Destination Gettysburg began working with California University of Pennsylvania in 2007 to get a better understanding of the traveler to Gettysburg. The intercept survey collects information on demographic, spending, communication and perception of our visitor while in market. Now in the eleventh year, the team has established a ten-year median (middle value, half of the data points fall below this number and the other half above). Using the median value eliminates outliers, or extremely high or low values that are not truly reflective of the data set. Throughout the report, 2018 data is compared both to 2017 data as well as the ten-year median value.
97.2 percent of visitors surveyed were from the United States with the primary visitation coming from Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Virginia, Ohio and New Jersey. Strong catchment areas include Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and southeastern Pennsylvania along the borders of New Jersey and Maryland. This is reflective of our target markets. International visitation made up 2.8 percent of the total, slightly below the ten-year median of three percent.
The average age of the adult visitor to Adams County is 48, down from the age of 52. The average age was increasing, from 2010 to 2015, the age of our visitor had grown from 49 to 53. This number came down to 52 by 2016 and remained there in 2017. In addition to our strategic change in messaging and targeting, the launch of the Adams County Pour Tour as a new marketing platform has shown movement in the direction of our goal to reduce the average age. This is important, as we must always have a new visitor stream coming into the market. It does not mean we are moving away from our existing visitor, simply building a sustainable audience for future tourism.
Repeat visitation hit an all-time high of 60.7 percent, up 0.7 percent over 2017. The purpose for the visit was primarily pleasure trips at 87.7 percent, which is up 2.1 percent from 2017. Business travel, making up 3.7 percent of visitation, appeared to be down slightly by 1.1 percent, as was visiting friends and family.
Length of Stay
Travel duration is broken down by day trips, overnights and number of overnights. It is important to note that 58.9 percent of visitors surveyed in 2018 were staying over. The 40.1 percent staying one day or less is down over 2017 by 4.2 percent. Those staying more than one night came in at 36.4 percent, down 5.6 percent from 2017 while those staying one night was up 8.1 percent at 21.8 percent of those surveyed. The media length of stay for those staying overnight is two nights.
When asked what attracted the visitor to the destination, historical value continues to top the list at 59.1 percent followed by attractions/events, then family/friends/heritage. Convenience and work also made the top five reasons to visit. Respondents were asked if they would be visiting the Gettysburg National Military Park while in the destination. 90.7 percent noted that they would. This figure dropped 1.8 percent from 2017.
What does all of this mean for you as a business owner? This information can be used to assist you in your marketing to visitors. If you are marketing through Destination Gettysburg, whether it be your general membership benefits or paid programs such as the Inspiration Guide, digital retargeting or co-op advertising, our visitor is changing. They are looking for a full getaway and seek unique experiences to extend their stay unlike the visitor of years ago who was here for four hours to visit the battlefield. If you have a dedicated marketing budget that you are using for outside of the market, consider the location where our visitors are coming from, as it is easier to attract more of the same with a limited budget. For additional data or to discuss how you can better develop your marketing plan and messaging, contact Stacey Fox, email@example.com.
Last week, Destination Gettysburg traveled to IPW, the largest international travel tradeshow in North America, and the most significant generator of visitors to the United States.
Sales Manager Nicole Absher and Director of Public and Media Relations Natalie Buyny were among 6,300 IPW delegates this year working with both international buyers and media to attract more visitors to Adams County from foreign countries.
In just three days, Destination Gettysburg met with approximately 60 journalists and international/domestic buyers who were interested in learning more about Gettysburg and Adams County. Our destination's top five international markets are Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, China and Australia. A large majority of the prescheduled appointments were with representatives from these countries.
While history remains a top draw for international visitors, both journalists and operators are increasingly showing interest in culinary, recreation, agritourism and other experiences, including the new Adams County Pour Tour.
International visitation and spending represents a small, but important part of Adams County's tourism industry. Foreign visitors typically stay longer and spend more money in their travels.
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