When Snowstorm Hits Toronto, Residents Flee & Warm Weather Destinations Win

February 7, 2018

As if it weren’t obvious from today’s snowfall in Toronto, winter’s not over yet! Our friendly Ontario groundhog, Wiarton Willie, and both Farmers’ Almanac and AccuWeather predict that there’s more winter to come. Experts say we’ll have below-average temps in February and above-average snowfall in March. The good news? Torontonians are prepared to escape the winter weather.

In a recent survey*, Torontonians noted that—given the snowy and cold outlook—compared to last winter, they feel:

Winter Travel Intentions Among Toronto Residents

Where are they likely to head?

Most Likely Winter Vacation Destinations Among Toronto Residents

Ontario-based travel agents from Advantage Tours, Carl Henderson and Travel & Events Jubilee confirmed Torontonians’ increased interest in travelling to warmer climates this winter. They also noted that the destinations they’re most frequently asked to book are California, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the outlier, the South Pacific.

So how can DMOs capitalize on this forecasted travel pattern?

1. Shift Digital Advertising, Paid Search and Retargeting Dollars: If you’re a warm-weather destination looking to capitalize on this increased travel interest among Torontonians, it makes sense to shift some of your paid media spend in the digital space to target Torontonians seeking warm-weather getaways—especially today.

2. Pitch Travel Packages to Media: If you’re a public relations pro who has strong relationships with Toronto-based media, including online outlets, now’s the time to remind them of the great spring travel packages your region can offer Torontonians looking to escape the snow.

3. Incentive Travel Agents to Sell: It can’t hurt to launch a quick-hit travel agent incentive—like a Visa gift card, a seat on a future FAM trip, or merchandise—supported by email marketing that features the best travel packages for sale in your destination. Reinforce your message with a training webinar that highlights what sets your destination apart from your competitive set.

It’s not only travel that’s affected by the threat of colder weather in February and snowier weather in March. Compared to last winter:

  • 50.8% of Toronto residents plan to read more books
  • 47.3% plan to socialize more with friends or family
  • 44.8% plan to go to the movies more
  • 36.5% plan to spend more time on social media
  • 27% plan to spend more time engaged in outdoor activities (a positive sign for ski resorts!)

* This study of 400 Toronto residents was conducted in late December 2017 and January 2018 by Development Counsellors International, the tourism research firm with offices in Toronto and Montreal. This study asked Torontonians if the winter weather forecast would impact their travel plans and, if so, where they were likely to travel and what types of activities they were likely to pursue.

Where are you escaping to this winter? Tweet us at @aboutdci!

Karyl Leigh Barnes

Written by Karyl Leigh Barnes

Karyl Leigh Barnes is President of DCI’s Tourism Practice. Since joining the firm in 1998, Karyl Leigh has led destination strategy and created marketing communication programs for destinations on every continent except Antarctica.

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