LAKE PLACID - Visitors to the region in 2011 were outdoorsy, slightly younger, traveled in larger parties than in 2010, stayed for fewer nights and spent $89 for every occupancy tax dollar spent on marketing, according to the latest leisure travel information study.
For the ninth year in a row, the Lake Placid Convention and Visitors Bureau and Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism contracted an independent third party to conduct a leisure travel information study. This year, ROOST engaged PlaceMaking to conduct the survey, applying the same methodology as in the previous years.
Here are some highlights from the results, according to ROOST:
-The average stay reported by 2011 visitors was 2.8 nights, substantially lower than found in 2010. The five-year average for duration of stay was four nights, a number that has been decreasing somewhat over the last five years.
-The average age of respondents was 49 years old, slightly younger than reported by 2010 visitors. The average party size for 2011 was 3.8 people, with the adult party size increasing slightly from 2010.
-More than half of visitor respondents were from New York state, a higher proportion than in the prior year. Fourteen percent of respondents hail from Canada, an increase from 10 percent in 2010. Visitors from outside of New York, the Northeast or Canada comprised 21 percent of respondents in 2010 but only 13 percent in 2011.
-Social media participants represent about 10 percent of the overall respondents. They had a mean age of 44 and were twice as likely to report at least three visits during 2011. This group also reported nearly double the draw for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, and higher levels of attraction to Olympic sites than the rest of the respondents. This is notable, ROOST said, because for the majority of respondents, skiing and riding fell 5 percent and Olympic sites fell 15 percent as activities which attracted them to the area.
-Outdoor activities remained at the top of the list of activities that attracted visitors to the region. Hiking was the most popular reported outdoor activity, followed by canoeing and kayaking. Outdoor activities were followed by relaxing, dining and shopping, and sightseeing.
"The decrease in visitors from outside of the Northeast and Canada is consistent with the trend toward taking vacations within a day's drive, and the shorter stay is not surprising given the economic downturn," ROOST President Jim McKenna said in a press release. "These are trends that inform our marketing strategies, and should be taken into consideration as tourism-related businesses plan for the future."
LPCVB and ROOST, one organization with different names for its service and marketing roles, are the accredited destination marketing organization responsible for promoting the Schroon Lake, Lake Champlain, Whiteface, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid regions to the traveling public.
In addition to demographic data and trends, the study's intent is to determine the effectiveness of ROOST's marketing programs, to measure the return-on-investment ratio for public marketing expenditures and the conversion rate factor - the number of leads who actually visited the region.
The study is based on a survey of the ROOST's 2011 trackable leads database. New leads are added on a constant basis; walk-in visitors, phone and mail inquiries, and Web signups provide a snapshot of the respondents to the 2011 overall marketing efforts. For the second year, Facebook and Twitter survey responses were separated for individual consideration in the results.
Although www.lakeplacid.com alone receives millions of unique visitors, the survey takes only 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.