VACATION GUIDE CONVERSION STUDY FINAL REPORT OF FINDINGS

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1 VACATION GUIDE CONVERSION STUDY FINAL REPORT OF FINDINGS GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH TOURISM JULY 2015 Report of Findings prepared for Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism by Destination Analysts, Inc

2 Research Objectives This report presents the findings of a user study of the Alabama Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide conducted by Destination Analysts, Inc. The guide was distributed to over 90,000 potential visitors who either requested the guide directly (e.g., through the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism s consumer website) or indirectly (via advertising by completing a magazine reader response card or a form on another website or digital resource). The primary objectives of this research were to: Understand the usage and effectiveness of the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach 2014 Official Vacation Guide Develop a profile of travelers who use the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach 2014 Official Vacation Guide Estimate the economic impact and Return on Investment (ROI) that the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach 2014 Official Vacation Guide brought to the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area Identify what can be learned about the most effective advertising channels for distributing the vacation guide in terms of visitor spending impact Identify specific content expected of and sought in the guide Gauge satisfaction with the current guide Determine if visitor guide users also utilize other Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism resources and, if so, what the relative importance of these are in comparison to the visitor guide Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 2

3 Methodology A survey-based approach was used to meet the project s objectives, which included deploying a multi-faceted survey methodology to collect data from Vacation Guide requestors. The survey was distributed via the following three methods: Online via invitation (direct requests and indirect/advertising-based requests providing addresses): An invitation to complete the survey questionnaire online was sent to all requestors who had ordered the guide directly in the past 12 months and provided their address, as well as anyone who requested the guide through reader response/advertising that provided their address. Printed via U.S. mail/brm (indirect/advertising-based requests with no address): A printed survey packet asking requestors to complete the enclosed printed survey questionnaire and mail the survey back via the provided BRM envelope was sent via USPS to a random sample of 5,000 Vacation Guide recipients who requested the guide through advertising sources. An option to complete the survey online was also provided. Online via postcard invitation (indirect/advertising-based requests with no address): A printed postcard asking requestors to complete an online version of the survey questionnaire was sent via USPS mail to a random sample of 20,000 Vacation Guide recipients who requested the guide through advertising sources. A sweepstakes to win one of several prizes was offered as an incentive to complete the survey. In total, 2,385 fully completed surveys were collected. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 3

4 Report Format Each page in this report presents a chart illustrating the results for all survey respondents, as well as a brief analysis of the findings. The data presented in this report is weighted to most accurately reflect the actual distribution of the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach 2014 Official Vacation Guide in terms of volume, as the guide was requested through a variety of sources. These sources included direct request from the official Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism website, GulfShores.com, reader response and advertising in several print publications (Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens, etc.) as well as travel-related websites (e-miles, TravelSpike, etc.). Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 4

5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Visitor Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 5

6 Snapshot of Key Findings The infographics below illustrate some key findings from this research. Each is explained in further detail in the body of the report. Past Visitation & Future Visitation (% of respondents) Visited since receiving guide 40.4% 44.3% Have firm plans to visit Vacation Guide s Impact on Destination Decision & Level of Importance to that Decision (% of respondents) Place of Stay in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (% of respondents) 70.0% 60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0% 57.8% Vacation home/rental 34.6% Hotel, motel or B&B Overall Satisfaction with Vacation Guide (% of respondents) Vacation Home/Rentals Dominate Vacation Guide Significantly Impacts Visitors Decision to Visit Gulf Shores area 87.5% 78.8% Vacation Guide had an impact on destination decision Vacation Guide was Important or Very important to destination decision Very satisfied Satisfied Neutral Unsatisfied Very unsatisfied 1.4% 0.1% 2.0% 24.6% 71.9% Users Express Extremely High Satisfaction 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 6

7 Snapshot of Key Findings (continued) Incremental Trips Generated by Vacation Guide 4,758 Trips Additional Visitor Days (On Trips Extended by Vacation Guide) 1,160 Days Total Economic Impact $8,453,336 ROI (Economic Impact Per Guide) $93.90 Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 7

