Over 70 people attended the first National Park Market Research Summit in Yosemite National Park, Jan. 6 – 8. Participants at the workshop included representatives from the National Park Service, numerous universities, gateway communities, park concessioners and park-related businesses, state park and tourism entities, non-profit cooperating associations, individuals and private research companies for the purpose of reviewing current social science research, determining what’s missing and recommending additional studies that help the NPS better serve park visitors.
Sponsored by the non-profit National Parks Promotion Council, the Summit was welcomed and assisted by Yosemite National Park and its concessioner, DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite.
Summaries of several of the presentations given at the Summit are posted on this site under the heading “Market Research” and a summary of findings will be made available to NPPC members in coming weeks.
One of the significant presentations at the Summit (they were all exceptional) was made by Greg Dunn, executive vice president at YPartnership, who spoke of his firm’s 2010 Portrait of the American Traveler Survey. This survey of 2,500 active leisure travelers found that “Great Recession” has permanently altered travel attitudes of many Americans — especially Baby Boomers — who are now more focused on value and are waiting longer to commit to travel plans. These travelers use the Internet to be knowledgeable purchasers of leisure travel.
The Y Partnership found that today’s travelers are happier than they were ten years ago — 80% of these travelers report that economic adversity has prompted a new focus on priorities. They are proudly cost-conscious. Dunn labeled them as believing that “cheaper is chic-er.”
Florida and California are top destinations for park-interested travelers, with 33% of these travelers expressing interest in traveling abroad. And, while American travelers are environmentally consciousness, they show very limited willingness to pay extra for “green travel.”
The Y Partnership’s study found that of prime national park travelers:
- 73% say life has become too complicated.
- Twice as many have an interest in spas, than golf.
- 81% report planning a vacation around a “life event” – a birthday, anniversary, wedding or retirement – to create memories.
- National parks rank high as a dream destination (#2, at 66%), because they meet key traveler goals such as “beauty” (84%) and “safety” (82%).
- On the other hand, a key goal for many travelers is something new – and national parks rarely highlight new offerings.
Research findings such as these help national park managers and related communities, businesses and organizations more effectively focus their communications to visitor interests and motivations. More about The Summit will appear on this blog, when notes are finished being compiled. So, RSS this site for updates and more news.