The Finger Lakes Region Tourism Council has released the results of a destination market analysis for the Finger Lakes vacation region. The study was conducted on behalf of the 14 counties that make up the Finger Lakes vacation region, with the intention that it will be used as a resource to guide FLRTC activities, identify areas for collaboration and partnership, and leverage the resources of existing tourism marketing programs.
The planning began with a stakeholder survey and lifestyle segmentation analysis to develop a foundation of knowledge for the future direction of FLRTC. Consulting firm, JLL – a Chicago-based firm known for its expertise in tourism/hospitality and specializing in strategy – conducted research designed to uncover the breakdown of current market segments that were visiting the Region. The methodology utilized individual county’s inquiry databases and engaged Nielson Companies to use their PRIZM data for market analysis.
JLL’s research coded over 100,000 visitor records from 2014. The research found that the highest concentration of the top market segments resided within a 400-mile radius of the Finger Lakes Region. The research identified the primary visitor to the Finger Lakes region as older, without children in the home, living in a small town or rural environment with an upscale lifestyle.
In addition, a stakeholder survey was sent to over 4,000 tourism stakeholders at related businesses and organizations as well as local and state elected officials and agencies to gain their feedback on current priorities and future focus. The survey received strong feedback from the industry with attractions, hotels/lodging, cultural institutions and museums, and retail having the highest response rate.
Stakeholders identified additional marketing support in shoulder seasons as most important and believe added research support to target visitors is the most valuable tool for FLRTC to continue to raise the profile of the Region. The stakeholder survey results showed that messaging related to the broad spectrum of outdoors activities is what has the greatest impact on why a visitor comes to the Region.
The goal of this study, and the overall approach, was to engage the Board of Directors, stakeholders and strategic partners in determining key areas of future focus for FLRTC that would support tourism in the Finger Lakes Region.
The FLRTC plans to focus its 2017 efforts on marketing initiatives identified and supported by these results. Top priorities for the organization will include the continuation of a 7-year collaborative, regional public relations program and the development of a new “content rich” destination website – for which the region recently was awarded a NYS grant to pursue. In the future, the organization plans to increase its joint marketing efforts, expand on digital and social media efforts and increase advocacy among key officials and stakeholder to further support a region-wide tourism message. Experience and product development for high impact tourism assets within the Finger Lakes will also be a long-term priority for the organization.
“This project has been an ongoing effort from the region to support and grow tourism in the Finger Lakes – and help us better support our partners,” says Mike Linehan, president and CEO of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council. “We look forward to using the results of this study to strengthen our regional efforts and continue to promote this great destination.”
The project was funded by a grant awarded to the FLRTC by New York State’s Empire State Development and the I ♥ NY Division of Tourism, under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.
The Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council
The breathtaking Finger Lakes takes its name from eleven lakes spanning the region like a giant handprint, stretching from its easternmost point in Onondaga County to its westernmost border in Livingston County, near Letchworth State Park. Boasting a mix of nature trails and natural beauty, wineries and breweries scattered across the region, and quaint villages close to large metropolitan areas, the Finger Lakes Vacation Region has a plethora of tourist attractions within its borders.
In January 2014, the 14 Official County Tourism Promotion Agencies of the Finger Lakes Vacation Region formed a 501(c)(3) organization known as the Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council (FLRTC). The FLRTC Board includes representation from all 14 TPAs and counties: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates. For information about attractions and events throughout the Finger Lakes region, visit www.fingerlakestravelny.com or call 1-888-408-1693.