Research News

North Lake Tahoe uses SMARInsights' research to better understand visitors and markets

North Lake Tahoe continues to expand its global resonance by investing in key international markets, partnering with statewide tourism entities, the Regional Air Service Corporation (RASC) and major ski resorts and hotel properties to increase tourism in 2018-19.


In the 2017-18 fiscal year, North Lake Tahoe’s paid marketing campaign influenced $154 million in incremental visitor spending for a return on investment of $182 for every $1 spent on paid media. Earned media garnered 37.3 million impressions, with an increase of $6.78 million in dollar impact. Internationally, the region saw a 19.7 percent increase in visitor spending from 2016 to 2017.


Read more here.

'Soundtrack of America' brand returns higher results for Tennessee Tourism, report shows

Tennessee’s value for the investment made in promoting the state’s “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee” tourism brand increased in the latest study commissioned by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

Read more here.

Top-performing ads help Colorado break tourism record with 77.7 million visitors

Colorado's “Come to Life” advertising campaign continues to rank as one of the top performing state marketing efforts in the country. Strategic Marketing & Research Insights showed the print, television, radio and online marketing drove 2.6 million additional visits to the state, creating a total impact of $3.5 billion. Read more here.

Great Britain's referendum to leave the European Union will also affect tourism

Great Britain's referendum to leave the European Union will in the long term also affect tourism - both in the UK and in the Brits' favorite European holiday regions.


The world's biggest tour operator, Tui, does not expect Brits in future to be spending their holiday at home. However, should the pound lose value in the long term, their buying power might be restricted, making shopping on holiday more expensive, says Tui managing director Fritz Joussen. "But it's doubtful that it will curb the Brits very developed love of travel," Joussen adds.


Should the Brits have to watch their spending then this will be felt most in the travel sector in the Balearics, the Canary Islands, Greece, Turkey and the Caribbean, as those are the Brits favorite holiday destinations, according to Tui.


Great Britain is one of the tour operator's most important markets. In the last fiscal year, it accounted for one third of the company's turnover - about on a par with Germany.


Read more here.

Research shows tourists like to travel to "happy places"

In the middle of winter, just as we’re all thinking about a holiday, Swinburne researchers have revealed a nation’s perceived happiness can be an asset that attracts tourists.


Finance lecturer Dr Reza Tajaddini and Economics lecturers Dr Hassan F Gholipour and Dr Jeremy Nguyen, say their research was the first to propose that tourists may travel to sites of greater ‘happiness’ and to investigate the relationship between happiness and inbound tourism.


The researchers say their work has implications for tourism marketing and shows the benefit of emphasising the happiness characteristics of destinations, alongside traditional cultural and heritage attractions.


Read the rest of the story here.

Research helped Idaho Tourism choose ad campaign that focused on families

Screaming children jump off a wooden dock into the lake. A family of four speeds down a mountain trail on bicycles. Children and teenagers hang-glide, ride horses through a meadow, zipline over the high desert and scream on a roller coaster alongside their friends or siblings.


The vignettes end with a woman’s voice, “We’ve done more in six hours than we’ve done in six months.”


Several commercials like this have played during the past six weeks, urging parents to make all 18 summers with their children count. At the end, a web address — — flashes across the screen.


When that commercial runs, multi-taskers pull up the website on their smartphones, leaving a data point that tells Idaho tourism chief Diane Norton something important: Potential tourists were intrigued by the latest Visit Idaho advertising campaign. With luck, they will book a reservation.


Read more here.

Tennessee Tourism to broadcast live concerts on large outdoor screen in Chicago

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is sponsoring a live-streamed concert series that will be simulcast in Chicago.


Performances from Citizen Cope, Jason Isbell and Old Crow Medicine Show, and Ashley Monroe in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville on May 23 - 25 will be streamed onto a two-sided video wall in a high-traffic location in Chicago. The “Soundtrack of America: Made in Tennessee” concert will feature interactive capabilities between artist and audience as well as a 360-degree panoramic camera angle, making it the first long-distance concert of its kind, according to the tourism agency.


The tourism campaign aims to highlight and introduce music that is born and fostered within the state. Read more here.

Study finds tourists choose to post photos online that represent their 'ideal self'

The development of digital photography and communication technology has transformed the relationship between traveller and audience; even while travelling, tourists are aware of a potentially wide audience for their photographs and want to present themselves in the best light possible.