8 Conversion Analysis The economic impact of any given destination marketing organization s marketing program can best be defined as the total amount of direct visitor spending in the destination that is generated by the program. Alternatively, a DMO marketing program s economic impact can be defined as the amount of visitor spending in the destination that would not have occurred in the absence of the program. In short, one goal of this research was to measure how much the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation guide brought back to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area in economic impact, which can later be measured against the amount of money spent producing and distributing the guide to determine ROI. The economic impact estimation method used is detailed below, immediately followed by the actual economic impact estimates. CALCULATION OF VACATION GUIDE ECONOMIC IMPACT ESTIMATES This survey collected information critical to calculating economic impact, such as actual visitation to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area after ordering the Vacation guide, whether those that did visit the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area had already made up their mind to visit the area and how long they would stay when requesting the Vacation guide, as well as detailed information on their trip purpose and in-market spending behavior. Such data allowed us to differentiate between leisure and business/conference visitors and others, and measure in-market spending by visitors influenced by the Vacation guide to visit or extend their stay in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 8

9 Conversion Analysis (continued) The economic impact estimates derived for this report include all direct spending in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area by two types of visitors: those who took incremental trips to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area and those who extended the length of their trip based on information found in the Vacation Guide. These two visitor types are distinguished following: 1. Visitors on incremental trips had not fully made up their mind to visit the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area when they ordered the Vacation Guide and stated that the Vacation Guide influenced their decision to ultimately visit the area. To be considered an incremental visitor, respondents who had not made up their mind to visit prior to ordering the Vacation Guide must then state in a subsequent survey response that the Vacation guide helped them make their decision to visit and that the guide was Important or Very important to their decision to visit. 2. Visitors who extended their stay in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area can be leisure travelers, business travelers or convention/group meeting attendees. Leisure travelers who did not state that the guide influenced their decision to visit the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area and all business and convention travelers were asked a series of questions on the influence of the guide on their ultimate length of their stay in the area. Economic impact estimates for this group only include spending during reported additional days inmarket generated by the Vacation Guide. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 9

10 Conversion Analysis (continued) KEY ECONOMIC IMPACT FINDINGS: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide The key findings on the economic impact of the Alabama Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide program are summarized below. Incremental trips to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area generated by the guide: For the 90,025 persons receiving the Alabama Gulf Shores & Orange Beach 2014 Official Vacation Guide through direct or indirect/advertising-based request, an estimated 4,758 incremental trips were generated for the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. The average incremental trip lasted 4.5 days, with a reported in-market spending of $371 per day. In total, the incremental trips generated by the Vacation Guide resulted in approximately $8 million in new visitor spending in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, or approximately $89.08 of the program s total economic impact per distributed guide. Incremental spending on trips extended as a result of the Alabama Gulf Shores & Orange Beach 2015 Official Vacation Guide: Vacation guides can also encourage longer stays in a destination and thus increase the visitor spending impact that the area realizes. It is estimated that an additional 1,160 incremental trips days were generated by the guide from visitors who lengthened their initial intended stay in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. In total, the additional trip days generated by the guide resulted in approximately $433,570 in incremental visitor spending in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, or approximately $4.82 per distributed guide. Total Estimated Economic Impact: The two components discussed above (spending on incremental trips and additional days in market) comprise the program s economic impact as defined in this study. It is therefore estimated that $8,453,336 in direct visitor spending was generated for the destination by the 2014 Official Vacation Guide. Alternatively, given the 90,025 guides distributed during the year, the program s overall economic impact is estimated to have been $93.90 per guide. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 10

11 Conversion Analysis (continued) The economic impact estimates derived for this report are summarized in the table below. In this table, we define the direct order channel as guides requested by consumers directly from Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism. The indirect channel refers to guides sent to consumers requesting through advertising sources such as magazines, websites and marketing partners. Guide Distribution Channel Direct Indirect Total Visitors guides distributed 15,645 74,380 90,025 Trips influenced by visitors guide (Incremental trips) Trips to destination substantially influenced by visitors guide 1,049 3,709 4,758 Average length of stay in the destination Average reported spending per-day in destination $ $ $ Economic impact (ROI) of incremental trips $1,776,018 $6,243,738 $8,019,757 Trips lengthened as a result of visitors guide (Extended trips) Total number of incremental visitor days spent in destination ,160 Economic impact (ROI) of trips lengthened as a result of visitors guide $72,061 $361,518 $433,579 TOTAL PROGRAM ROI $1,848, $6,605, $8,453, ROI PER KIT GUIDE $ $88.80 $93.90 Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 11

12 DETAILED FINDINGS Graphical Presentation of Base Survey Questions In this section, we present the findings of the survey s base questions in the order they were asked. This section includes the nondemographic questions those related to respondent opinions and behaviors. A brief written analysis is included for each chart. Please note: Data presented in this section represents the top-line data collected from all survey respondents. As data from subsamples were frequently used in the calculation of the ROI metrics the reader should use caution in making comparisons back to the ROI discussion presented earlier. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 12

