Destination professionals face a complicated set of challenges to justify the investment of public funds under their control, and to articulate the benefits of tourism for the people who live in their communities.
How do you connect the benefits you provide to what the community believes it needs? How do you communicate your value to elected officials who hold your purse strings? What information guides your communications strategies to build alignment with the values of your community?
SMARInsights’ Community Value research provides in-depth information about the attitudes of community members towards tourism. The more important goal of this research is understanding what motivates those attitudes. And, how to achieve alignment between the community benefits provided by your organization and the shared values of the people who live in your destination.
We survey a representative sample of residents to provide a normative description of community attitudes. Destinations may also choose to survey people who represent the extreme ends of the spectrum – from critics to supporters – to quantify the size of these groups and identify how they compare and contrast. We can also survey comparative markets or a national sample, at an accessible cost, to provide benchmark data that is specific to your needs.
SMARInsights partners with our clients to
customize Community Value research to meet the needs of each destination, but always building on a foundation of robust methodology and more than 30 years of experience with the tourism
industry. Our focus is to deliver research insights that chart pathways to greater community alignment and support.
The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, also known as Explore Asheville, administers a Tourism Product Development Fund that has awarded $43 million to community projects that attract visitors and benefit residents. They embarked upon a community-driven planning process to guide future investments and to manage the impacts of tourism.
Explore Asheville engaged SMARInsights to conduct a Resident Sentiment Survey as a key component of its Tourism Management and Investment Plan (TMIP) as a partner to the lead consultant PGAV. The study collected detailed information about the attitudes of local residents toward tourism, its impact on the community, and the efforts to promote and develop the tourism industry in the area.
SMARInsights designed the survey to provide a representative sample and to invite additional community participation with dedicated survey links. SMARInsights’ national Resident Sentiment Survey provided additional insights for comparison.
With this type of topic there are passionate advocates with diverse ideas of what should happen in the community – and they tend to be quite vocal. What is harder to assess is the attitudes, concerns and desires of residents overall. This type of research project provides in-depth information about the attitudes of residents and explores reasons for the various attitudes to provide insights for important decisions.
Denise Miller, Executive Vice President, presented the results at the Tourism Management Forum. Download the report at right.