2015 Key Messages for Wisconsin’s Tourism Industry How did Wisconsin’s tourism economy fare in 2014?
Tourism activity in the state was up $1 billion, from $17.5 billion in 2013 to $18.5 billion in 2014 according to research conducted by Tourism Economics and Longwoods International. This 5.5% growth was prompted by increases in both visits and spending per trip.
The past four years have been outstanding for Wisconsin’s tourism industry. Since 2010, tourism activity is up by $3.7 billion, a 25% increase. This is the first time in four years that all 72 counties posted a positive increase in visitor spending.
Visitor growth in 2014 topped 102 million, an increase of 7 million visits since 2010.
Other positive industry indicators included a 5.3% increase in per trip spending led by recreation and entertainment (7.8%), lodging (7.2%), and food and beverage (6.4%). Wisconsin’s lodging sector had their strongest year since 2011, with room demand growing by 3.5% and average room rates increasing by 3.7%.
What does traveler spending mean for Wisconsin jobs and tax revenue?
Traveler spending is a significant source of employment and taxes. Largely comprised of small businesses, travel and hospitality jobs can’t be outsourced or exported.
Tourism supported 187,643 jobs with a total personal income of $4.8 billion. The tourism industry added over 6,200 jobs to Wisconsin’s total employment since 2011.
Visitors generated $1.4 billion in state and local revenue, saving Wisconsin taxpayers $620 per household.
How does tourism influence perceptions of Wisconsin?
Tourism generates a positive impression of the state’s image, which is critical for economic development.
Longwoods International conducted research to measure how tourism advertising and visitation influences consumers’ perception of the state. Travelers who have visited Wisconsin in the past two years rate the state much higher in attributes such as a good place to live, start a business, attend college, or purchase a retirement home than those who have not visited the state.
What is the tourism outlook for 2015?
U.S. travel is returning to high levels of optimism with positive travel intentions for 2015. In fact, 32% of U.S. leisure travelers plan to increase their travel spending in 2015 and 57% indicate they plan to spend about the same according to the “State of the American Traveler” survey.
Lower gas prices have produced a positive impact on consumers’ discretionary incomes and travel habits.
What are some trends impacting the tourism industry?
Travelers are looking for experiential vacations. This is demonstrated by the strong growth in food and beverage as well as recreational spending, which outpaced retail last year. In fact, almost half of U.S. travelers actively look for food and dining information as an important part of their destination decision according to the report “State of the American Traveler,” one of the largest studies of U.S. leisure travelers. A summary of the survey is available online.
Americans are leaving 429 million unused vacation days on the table every year, and with those days, $160 billion in economic opportunity is lost. Not only will employers have to pay out these liabilities in the long term when employees leave or retire, in the short term it affects employees’ health, performance, and productivity, all of which can undermine company success.
How is the Department marketing Wisconsin?
The Department markets the state as the premier destination for fun, whether it’s leveraging the power of celebrities with Wisconsin ties in ad campaigns, bringing in the nation’s top travel writers to experience our destinations, providing reliable and inspiring travel information to potential visitors, or attracting lucrative sporting events, meetings and conventions.
The most recent TV ad starring UW Madison basketball coach Bo Ryan aired during the Big Ten and NCAA Championships and received over 6 million impressions. In addition, it has been viewed online over 526,000 times, a record for any ad in the Department’s history.
Last year’s public relations efforts generated over $114 million in earned media with coverage in TheNew York Times, Chicago Tribune, Singapore Times, the Miami Herald, the Japan Times, the Washington Post and the LA Times. Over the last four years, earned media topped $284 million.
A record 5 million users visited TravelWisconsin.com, an increase of 146%.
The Department’s public relations, social media and marketing efforts have garnered 65 state, regional, national and international awards and recognitions since May 2011.
How do you measure the return on investment for tourism marketing?
The Department’s marketing strategy based on “fun” continues to resonate. For every $1 the Department spent on its 2014 summer and fall advertising campaigns, $6 was returned to state and local governments in incremental tax revenue.
According to a case study report produced by Longwoods International for the U.S. Travel Association, states such as Michigan that maintain or increase funding for their destination marketing seize market share. On the other hand, those states such as Colorado or Washington State that cut programs suffer immediate revenue shortfalls and other negative consequences. The study is available on the U.S. Travel website.
Explain the research model used by Tourism Economics.
Tourism Economics uses an Input-Output (I-O) IMPLAN model that profiles an economy by measuring the relationships among industries and consumers.
It calculates three levels of impact – direct, indirect, and induced.
Direct Impact: Visitor’s expenditures on recreation, lodging, restaurants and attractions.
Indirect Impact: The flow of a visitor’s expenditures as it traced to food wholesalers and farmers, utilities, marketing, publishing, and so on.
Induced Impact: The benefits to the economy as tourism employees spend their wages in the local economy, generating additional jobs, taxes, and wages.
Why Longwoods International and Tourism Economics?
Longwoods International produces Return on Investment (ROI) research, measuring the effectiveness of tourism advertising campaigns to generate incremental increases in traveler spending.
Longwoods International and Tourism Economics are both globally recognized leaders in travel research, with over 30 years of experience and hospitality clients that include Michigan, Ohio, Philadelphia, Canada, InterContinental Hotels to name just a few.
What are some data sources used by Tourism Economics?
Sources include Longwoods International, Bureau of Economics Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Smith Travel Research, US Census data, among others.