13 Recall of Receipt of Vacation Guide Over half of survey respondents recall receiving the Gulf Shores and Orange Chart 1: Recall of Receipt of Vacation Guide Beach Official Vacation Guide (52.4%). Yes, 52.4% No, 47.6% Question: Did you receive a copy of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide (shown above) in the mail? Base: All Respondents. 2,162 completed surveys. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 12

14 Read Vacation Guide Nearly 95 percent of survey respondents who recalled receiving the guide Chart 2: Read Vacation guide also confirmed reading or looking through it. NOTE: Survey respondents who both recalled receipt of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide and read or looked through it are hereafter referred to as Vacation Guide users. Yes, 94.8% No, 2.4% Question: Did you read (or look through) the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide? Base: Respondents who recall receiving the Vacation Guide. 1,152 completed surveys. I don't remember, 2.8% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 13

15 How Guide Recipient Initially Learned About Vacation Guide The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism websites (20.5%) and magazine Chart 3: How Guide Recipient Initially Learned About Vacation Guide or newspaper advertisements (19.4%) are the top sources of how surveyed requestors initially learned about the Vacation Guide. Search engine marketing delivered 13.5 percent of these requestors. Interestingly, 15.3 percent learned about the guide from a previous visit to the area and thus requested it. Question: How did you learn about the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide? (Select one) Base: All Respondents. 2,150 completed surveys. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism s websites Magazine or newspaper advertisement or insert I learned about it during a previous visit to the area Search engine results (Google, Bing, etc.) Free travel guide website Habit I typically order/use Vacation Guides I picked it up during my visit to the Welcome Center Social Media pages (Twitter, Facebook) Online banner advertisement Other website City, Government or State Tourism Office website Other 20.5% 19.4% 15.3% 13.5% 6.3% 4.3% 3.2% 2.9% 2.8% 2.8% 1.1% 7.6% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 14

16 Reasons for Ordering Vacation Guide The Vacation Guide is being requested by both those seeking inspiration Chart 4: Reasons for Ordering Vacation Guide and those wanting to plan the details of their Gulf Shores area trip. When asked about their motivations for ordering the guide, similar percentages sought listings of accommodations, attractions and restaurants (46.3%) and planning and booking a trip to the area (44.8%) as getting trip inspiration and ideas (45.2%), learning more about the area (39.8%) and reviewing general travel information about the area (37.9%) See listings of accommodations, attractions, restaurants and other businesses Get trip inspiration and ideas Plan and book a trip to the area Learn more about the area Review general travel information about the area 46.3% 45.2% 44.8% 39.8% 37.9% Have a printed guide to take with me on my trip The guide is free 16.4% 21.9% Question: Which of the following describes your reason(s) for ordering the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide? (Select all that apply) Base: All Respondents. 2,170 completed surveys. I am, or am considering, relocating to the area It was suggested by a Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism call center agent Did not order the guide myself received it from another source I live in the area and wanted ideas for visiting friends and/or relatives None of the above 4.7% 1.7% 1.5% 1.0% 2.3% 0% 20% 40% 60% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 15

17 Information Sought When Ordering Vacation Guide Vacation Guide requesters are primarily seeking basic trip information Chart 5: Information Sought When Ordering Vacation Guide such as what to do, where to stay and where to dine in the destination from the guide. At the time of ordering the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide, a significant number of requestors were specifically seeking access to content on attractions (72.1%), accommodations (65.9%) and dining (59.2%), as well as just a general overview of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (56.9%). Information on events and festivals (43.6%) and the area s entertainment, arts & culture (40.6%) were also highly sought. Specific sports and outdoor activities were content relatively less sought when ordering the guide. Question: Which types of information were you specifically seeking when you ordered the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide? (Select all that apply) Base: All Respondents. 2,170 completed surveys. Attractions Accommodations Dining Overview of the GSOB area Events & Festivals Entertainment, Arts & Culture Outdoor Activities Shopping Maps Travel tips Recreation Fishing Watersports Golf Relocation Information Sports Event 6.6% 5.3% 4.1% 16.2% 12.2% 34.5% 31.9% 30.4% 29.3% 27.8% 43.6% 40.6% 65.9% 59.2% 56.9% 72.1% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 16

