was 52 years, slightly higher than in 2009, with a 5-year average of 49.9 years.
Respondents live primarily in the Northeast, with an increased number over 2009 residing within New York State. Hotels and motels are the most common type of lodging respondents used during their stay. Outdoor activities remain the strongest reported attraction to the area, followed by relaxing, dining and shopping.
The Lake Placid CVB / Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism is the accredited destination marketing organization responsible for promoting the Schroon Lake, Lake Champlain, Whiteface, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid regions to the traveling public.
The Leisure Travel Information Study is based on a survey of the LPCVB/ROOST’s 2010 trackable leads database. New leads are added on a constant basis; walk-in visitors, phone and mail inquiries, bingo cards from magazine advertising, and web signups provide a snapshot of the respondents to the 2010 overall marketing efforts. This year, social networking participants were included for the first time, establishing a basis for comparison in this growing communications medium in future years.
Although lakeplacid.com alone receives millions of unique visitors, the survey takes only these trackable leads into consideration. In order to calculate the economic impact of the ROOST’s marketing efforts exclusively, the results do not include any standard economic multipliers, such as the impact from group visitation, staff expenditures, sales tax or events.
In addition to valuable demographic data and trends, the study’s intent is to determine the effectiveness of the LPCVB/ROOST’s marketing programs, to measure the return on investment (ROI) ratio for public marketing expenditures and the conversion rate factor, or the number of those leads who actually visited the region.
The report found that the percent of visitors who stated that the information or advertisements viewed influenced their decision to visit the region was 83 percent, which is near the five-year average of 82 percent. And, for every occupancy tax dollar LPCVB/ROOST spent on marketing, visitors to Essex County spent $65.
The major reduction in regional cooperative spending and the elimination of state matching funds in 2010 clearly impacted ROOST’s ability to target as broad a reach of potential travelers as in past years.
“Fewer leads in 2010 is a direct result of the unfunded I Love New York Matching Funds program last year, which limited the number of leads generated from our Adirondack regional program,” said James McKenna, LPCVB/ROOST CEO. “This really highlights the value of pooling resources for cooperative regional marketing, which has resumed at a greater level in our 2011 strategy.”
The 2010 survey also garnered visitor profile data that was not collected in previous years. 80 percent of respondents reported that ecological or environmental sensitivity of the travel destination is either “important” or “extremely important”.
And this year marked the first time that social media (Facebook and Twitter) participants were surveyed. Initial results from this market represented a slightly lower age demographic, a higher interest in the hiking and paddling outdoor activities, and higher interest in the sub-regions of the county; substantially higher in the Lake Champlain region. The social media results are based on a small, but increasing percentage of the overall visitor database, and will serve as a valuable basis for comparison in future years.
The 2010 report, additional LPCVB/ROOST research and more is available for download at the online resource developed specifically for local tourism-related businesses. All are encouraged to review essential news, events, marketing opportunities and travel trends that impact the local tourism economy at www.roostadk.com.
Download: 2010 Leisure Travel Study (PDF)