lake-george-logo-jpeg.jpgLake George, N.Y. - An electronic survey to determine specific campaign results and collect marketing data was conducted by the Warren County Tourism Department in October 2009. Those chosen to participate in the survey had downloaded Summer Savings Coupons from the Warren County Tourism Department website (www.visitlakegeorge.com) between May 1 and October 12, 2009. Visitors that provided an email address were able to download coupons worth over $1,700 in special deals and savings. If visitors provided their email, name and mailing address, they were sent savings coupons and an area Travel Guide. As an incentive to complete the survey, ten sets of miniature wooden Adirondack Chairs were offered to ten random households who completed the survey. While over 50% of those surveyed had previously researched the VisitLakeGeorge.com website, an additional 20% were referred by another website and 17% used a search engine to find the site. It is interesting to note that while 87% of respondents used the internet to research travel plans, a significant percentage (61.5%), also requested travel literature by mail. Of those who participated in the survey, 92% converted their request for information to an actual visit. Those who did not visit this summer either did not vacation during this time period (53%) or plan to visit in the future (31%). Those who chose an alternate vacation destination were looking for beach (27%) and mountains (13.6%), followed immediately by gaming (13.6%) or a cruise (9%). Of those people who used the Savings Coupons, 59% utilized attraction coupons; 58% utilized dining coupons; and 14% utilized coupons for lodging and camping. While most people (62%) visited the area on one single occasion; 23% visited two times and 15% visited 3 or more times. Interestingly, while 27% of visitors stayed 2-3 nights in the Lake George Area, another 21% stayed between 4-5 nights; 23% stayed 6-7, and 21% stayed 8 or more nights. 87% of survey respondents said they had been here before. The annual income of 39% of those completing the survey was between $81,000 and $150,000, with 23% falling into the $61,000-$80,000 bracket. Almost 10% had an annual household income of greater than $150,000. Additionally, women (66%) ages 46-60 were primarily responsible for downloading the coupons (51%), with an additional 32% falling into the 31-45 age group. 46.5% of respondents had 4 or more years of college. There was a sizeable percentage (57.5%) of travel parties with 2 adults, although another 26% travelled with 3-4 adults and 14% with 5 or more adults. Interestingly, 45% travelled without children; 37% traveled with 1-2 children and 18% travelled with 3 or more children. In terms of where vacationers are coming from, a solid 55% are from within New York State, and of that group, 54.5% are from downstate. The remaining groups of visitors are distributed between New Jersey (13%), Connecticut (11%), Massachusetts (5.5%) and Canada 4.5%. It has long been the trend that the majority of visitors are from within New York State and neighboring states - typically a 3-4 hour radius. In relation to lodging preference, the highest percentage of visitors stayed in motels (31%); followed by 20% in hotels; 15% in housekeeping cottages; 13% in campgrounds; and 12% in resorts. Just over 4% are second home owners. When asked to indicate the different types of activities they participated in while visiting the Lake George Area, 79.5% of respondents had dined out; 73.4% visited  family amusements (fun parks, cruises, mini-golf); 67.5% enjoyed factory outlet and mall shopping; followed closely by shopping for local crafts and produce at 53.5% and scenic touring at 60%. Visitors who enjoy the outdoors found plenty to see and do in the area, 40.5% of respondents participated in some sort of water sport (boating, paddling, rafting, waterskiing); 33.5% enjoyed nature and natural attractions; 21% fished; 12.6% rode horseback; 12% golfed and 5.5% bicycled. Another sub-group of vacationers took in history and heritage sites around the county (34%); visited arts and cultural venues (21%); or browsed through antique shops (21%). In terms of daily expenditures per travel party, 26% spent $101+ on meals; 25% spent $51-75; 22% spent $26-50 and 21% spent $76-100. Daily expenditures for Shopping & Souvenirs were at 27% for the $26-50 spending range; 26% for the $0-25 range; 22% for the $51-75 range; 11% for the $76-100 range and 14% in the $101+ range. Daily spending in the category of Entertainment/Attractions & Activities saw most respondents spending $26-50 per day at 26.5%; closely followed by 24% spending $51-75; 20% spending $101+; 18.5% spending $76-100; and only 11% spending $0-25. Transportation appeared to be the anomaly with 68% of respondents spending $0-25 per day. 19.5% indicated they spent $26-50 per day on transportation; 6% spent $51-75; 3.5% spent $76-100 and 3% spent over $100. Over 62% of those responding to the survey spent between $101 to $200 and more per night on lodging; 29% spent between $51-100 and 13% spent over $200.  The 10.3% that spent less than $50 on overnight accommodations is in direct correlation to the 13% of respondents who stayed in campgrounds. The Town and Village of Lake George were the most frequented communities, with 97% of respondents indicating they visited those areas. But vacationers are not spending time in just one town. Bolton Landing ranked next with 56%; Queensbury and Glens Falls ranked at 54% and 51%, respectively. 36% of visitors spent time in Warrensburg; and 24.5% in Lake Luzerne. Smaller towns around the county had fewer percentages of visits. One of the most telling statistics of the survey was that only one of the respondents who visited this summer said he would not recommend the Lake George area, and that was because he wanted to "keep the area the way it is." An incredible100% said they would visit the Lake George Area again in the future and of those, 98% rated their vacation experience good to excellent. The results of this survey are not entirely new to the Lake George Area, but rather serve to reinforce the marketing strategies already in place, along with the need to remain focused on customer trends.

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Contact: Joanne Conley Warren County Tourism Department (518) 761-7653 conleyj@co.warren.ny