18 Content Accessed in Vacation Guide The information sought when the guide was ordered aligned with the Chart 6: Content Accessed in Vacation Guide content users actually accessed in the official Vacation Guide. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Guide users primarily accessed information on attractions (65.7%), dining (58.5%) and accommodations (51.9%) in the guide. This suggests that users expectations of the guide were met. Question: Which types of information in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide did you read or review? (Select all that apply.) Base: Vacation Guide users. 1,291 completed surveys. Attractions Dining Accommodations Articles and features Beach Rentals & Services Events Maps Adventures, Cruises & Watersports Nature & Trails Arts & Culture Fishing Beach Safety Information Marinas & Dive Shops Golf Courses Relocation Information 9.0% 8.1% 5.1% 19.4% 17.2% 14.3% 25.4% 36.8% 36.2% 32.2% 43.1% 51.9% 47.2% 58.5% 65.7% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 17

19 Evaluation of Vacation Guide s Content Positive descriptors about the Vacation Guide content tested very well with its users, while the negative descriptors tested did not match with users opinions of the guide. Presented with a list of statements about the Vacation Guide's content, Vacation Guide users were asked to rate their agreement using a 5-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The chart at right shows the percent who agree or strongly agree or agree with each statement. There is a strong consensus that the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide has lots of information (94.6%), contains information that is relevant and useful to planning a trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (92.6%), features great photography (92.2%) and makes the user excited to visit the area (88.9%). Chart 7: Evaluation of Vacation Guide s Content Info contained in the guide is relevant/useful to planning a trip to the GSOB area The guide features great photography The guide made me excited to visit the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area There is too much advertising in the guide Agree (4) Strongly Agree (5) The guide has lots of information 43.5% 43.0% 39.5% 38.6% (10.8%, 3.9%) 51.1% 49.7% 52.7% 50.4% Question: How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements regarding the content of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Guide? (Use the five point scale below where 1 represents Strongly Disagree and 5 represents Strongly Agree ) Base: Vacation Guide users. 1,134 completed surveys. The guide is missing information I need. (6.3%, 3.0%) 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 18

20 Evaluation of Vacation Guide s Design and Layout The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide again garners consensus across the board with all the positive descriptors tested regarding the design, layout and presentation of the guide. Presented with a list of statements about the Vacation Planner's design, layout, and presentation, Vacation guide users were asked to use a 5-point scale to rate their agreement. The chart at right shows the percent that agree" or strongly agree" with each statement. Approximately 90 percent or more agree that the guide is attractive (94.3%), has an overall appealing design (93.5%), has a good balance of content and photos (91.7%), is well organized (91.1%) and is well sized (87.7%). Question: How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements regarding the design and layout of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Guide? (Use the five point scale below where 1 represents Strongly Disagree and 5 represents Strongly Agree ) Base: Vacation Guide users. 1,136 completed surveys. Chart 8: Evaluation of Vacation Guide s Design and Layout The guide is attractive The overall design of the guide is appealing There is a good balance of content and photos The information in the guide is well organized The guide is well sized not too small, not too large There is too much advertising in the guide The guide looks cluttered it s too busy It is difficult to find the information of interest to me in the guide Agree (4) Strongly Agree (5) 47.4% 47.1% 50.5% 48.8% 46.7% (8.8%, 3.0%) (4.9%, 2.9%) (4.1%, 3.0%) 46.9% 46.4% 41.2% 42.3% 41.0% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 19

21 Guide s Effectiveness in Portraying Aspects of the Destination Visitor Guide users feel the guide is effective in portraying the Gulf Shores Chart 9: Guide s Effectiveness in Portraying Aspects of the Destination and Orange Beach area as a leisure destination that is scenic, relaxing, family friendly, has lots to see and do and a great culinary scene. The Vacation Guide was slightly less effective in portraying the destination as a good place for cultural experiences or as a place that offers active/sports experiences. Question: Overall, how effective do you think the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide is in portraying the following aspects of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast)? (Use the five point scale below where 1 represents Very ineffectively and 5 represents Very effectively ) Base: Vacation Guide users. 1,129 completed surveys. Effectively (4) Very effectively (5) A great beach destination 33.5% 62.0% A place for relaxation 45.4% 48.4% A family friendly destination 42.5% 49.9% A place with lots to see and do 44.1% 47.5% A place that offers natural beauty 46.0% 45.6% A place that offers a unique vacation experience 44.3% 41.3% A place with exciting outdoor activities 45.6% 39.7% A place with an exceptional food and dining scene 43.6% 41.0% A great place for fishing 40.2% 35.5% A good destination for arts and cultural experiences 46.9% 25.2% A great place for golf 35.1% 28.7% A great place for sporting events 35.3% 23.4% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 21

