News & Views

A Key to Reopening: Consumer Data

It feels like much of the U.S. is taking a step forward and two backwards as a unified strategy against COVID-19 eludes us. While reopening continually presents challenges, it’s imperative to take the pulse of the people living and traveling in destinations, to help guide strategies that will shape the future of destinations and tourism.

The best way to do this: follow the data.

Having numbers, consumer data, quantitative evidence of what people are thinking, will help create stability during these turbulent times. As DMOs, tourism boards and policy makers gather to decide the future of a destination and how to reopen it to travelers, they need all the help they can get.

Consumer sentiment locally

For one, it’s prudent to know what locals think about reopening procedures and about inviting out of town visitors to experience their cities and regions. Having data to support decisions – for most people, at least – helps provide more surefire arguments for policy decisions, and it’s no different in the travel industry.

Consumer sentiment beyond

If a destination has a handle on what locals are thinking, then looking to target markets to understand their perceptions will be better. For a city seeking to capture local travelers within the region – be it intrastate travelers or Canadians just across the border, consumer data on that population will be vital. It’s essential to know what they are thinking, how they are planning, and what their perception of your destination are in order to make the right decisions.

Follow the consumer data

It’s easy to look to existing data, like DCI’s own research on generational divides, but having targeted, focused, localized results are even better. National trends are not local trends when it comes to reopening and reviving an economy following a pandemic.

Recent reports already show how perceptions of locals have helped guide decision making, notably in Canada, where the border is currently closed to U.S. citizens. Northern Minnesotans were likely as apprehensive with an increase in visitors looking to get away from the masses.

Were decisions to remain open or close regions guided by data? With so much going on at the moment, it’s difficult for destinations to report on consumer sentiments easily. Clear data on these consumers, however, is quickly shifting from a “nice to have” to a “must.”

Love him or hate him, New York Governor Cuomo insisted for weeks that we follow the data – and New York has recovered from its deadly spikes as the nation’s COVID epicenter. Now as other destinations are facing questions of reopening, they need to follow data, too.

It’s one of many considerations moving forward, but the goal is the same. We all want travelers to visit again, to support local businesses, and to bring back those tourism dollars that we miss so dearly. Being informed and armed with the right evidence towards a successful reopening procedure will be the key to that success.

That’s where DCI comes in to help. We’re offering two types of tailored research studies. First, we can study the consumer sentiment in your destination to understand how locals are reacting to reopening. Second, we can analyze consumer sentiment in a target market to learn if and how a certain population may be perceiving your destination. Either way, we’ll tailor the study to you and your needs, providing important consumer data.

Our research team is prepared to discuss a consumer survey to help inform your reopening policies in the coming weeks. Get in touch with Robyn Domber at [email protected] to learn about this unique offer to get a snapshot of your target consumer base to support your efforts.

Written By

Robyn Domber

Robyn is DCI’s Vice President of Research. In this role, she spearheads all of the firm’s primary and secondary research efforts, including surveys, focus groups, data analysis and result compilation. She joined DCI with 15 years of experience in the site selection and economic development consulting field.

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