Leisure Travel Study adds Franklin, Hamilton counties
LAKE PLACID — In addition to showing a return of $63 for every dollar spent on marketing in 2016, the latest Leisure Travel Information Study results provide traveler demographic insight for the Adirondacks’ Essex, Franklin and Hamilton counties.
For the 13th year in a row, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism contracted an independent third party to conduct a Leisure Travel Information Study. This year, ROOST again engaged PlaceMaking researchers to conduct the study, which includes a regional return on marketing investment analysis, plus comprehensive traveler data for Essex and, for the first time, Franklin and Hamilton counties as well.
ROOST, based in Lake Placid, is the accredited destination marketing organization responsible for promoting Essex County, Franklin County, Hamilton County, the town of North Elba, the town and village of Tupper Lake, the town of Harrietstown, the village of Lake Placid, the town of Piercefield and the village of Saranac Lake to the traveling public.
In addition to providing demographic data and trends, the study’s intent is to measure the effectiveness of ROOST’s marketing programs, to measure the return-on-investment ratio for public marketing expenditures and the conversion rate factor, or the number of “leads” who actually visited the region.
“Leads” represent the contact information collected from individuals who have responded to ROOST’s destination marketing efforts, such as online contest entries or newsletter sign-ups. The Leisure Travel Information Study is based on a survey of ROOST’s 2016 trackable leads database. For example, although lakeplacid.com alone received over 1.1 million unique visitors in 2016, the survey takes only these trackable leads into consideration.
By including Franklin and Hamilton counties’ data in the study for the first time, both regional consistencies and county differences emerged in the results.
Following are some highlights, as identified by ROOST:
¯ Overall, outdoor activities remained, by a substantial margin, the largest draw to the area. “Relaxing, dining and shopping” remained the second most frequently reported draw to the region, followed closely by sightseeing.
¯ The average stay reported by 2016 visitors was 3.9 nights.
¯ Peak summer (July/August), followed by fall (September/October), then early summer (May/June) were the highest reported times of visitation.
¯ An estimated 525,000-plus leisure travelers visited the region in 2016, based on contacts through ROOST and the conversion rate reported by survey respondents. These travelers generated an estimated $146 million during these visits.
¯ Average visitor party age of respondents who primarily visited Essex County was 51 years old. Franklin and Hamilton county respondents had an average age of 53.
¯ Mean annual reported household income of visitors to Essex County was $103,121. Hamilton County’s was $91,940, and Franklin County’s was $91,432.
¯ Although warm weather months saw more visitation across the region, Essex County saw greater reported winter visitation than Franklin and Hamilton counties.
¯ The greatest reported area of residence for travelers to Essex County was Albany and upstate New York. For Franklin and Hamilton counties it was western New York, with 53 percent of Hamilton County visitors from the western part of New York.
¯ The type of accommodations travelers reported to have stayed reflected the individual counties’ inventory. The majority of travelers stayed in hotels in Essex County, RVs and tents in Franklin County, and cabins and cottages as well as RVs and tents in Hamilton County.
“The results of this study contribute to our data-driven decisions, informing our ongoing marketing strategies,” said James McKenna, president of ROOST. “The differences in some of the individual county results highlight the need to continue to promote to a varied audience the unique characteristics of the diverse product offered throughout our geographic area of responsibility.”
The 2016 report, additional ROOST research and more is available for download at www.roostadk.com.