22 Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area Residence Nearly all of the Visitor Guide users surveyed reside outside of the Gulf Chart 10: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area Residence Shores and Orange Beach area. Only 1.3 percent of survey respondents are Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area residents. As residents are not, by definition, potential visitors to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, survey respondents who were Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area locals then moved on to the demographic questions at the end of the survey. No, 98.7% Yes, 1.3% Question: Do you currently live in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast)? Base: Vacation Guide users. 1,164 completed surveys. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 21

23 Trips to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area After Receiving Vacation Guide Approximately 45 percent of non-local Vacation Guide users took at least one trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area after receiving the Vacation Guide (44.3%). The overall mean number of trips taken to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area after receiving the guide is 0.8. Chart 11: Trips to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area After Receiving Vacation Guide 5 or more 2.1% % 1.3% Mean = % % % Question: Since receiving your Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide, how many trips to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast) have you made? Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users. 1,090 completed surveys. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 22

24 Future Travel Plans to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area To gauge future travel intentions, Vacation Guide users who had not yet traveled to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area since receiving the guide were asked if they had firm plans to visit percent of these non-visitors indeed had plans to travel to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. While firm plans do not guarantee that a visit will occur, it is another indicator that those who order the Vacation Guide end up traveling to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. Chart 12: Future Travel Plans to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area No, 59.6% Yes, 40.4% Question: Have you made travel plans for a future trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast)? Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have not yet taken a trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. 675 completed surveys. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 23

25 Date of Future Planned Travel to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area Higher proportions of Vacation Guide users who had not yet made a trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area but reported having firm plans to travel, said they planned to visit in the summer months of June (13.0%) and July (15.8%) of The majority of this group though planned to visit sometime in 2016 which demonstrates that these Visitor Guide users are in the early stages of the information gathering funnel (22.5%). Chart 13: Date of Future Planned Travel to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December % 0.6% 3.2% 7.3% 8.8% 8.5% 10.0% 13.0% 15.8% Question: When do you plan to visit the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast)? Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have not yet taken a trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. 289 completed surveys. Sometime in 2016 I don t know Do not plan to visit Gulf Shores/Orange Beach 22.5% 9.8% 0.6% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 24

26 Type of Trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area Vacation Guide user visitation to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area Chart 14: Type of Trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area was predominately for a leisure trip. Vacation guide users who took a trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area after receipt of the guide were asked a series of questions about their visit. The first of these asked survey respondents to characterize the primary reason for their trip. Nearly nine out of ten Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Guide users came to the area for leisure, either on vacation (78.9%) or for a weekend getaway (9.3%). Question: Which of the following best describes the reason for your most recent trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast)? (Select one) Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 508 completed surveys. Vacation Weekend getaway Visit friends and/or family Just passing through Attend a personal event, reunion or wedding Business travel Attend a fair or festival Conference, trade show or other group meeting Attend a concert Attend a sporting event Government travel Other 78.9% 9.3% 3.3% 1.0% 0.7% 0.5% 0.5% 0.3% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 5.4% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 25

27 Place of Stay in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area Over half of Vacation Guide users who traveled to the Gulf Shores and Chart 15: Place of Stay in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area Orange Beach area after receiving the guide stayed in a vacation home/rental (57.8%). This includes those who stayed in a condo (48.6%), cottage (0.8%) or beach house (8.4%) percent stayed in commercial lodging, such as a hotel or motel (32.9%) or bed & breakfast (1.6%), in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area during their trip. VFRs represented 5.2 percent of these visitors. Hotel or motel Bed & breakfast Private residence of friend or family member 1.6% 5.2% 32.9% Vacation home/rental Condo 48.6% Vacation home/rental Cottage 0.8% Vacation home/rental Beach House 8.4% RV park or campground 5.1% Other 1.9% Day-trip only Did not stay overnight 1.4% Question: While on this trip, where did you stay in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area? (Select all that apply) Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 505 completed surveys. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 26

28 Number of Days in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area The typical trip to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area taken by Chart 16: Number of Days in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area Vacation Guide requestors who visited lasted 7.4 days. This may account for the higher proportions of visitors staying in vacation homes/rentals versus hotels or motels. 5 or more 64.0% % % Mean = % 1 2.4% Question: How many total days and nights did you spend on this Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast) trip? Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 495 completed surveys. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 27