Tourists deciding what photographs to take and share with others are engaging in impression management involving the presentation of an “ideal self”, according to Dr Iris Lo, a Ph.D. graduate of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University who was supervised by Professor Bob McKercher of the SHTM.


In a recently published study, researchers highlight the role of social media in changing the nature of travel, as tourists increasingly post their photos online to be viewed and commented on by broad audiences.


Read more here.

Experience shows tourism can bounce back fast after tragedies such as the Brussels attack

Experience shows countries can bounce back fast, even if travel and tourism declines in the immediate aftermath, and business and consumer confidence suffers a temporary knock. Read more analysis here.

Tenn. governor announces strong return on investment numbers for state's tourism marketing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Governor Bill Haslam and Commissioner Kevin Triplett, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, today announced the powerful results of a return on investment study, the first since launching the “Soundtrack of America, Made in Tennessee” brand campaign, during a special event at Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association’s Day on the Hill. 


The new brand campaign was launched approximately 18 months ago. Research conducted from a third party, Strategic Marketing and Research Insights, indicates an 18-to-1 ROI. This shows Tennessee is collecting 18 tax dollars for every 1 dollar spent on advertising for the new campaign. The national benchmark used by SMARInsights for tax revenue collected is 9 tax dollars for every 1 dollar. 


“The SMARInsights Report confirms two important facts,” Triplett said. “The brand campaign messaging ‘The Soundtrack of America, Made in Tennessee’ is inspiring vacationers to choose our state and Tennessee taxpayers are reaping the benefit of tourism’s success with an 18:1 return on investment.”


SMARInsights Executive Vice President Denise Miller said, “Our company measures marketing effectiveness for destinations across the country, and the Tennessee Tourism campaign performed extremely well, and significantly better than what we typically see for destinations. Tennessee Tourism combined strong creative with an effective media plan to influence significant travel to the state – and this is travel that would not have occurred without the advertising.  Tennessee achieved a strong return on investment, and the results were especially impressive given that this is a relatively new advertising campaign.”


Read the entire story here or here.

U.S., British universities team up to examine effects of gun violence on travel from the UK

Kansas State University and the University of Chester will partner on research to determine whether reports of gun violence in the United States have an effect on the likelihood of travel among residents of the United Kingdom. Other factors also would be considered. Read more here.

Wyoming Tourism numbers surge to record levels, generating tax revenue and job growth

Wyoming's tourism economy saw another year of tremendous growth in 2015. In a preliminary assessment released Thursday (Feb. 4) by the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT), a record 10.5 million people visited the state in 2015, up from 10.1 million visitors in 2014 or 4.2 percent. Strategic Marketing & Research Insights is a research partner with the Wyoming Office of Tourism through 2019. Read more about Wyoming Tourism here.

Focus on advertising in the Chicago area pays off for Hamilton County Tourism in visitor spending

Research conducted by Strategic Marketing & Research Insights showed Hamilton County (Ind.) Tourism's strategy of running only fall advertising in the Chicago area returned $156 in visitor spending for each $1 invested in marketing. Read more here in the Indianapolis Business Journal. (A subscription might be required)

Senate bill would require travel websites to pay innkeepers tax, just as hotels already do.

Travel websites such as Travelocity and Expedia would face higher taxes under a proposal pending before Indiana lawmakers, according to a story on Senate Bill 309, introduced by Sen. Brandt Hershman, would require those companies to pay sales and innkeeper’s taxes in Indiana. Read the story here.

Mobile ad blocking crisis doesn't seem as bad as some analysts have predicted

Ad blocking is certainly a threat to web publishers and companies that are paying for ads to appear on the myriad mobile devices we use. Many people panicked when Apple allowed ad blockers to appear in the App Store. But some say the mobile threat has not materialized. The Wall Street Journal has more here.

Virtual Reality devices seen as a tool for travelers to choose their destinations

Virtual Reality devices are all the rage - and tourism might be an industry that could benefit from the new devices. Read more here.

SMARInsights measures spending impact for Monterey visitors bureau

Monterey, California -  Spending by the county tourism bureau equaled $127 million in tourist cash last fiscal year, a new report shows. Read more here.

Colorado tourism numbers set record in 2014

A record 71.3 million visitors spent $18.6 billion in Colorado in 2014, marking a high point for the state's thriving tourism industry. Strategic Marketing & Research Insights also polled travelers whether marijuana played a role in their decision to possibly take a vacation in the state. Read more here.

Study reveals impact of advertising efforts

The Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism recently released a report showing their marketing efforts accounted for some $270 M of economic impact for the state. Read more here

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