Tourism Management Commission reports high conversion rates

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kimberly Duncan/For South Strand News The Tourism Marketing Commission meets monthly to discuss how Georgetown County is marketed.

Georgetown County’s Tourism Management Commission (TMC) learned the gross year-to-date economic impact of visitor spending, based solely on conversion, is approximately $5.8 million.Total gross visitor spending is rapidly approaching $50 million.

A conversion study produced by Texas A&M University’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences (engaged by eBrains, the TMC’s partner with regard to marketing via email and the Internet) shows the gross year-to-date economic impact of visitor spending.

Summary conclusions regarding trip dynamics show visitors are taking fewer long vacations but more frequent getaways. Visitor parties seem to be skewing smaller; in-state visitors numbers are up and tipping toward older guests (56.9 percent are 55 or older) with higher household incomes ($95,000 or more). Additionally, in the shoulder seasons alone, tourism has increased 18 percent in the last two years.

Further, the TMC spreadsheets show a strong cash position through the end of the fiscal year in June. The TMC is approximately $109,000 under budget on expenses.

A Report on Advertising Spending (ROAS) showed

current campaigns, running through June, are reflecting strong response numbers. To date in 2014, there have been more than 1,000 unique web views of The Hammock Coast’s eGuide and more than 600 website requests for additional information.

Nearly 18,000 pieces of mail were sent to those who requested information, including requests generated by email campaigns to a well-qualified database of approximately 135,000.

Forty thousand new visitor guides should be delivered soon. This piece will be used for fulfillment and will be distributed throughout the County, as well.

Other noteworthy figures offered at the April 17 meeting include:

• Year-to-date, there has been a 50 percent increase in lead fulfillment between Fiscal 2013 and Fiscal 2014.

• Local accommodation tax collections are up 7 percent over last year.

• Local hospitality tax collections are up 6 percent.

• Average cost per lead shows a 25 percent decrease from Fiscal 2013.

• A full 34 percent of visitors drive between 251 and 1,000+ miles to visit The Hammock Coast.

TMC Goals include:

• Increasing online advertising with in-content and native opportunities;

• Working with SCPRT to utilize their cooperative opportunities and piggyback their “Undiscovered SC” campaign;

• Invest in improvements to the HammockCoastSC.com website to drive more traffic; and

• Capitalize on the popularity of outdoor recreation and adventure.

The next TMC meeting will be held on May 8 at 3:30 p.m. at The Lachicotte Company in Pawleys Island. Meetings are open, and the public is encouraged to attend. Direct questions to Lauren Cobb Joseph at 546-8436.

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