The Finger Lakes Region Tourism Council recently released the results of a destination market analysis for the Finger Lakes vacation region.
The study was conducted on behalf of the 14 counties that make up the Finger Lakes vacation region, with the intention that it will be used as a resource to guide FLRTC activities, identify areas for collaboration and partnership and leverage the resources of existing tourism marketing programs.
The planning started with a stakeholder survey and lifestyle segmentation analysis to develop a foundation of knowledge for FLRTC’s future direction. JLL, a Chicago-based consulting firm known for its expertise in tourism and hospitality that specializes in strategy, conducted research designed to uncover the breakdown of current market segments that were visiting the region. The methodology utilized individual county’s inquiry databases and engaged Nielsen companies to use their PRIZM data for market analysis.
JLL’s research coded over 100,000 visitor records from 2014. The research found that the highest concentration of the top market segments resided within a 400-mile radius of the Finger Lakes region. Primary visitors were identified as older adults without children in the home who live in a small town or rural environment with an upscale lifestyle.
A stakeholder survey was sent to over 4,000 tourism stakeholders at related businesses, organizations, local and state elected officials and agencies to gain their feedback on current priorities and future focus. The survey received strong feedback from the industry, with attractions, hotels and lodging, cultural institutions and museums and retail receiving the highest response rate.
Stakeholders identified additional marketing support in shoulder seasons as most important, and believe added research support to target visitors is the most valuable tool for FLRTC to continue to raise the profile of the region. The stakeholder survey results showed that messaging related to the broad spectrum of outdoors activities is what has the greatest impact on why a visitor comes to the region.
The goal of this study and the overall approach was to engage the board of directors, stakeholders and strategic partners in determining key areas of future focus for FLRTC that would support tourism in the Finger Lakes region.
FLRTC plans to focus its 2017 efforts on marketing initiatives identified and supported by these results. Top priorities for the organization will include the continuation of a seven-year collaborative, regional public relations program and the development of a new “content rich” destination website, which the region recently was awarded a state grant to pursue.
In the future, FLRTC plans to increase its joint marketing efforts, expand on digital and social media efforts and increase advocacy among key officials and stakeholders to further support a regionwide tourism message. Experience and product development for high impact tourism assets within the Finger Lakes will also be a long-term priority for the organization.
“This project has been an ongoing effort from the region to support and grow tourism in the Finger Lakes and help us better support our partners,” said Mike Linehan, president and CEO of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce and FLRTC chairman. “We look forward to using the results of this study to strengthen our regional efforts and continue to promote this great destination.”
The project was funded by a grant awarded to FLRTC by New York state’s Empire State Development and the I ♥ NY Division of Tourism under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.
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