Why Destination Research is Important
There are three areas that come to mind when asked “why is destination research important?” – Clarity, Confidence and Customer Centric. Clarity You really have two choices when making a decision: you can guess what you think the answer might be or you can conduct research to provide data driven clarity and direction. There is […]
There are three areas that come to mind when asked “why is destination research important?” – Clarity, Confidence and Customer Centric.
You really have two choices when making a decision: you can guess what you think the answer might be or you can conduct research to provide data driven clarity and direction. There is a motto that I’ve used in my 25+ years of destination research and that is “you’ll never know until you ask the question.” This is true for many areas: What is the economic impact of our festival or event? What does our visitor look like? What are our primary and secondary visitor markets? etc. WE can make decision on what we think or we can make decisions based on data. It’s important to remember that data equals truth. Saying data equals truth is not always a positive, there are times where initiatives have to be redirected or cancelled because the data shows the initiative is not working.
Collecting useful data is the foundation for the second area and that is confidence. Remember earlier I mentioned data equals truth. The data lays the foundation for destinations to be confident in decision making. In our business we’ve worked with destination who thought they knew the right answer but when the data came back, the answer was different. I think we all would rather make adjustments to initiatives for the better than continuing to push initiative that are not working. When you have confidence in the data, it makes the decision-making process easier and more foundational.
We all know “politics” can come into play. Whether it be elected officials or someone of significance or importance within your destination. The “politics” of making a decision can get in the way. Data-driven confidence allows destinations to prove their self-worth. A great example of this is a city council saying we need a splash pad because neighboring communities putting one in so it must be great, yet our research says that our market is older couple age 65+. Not sure the expense of a splash pad is being financially responsible. That example may be a bit extreme, but we see many decisions being made within destinations without data to back up the decision. So, you have to ask yourself: “Do I have confidence in the decision being made with the customer in mind?”
That brings us to the third and final area: customer centric. Once research is conducted, it should provide clarity and confidence that customer-centric decisions can be made to impact your destination. We tend to get confused at times as to who are “customers” are. Your customers are more than those who visit you, they are also your residents. Residents are your biggest cheerleader and your biggest critic. Developing customer focused decisions, that are rooted with a data driven foundation, is tough to question. Generally, the research leads to initiatives that provide what your customers want.
For more information on Destination Research please contact Greg Fuson at Chandlerthinks at email@example.com.
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