Q: Who is visiting, and who is not? --> Part 1: Defining Visitor (and Non-Visitor) Groups

At Summus Insights, we know you need to fundamentally understand who is walking through your door, and who is walking right past...

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Q: How do you accurately define your visitor (and non-visitor) groups?

A: By compiling and analyzing a Demographic Profile of Visitors and Non-Visitors!

A demographic profile (or “demographic”) is a term used in marketing and market research to describe a demographic grouping or a market segment.

Profiling KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and other survey questions by demographic groupings is typically the first step in any researcher’s analytical process and serves as the basis for analysis and report writing. The primary demographics examined are usually age, gender, region, and traveller status. In some cases, secondary demographics – marital status, parental status, education, employment, income level, social class, race, ethnicity, immigration status – are more appropriate.

Keeping in mind the main reason for creating a demographic profile is to better understand the visitor (and non-visitor), researchers look to achieve two goals:

  1. To define the segments or subgroups that exist in the overall population; and
  2. To create a clear and complete picture of the characteristics of a typical member of the defined segments.

In preparation for creating a demographic profile of visitors, it is important to recognize how each visitor segment was previously defined (if applicable). This process is two-fold:

First, review the appropriateness of the current definition for the visitor segments, taking the following into consideration:

  • current trends in visitation (i.e., shift towards families visiting with children);
  • current shifts in demographics (i.e., aging population, increasing ethnic diversity, urbanization);
  • current shifts in the competitive landscape (i.e., a decline in leisure travel from the United States, the shift towards staycations);

Second, review the appropriateness of the analytical technique(s) used to define the visitor segments; was it an arbitrary process, or were advanced analytics such as market segmentation and/or data mining used?

There are two scenarios where we would recommend you consider updating the definition of your visitor segments – through advanced analytics – before generating a demographic profile of visitors:

  • If your actual visitor composition or visitation numbers have dramatically changed in recent years; or
  • If your visitor segments were created through an arbitrary process.

At Summus Insights, we see the value of the interplay of demography and suggest our clients use advanced analytics – market segmentation – to define their core stakeholder groups. In doing so, our clients walk away with a more holistic segmentation whereby researchers and clients’ biases do not affect the model. The end result is a deeper understanding of their own visitor base and environment.

Typically, gathering the statistics used to generate a demographic profile of visitors is done onsite - either by the organization or a third party provider. As shown below, each method has its' advantages: 

  • The organization - box office or other staff collects basic demographic and party composition information usually at the point of purchase or upon entry or exit of the facility. ADVANTAGE: census of all visitors; is not subject to non-random recruitment bias.
  • A third-party provider - interviewers collect basic demographic and party composition information from a selection of visitors to the facility. ADVANTAGE: offers more objectivity of results, and less demand on the organizations' staff.

For onsite studies, one of two sampling techniques can be employed:

  • Convenience Sample: In this case, interviewers begin by selecting the first eligible respondent they encounter; once they complete an interview they will approach the next available person they see. Although not entirely randomized, this technique is well suited for areas with lower traffic flows or in cases of low incidence sample populations (i.e., a very targeted sample). It is often also used when a client wants to maximize the number of completes within a stated budget.
  • Interval Sample: In this case, interviewers begin by selecting the first eligible respondent they encounter; thereafter, every nth person that passes them will be invited to participate. The interval is determined prior to data collection and depends on the expected traffic flow and incidence level of the sample.

The decision between the two is best made once the traffic flow, incidence levels, project budget and project timelines are all fully disclosed.

Once the visitor data has been collected, cleaned and analyzed, the profile of visitors can be compiled. A properly constructed visitor profile with well-defined segments can be used to guide a multitude of business and marketing decisions. Select examples include:

  • When and where should advertising be placed?
  • Is our marketing content well suited to the preferences of our visitor groups?
  • Should a particular product or service be discontinued?
  • Etc.

Importantly, we also strongly recommend developing a demographic profile of non-visitors to better understand the composition, wants and needs of this group.

Gathering the statistics used to generate a demographic profile of non-visitors is done by conducting a general population survey that targets lapsed visitors (those who have not visited during a certain timeframe) and non-visitors (those who have never visited). Alternatively, if available, the lapsed visitors can be targeted using client lists, but only if they have given permission to be contacted.

Once the data has been collected, cleaned and analyzed, the profile of non-visitors can be compiled. A properly constructed profile that includes barriers to visitation information (including familiarity scores) will help organizations better understand if any potential for conversion exists and what factors come into play when deciding where and how they spend their leisure time.

Q: How can you create a demographic profile of visitors and/or non-visitors? 

A: Our Summus Insights team can help!

We put our extensive analytical expertise into practice to employ approaches and methodologies that are contextually relevant to you in order to deliver research-driven strategic advice and solutions.

We assist our clients by:

  • helping them identify the right questions to ask;
  • working with them to make the survey process an unobtrusive as possible for the visitor and non-visitor; and
  • Advising on key considerations surrounding privacy laws and anti-spam laws in Canada (if applicable).

Need help? Contact Summus Insights lo learn more about this analytical solution.