The results are in from the first ever Campbell River Visitor Experience Survey, and there is good news – and more good news.
Andrea Knowles, who is in charge of media and promotions with Tourism Campbell River and Region, says ballot boxes were placed at many businesses and tourism operators where tourists could submit their name and email address to be contacted about their time here and answer a survey.
Those surveys were then analyzed by local research firm The Sociable Scientists and researchers from Vancouver Island University.
Laurel Sliskovic, owner and strategic lead of The Sociable Scientists, says the survey was done concurrently with surveys in both the Vancouver Island North and Comox Valley regions, so they will soon have a regional report for comparison purposes, as well.
Of the 927 ballots collected from the 18 ballot boxes around Campbell River, 462 respondents submitted surveys once contacted. Of those 462, 86 respondents were local residents, so there were 376 usable surveys from which to compile data.
The first bit of good news from the survey is that, based on what tourists said about their experience here this summer in their responses to the survey, we exceeded every one of their expectations.
In every category, from “Value for money,” to “Shopping opportunities,” to “Friendliness of people,” and “Customer service,” visitors were asked to rank the importance of certain facets of travel, and how the community performed in said facet, and in every category, “performance” came out on top.
In fact, visitors put “Quality of accommodation” at a 3.3 out of five in terms of importance, and we scored a perfect 5.0 in performance.
So, other than being able to pat ourselves on the back, why did they do this survey?
The data collected from this survey can serve many purposes, Sliskovic says.
Because the data covers anything from how far in advance visitors begin planning their trip to what they did while they were in the region, to whether Campbell River was their primary destination or just somewhere they went as a side-trip while visiting somewhere else, it can be used as an effective tool for anything from improving businesses’ marketing strategy to adjusting public policy at a political level to improve visitor experience.
It also gives us the opportunity to look at the marketing efforts that have been made as a region as a whole, Sliskovic says, as well as allowing for individual operators and businesses to see what the visitors who come here are saying about our community, and guide some of their marketing decisions accordingly.
For example, 51 per cent of respondents said they used their smartphones for planning during their trip, which is a signal for local businesses and organizations that they should really be optimizing their presence online.
“If your website is not mobile-ready, you may want to look at the percentage of people who are using a smartphone for trip planning while they are here,” Sliskovic told the crowd assembled at the event Nov. 30 at the Maritime Heritage Centre.
A surprise to many in the room was that 20 per cent of respondents said they did not use any type of electronic device to plan activities while they were here, instead relying on physical publications and information available to them within the community itself to find activities and events to attend.