29 Number of Nights in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area On average, Vacation Guide users who traveled to the Gulf Shores and Chart 17: Number of Nights in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area Orange Beach area spent 6.9 nights in the area. 5 or more 53.0% % 17.5% 14.7% Mean = % 1.5% Question: How many total days and nights did you spend on this Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast) trip? Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 495 completed surveys. 0% 20% 40% 60% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 28

30 Travel Party Size The average Vacation Guide user s travel party was comprised of 4.1 Chart 18: Travel Party Size persons, primarily adults percent of Vacation Guide users who visited the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area after receipt of the guide traveled Adults Children with children under or more % 17.9% 1.2% 3.3% Mean Adults: 3.2 Mean Children: % 6.0% % (3.1%, 8.8%) 18.5% % Question: How many people were in your immediate travel party, including yourself? Please enter a numeric value in the fields below. Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 497 completed surveys. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 29

31 Daily Spending in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, Per Travel Party Vacation Guide users who traveled to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area post-receipt of the guide were asked to report the total amounts they spent on trip-related items and services in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. The average traveler amongst this group spent $ in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area each day. The largest share of this spending was on lodging ($151.74), followed by restaurants ($112.64), entertainment and sightseeing ($60.24) and retail ($59.36). This reported spending covered 3.7 people on average. Thus the per person daily spending for Vacation Guide users who travel to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area is estimated to be $ Question: While on this trip, approximately how much IN TOTAL did you spend PER DAY, FOR TOTAL TRAVEL PARTY on each of the following while in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area? (Please only INCLUDE spending inside the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area and EXCLUDE any spending made before arriving in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area.) Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 482 completed surveys. Chart 19: Daily Spending in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Area, Per Travel Party Lodging Restaurants & dining Entertainment, sightseeing & attractions Retail purchases Gas, parking & local transportation Any other expenses $32.53 $25.43 $60.24 $59.36 $ $ Mean Spending = $ $0 $50 $100 $150 $200 Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 30

32 Focus of Trip Experience Vacation Guide users predominately focused their trip to the Gulf Shores Chart 21: Focus of Trip Experience and Orange Beach area on relaxation invited by the natural beauty and beach related activities in the area. Those who traveled to the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area post-receipt of the guide were asked the focus of their visit from the following list of activities. Visitors reported that their top focus for a trip experience in the Gulf Shores area was relaxation (90.5%), enjoying natural beauty (71.1%), beach activities (69.2%), and cuisine (44.7%). Question: What experiences did you focus this visit to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast) on? (Select all that apply) Base: Nonlocal Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 500 completed surveys. Relaxation Enjoying the natural beauty of the area Beach Activities Cuisine Family Activities Outdoor Activity (e.g. Hiking, Biking) Sports Adventure (e.g. Fishing) Events/Festivals Friends and Family in area Music, Entertainment & Nightlife Specific Attraction Friends getaway (e.g. guys trip) Culture Attend sporting event 1.1% 18.4% 17.9% 14.8% 14.3% 14.0% 14.0% 12.7% 11.8% 27.6% 44.7% 71.1% 69.2% 90.5% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 32

33 Point in Decision Making Process When Guide was Received A significant proportion of Vacation Guide users were in a position to be Chart 22: Point in Decision Making Process When Guide was Received influenced when they received the guide. Those who traveled to the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area for leisure after receiving the Guide were asked which point in the destination decision process they were in when they received the Guide percent were still undecided about taking a trip to the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area when they received the Guide, and therefore subject to influence by the Guide in making the ultimate decision to visit the area. Another 12.5 percent were still considering destinations for a trip. I had already decided to take a trip to (or within) the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area I was interested in taking a trip to (or within) the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area but hadn t made travel plans yet 30.9% 55.2% I was just considering destinations for a trip 12.5% Question: When you received the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide, where were you in the process of deciding to travel? Please select the one option that best describes where you were in your travel decision. Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 504 completed surveys. I had no plans to travel 1.4% 0% 20% 40% 60% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 33

34 Impact of Vacation Guide on Destination Decision The Official Vacation Guide was highly impactful to the visitors decision to Chart 23: Impact of Vacation Guide on Destination Decision visit the destination. Those who did not already have plans to travel to the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area when they received the Vacation Guide were asked if the Guide ultimately helped them make the decision to visit the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area percent of these Vacation Guide users reported that the Guide indeed helped them make the decision to visit the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area. Yes, 87.5% No, 9.4% Question: Did the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide help you make your decision to visit (or travel within) the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast)? Base: Respondents who did not have firm plans to travel to the GSOB area when they received the guide. 244 completed surveys. I don't know, 3.1% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 34

