In simpler times, areas that relied almost entirely on tourism for their economic wellbeing only needed to rely on a bit of advertising and some good weather to maximise visitor numbers. Market research was pretty basic and amounted to the sort of simple maxim which Mayor Vaughn of the fictional Amity Island resort might have used in the movie Jaws. A dead killer shark meant the visitors would come. A live killer shark meant that they wouldn’t. Today however, times have changed. Even relatively small tourist boards retain some of the best market research resources available and adopt a thoroughly professional approach to promoting their resort areas.
It’s amazing to see the detailed information produced by just one entrepreneurial organisation covering the Bradenton area of West Florida. The resort is located just south of Tampa Bay and fronts directly on to the stunning Gulf of Mexico. There are two island resorts including Anna Maria Island, which are connected to the mainland by bridges and the bureau was able to identify the importance of the Internet and Social Media in directing visitors to both of these islands.
So far in 2012, 57.2% of those making reservations did so online while a massive 89.1% had researched the islands on the Internet. The information also listed in order of preference that factors which appealed to those visitors in the first place.
- Beautiful beaches
- Good food and restaurants
- Clear, blue water
- Complete relaxation
- Safe destination
- Reasonably priced lodging
If that wasn’t enough detail for the clients who pay for all this information, we were also told to the nearest cent how much the average budget was for each visitor. With as many as 97% of visitors satisfied with their vacation in Bradenton and Anna Maria, it is not surprising that two thirds of them had enjoyed a vacation there before and will probably venture there again.
For the wider area of Bradenton, despite the downturn in the economic climate tourism actually increased by 11.6% in May compared with the same time last year. The marketers who compiled all this data had determined that 251,400 visitors stayed between January and May 2012 compared with 228,000 in the same period in 2011. Is this simply a coincidence? Maybe not. If the local businesses and individuals are smart enough to engage in this amount of data capture and market research, they are probably equally professional and experienced when it comes to welcoming all their guests from home and abroad.
If you’d like to know why Bradenton and the West of Florida is so appealing, read more here: http://www.annamaria.com/
By Anna M