35 Importance of Vacation Guide to Destination Decision Not only did the Vacation Guide impact visitors destination decision, it Chart 24: Importance of Vacation Guide to Destination Decision was also considered an important component of the decision making process. Those who felt that the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide ultimately helped them decide to visit the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area were asked to use a 5-point scale to rate the relative importance of the Guide to this decision. The chart shows the percent that rated the Guide as Important or Very important. In total, 78.8 percent of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Vacation Guide users who said the guide helped them make their decision to visit the area considered the guide to be "Important" (43.3%) or "Very important" (35.5%) to their destination decision. Very important Important Somewhat important Of little importance 0.2% 18.8% 35.5% 43.3% Not at all important 2.1% Question: How important was the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide to you in making the decision to visit (or travel within) the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast)? (Select one) Base: Respondents who said the guide impacted their decision to visit. 220 completed surveys. 0% 20% 40% 60% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 35

36 Influence of Vacation Guide on Length of Stay Vacation Guide users who had already decided to visit the Gulf Shores & Chart 25: Influence of Vacation Guide on Length of Stay Orange Beach area for leisure upon receipt of the guide, and all business/group meetings travelers, were asked if the guide in any way influenced the number of days they ultimately spent in the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area on their trip percent reported that the Guide indeed influenced the number of days they spent in the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area by an average of 2.3 days. *Please note the small sample size for this question. This data should be used for informational purposes only. Increased the length of my stay, 63.5% Decreased the length of my stay, 2.0% Question: How did the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide influence the number of days you ultimately spent in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast) on this trip? (Select one). How many days did you increase the length of your stay in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast) as a result of using the Vacation Guide? Base: Respondents who already had firm plans to travel to the GSOB area. 81 completed surveys. Mean Increase = 2.3 Did not increase or decrease the length of my stay, 34.6% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 36

37 Travel Decisions Based on Vacation Guide The Vacation Guide is used to make a variety of travel planning decisions. Chart 27: Travel Decisions Based on Vacation Guide Vacation Guide users who traveled to the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area post-receipt of the Guide were asked which travel planning tasks they accomplished or travel decisions they made based on information they Selected a restaurant or place to eat 75.5% found in the Guide. The most common use of the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide was to select a place to eat (75.5%). The Guide was also commonly used to select attractions (68.7%), to consult maps Selected attractions or things to see and do Consulted map(s) 49.3% 68.7% (49.3%), to select a place to shop (37.8%), and to select a vacation rental or Selected a place to shop 37.8% other accommodations (33.1%). Selected a vacation rental or other accommodations 33.1% Question: Which of these travel planning decisions or tasks did you make or complete based on information from the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide? (Select all that apply) Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 505 completed surveys. Selected an event to attend Selected a tour/guided tour company Selected a transportation option None of the above 12.4% 5.9% 3.4% 3.2% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 38

38 Travel Planning Resources Used Before Arriving The most common resource used for travel planning before arrival to the Chart 28: Travel Planning Resources Used Before Arriving Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area is the printed version of Official Vacation Guide, used by over 80 percent of respondents (84.6%). This finding shows that the printed version of the guide is used five times more than the digital version (16.5%). Nearly one in three Visitor Guide users also used the Official Gulf Shores area tourism websites (52.6%) to plan their trip to the destination. Question: Which of the following OFFICIAL GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH AREA RESOURCES did you use to plan your trip BEFORE THE TRIP BEGAN and WHILE ON YOUR TRIP? (Select all that apply) Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 495 completed surveys. Official Vacation Guide (printed) Official Gulf Shores area tourism websites Official Vacation Guide (digital) Official Google+ page Official Facebook page , live chat or phone call to GSOBT Official Pinterest page Blog library Official Youtube page Official Twitter feed Official Instagram page 84.6% 52.6% 16.5% 15.3% 13.9% 11.9% 5.5% 4.4% 4.3% 4.0% 3.6% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 39

39 Travel Planning Resources Used In-Market The most common resource used for trip planning while in the Gulf Shores Chart 29: Travel Planning Resources Used In-Market and Orange Beach area was also the printed version of Official Vacation Guide. It is used by nearly two-third of respondents (61.0%). In contrast, the digital version is used by fewer than 10 percent of respondents (7.2%). One in five Vacation Guide users report using the Official Gulf Shores and Orange Official Vacation Guide (printed) Official Gulf Shores area tourism websites 23.0% 61.0% Beach area tourism websites (23.0%). Social media is not a highly utilized planning tool for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach visitors. Less than 10 percent of respondents used Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest while they were in the destination. Official Vacation Guide (digital) Official Google+ page Official Facebook page , live chat or phone call to GSOBT 7.2% 6.3% 5.8% 3.6% Official Twitter feed 2.6% Official Youtube page 2.5% Official Instagram page 1.9% Question: Which of the following OFFICIAL GULF SHORES & ORANGE BEACH AREA RESOURCES did you use to plan your trip BEFORE THE TRIP BEGAN and WHILE ON YOUR TRIP? (Select all that apply) Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 495 completed surveys. Blog library Official Pinterest page 1.9% 1.7% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 40

40 Resources Important to Destination Decision The printed Vacation Guide and the official Gulf Shores area tourism Chart 30: Other Resources Important to Destination Decision websites were cited as the top resources that were most important to the visitors decision to visit the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area. Approximately 90 percent of survey respondents reported the printed Official Vacation Guide (89.1%) was important to their decision making process. The second most important resource was the Official Gulf Shores tourism websites (37.4%). Question: Which of the following resources were important in making your decision to visit the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast)? (Select all that apply) Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 502 completed surveys. Official Vacation Guide (printed) Official Gulf Shores area tourism websites Official Vacation Guide (digital) Official Google+ page Official Facebook page , live chat or phone call to GSOBT Official Pinterest Blog library Official Twitter feed Official Instagram page Official Youtube page 89.1% 37.4% 8.2% 8.1% 5.7% 4.7% 1.9% 1.9% 1.6% 1.4% 1.1% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 41

41 Use of Welcome Centers Over one-third of Vacation Guide users who visited the Gulf Shores area Chart 31: Use of Welcome Center went to an Welcome Center. Yes, 35.3% No, 64.7% Question: Did you use either of the Welcome Centers while in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area (Alabama Gulf Coast)? Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 493 completed surveys. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 42

42 Helpfulness of Guide s Content While Planning Trip Survey respondents were asked to state the helpfulness of the Vacation Chart 32: Helpfulness of Guide s Content While Planning Trip Guide s specific content in assisting them plan a trip to the Gulf Shores area. Over 80 percent of respondents found that the guide s maps (81.5%) were Very Helpful Helpful either helpful or very helpful to planning their trip. This was followed by photos (75.6%) and advertisements (73.4%). Maps 53.0% 28.5% Photos 34.9% 40.7% Advertisements 28.7% 44.6% Articles 25.3% 43.2% Question: How helpful were each of the following types of Vacation Guide content to assisting you to plan your trip to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach BEFORE ARRIVING in the area. Please use the scale from Very unhelpful to Very helpful below. Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 508 completed surveys. Business listings 26.4% 33.3% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 43

43 Helpfulness of Guide s Content While In-Market Survey respondents were asked about the helpfulness of the Vacation Guide s content in assisting them while they were visiting the Gulf Shores area. 80 percent continued to find the guide s maps (80.5%) were ether Helpful or Very helpful to them during their trip. Advertisements (66.6%), photos (64.5%) and business listings (61.2%) also were helpful to their trip planning while in the destination, although to a lesser degree than out of market. Chart 33: Helpfulness of Guide s Content While In-Market Very Helpful Helpful Maps 50.8% 29.7% Advertisements 30.1% 36.5% Photos 32.3% 32.2% Business listings 28.9% 32.2% Question: How helpful were each of the following types of Vacation Guide content to assisting you WHILE ON YOUR TRIP? Please use the scale from Very unhelpful to Very helpful below. Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 506 completed surveys. Articles 23.3% 30.6% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 44

44 Satisfaction with Vacation Guide The Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Guide enjoys very high Chart 34: Satisfaction with Vacation Guide satisfaction metrics. Vacation Guide users were asked to rate their overall satisfaction with the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide using a 5-point scale from Very unsatisfied to Very satisfied. In total, 96.5 percent of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Official Vacation Guide users who visited the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach area after receiving the Guide expressed satisfaction with their visit, including 71.9 percent who were "Very satisfied" with the Guide. Very satisfied Satisfied Neutral 1.4% 24.6% 71.9% Unsatisfied 0.1% Very unsatisfied 2.0% Question: In general, how satisfied are you with the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Vacation Guide? Base: Non-local Vacation Guide users who have taken a trip to the GSOB area since ordering guide. 513 completed surveys. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism Vacation Guide Conversion Study July 2015 Page 45

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