LAKE PLACID, NY – The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism has published results her 2021 Free time trip STUDYwhich analyzes non-business trip in Lake Placid, Essex and Hamilton counties, along with the adjacent communities of Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake.
of free time trip survey is carried out annually to identify trip trends, assess the impact of marketing initiatives and implement data-driven decisions.
“We base our marketing decisions on available data, insights and trends so we can optimize results”, said James McKenna, CEO, Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. “This survey continues to provide information that allows us to better understand free time travelers in our region.”
The three main findings include: for the first time, the proportion of travelers who visited the region during the autumn months (30%) exceeded the proportion of summer visitors (26%); approximately 75% of visitors to the region traveled from within New York State; and a near record level of 211,930 travelers contacted the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism to request trip– related information before their trip, in addition to those who simply visit the organization’s websites, printed materials and social channels.
Results of 2021 survey were more closely related to results before the impact of COVID-19 on trip in 2020. This was a year that saw unprecedented visitation trends including more travelers from New York State and significantly fewer out-of-state visits (5%) due to trip limitations. 2020 also saw a much longer length of stay and larger party size, both suggesting that people wanted to vacate more populated regions of the state for the relative solitude of the Adirondacks.
Survey results are usually compared to a year ago, along with a 5-year average, however this year, 2021 results are being compared to those of 2019.
“We have to look at 2020 a little differently, as there was a marked increase in party size and length of stay, both contributing directly to a significant increase in spend,” said Jane Hooper, communications manager, Office Regional Sustainable Tourism. “While we can look at the 2020 survey as a benchmark, we should not directly compare results of 2021 survey with the 2020 survey, due to the unusual circumstances of the pandemic.”
Other significant findings include that the average length of stay in the region is approximately 3.4 days, and the vast majority of people choose to stay in a hotel or other rental accommodation. Most people visit from July to October and outdoor activities are an important reason to visit. Of those who visited, 79% indicated that hiking was an activity of interest; of those 69% were interested in daily growth, 33% were interested free time or hiking on difficult terrain, along with 28% interested in family hiking and 12% interested in hiking high peaks. Driving was another important activity for about 34% of travelers. Total expenses for travel to 2021 it was roughly $1,390 with lodging, food, and shopping making up the majority of that amount; an increase of 17% compared to 2019.
of survey found some minor differences in visitor behavior between those who visited Essex County and others who visited Hamilton County. Most visitors to Essex County (43%) stayed at a hotel/motel/resort as opposed to camping (11%), long-term rentals (16%) or staying with friends (15%). Those who traveled to Hamilton County stayed at campgrounds (26%), a hotel/motel (23%), or their second home (18%) during their stay.
“Outdoor recreation remains popular in the Adirondacks,” commented Hooper. “Survey results continue to support him. This confirms that our marketing efforts should continue to focus on outdoor recreation, controlling the impacts of that recreation by promoting the importance of responsible recreation through Love your ADK campaign.”
The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism contracted with PlaceMaking, an independent third-party research firm, to conduct survey. of results include a regional analysis of marketing ROI, plus traveler data for Essex and Hamilton counties.
Respondents do not represent all travelers in the region, only those who have viewed Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism marketing materials, followed the organization’s Facebook pages or subscribed to its weekly email. The entire report, which includes data on day trip travelers, short-term rentals and additional information, is available for download at RoostADK.com.
About the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism
The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism is the destination marketing and management organization for Essex and Hamilton counties, which includes the Lake Placid region, along with the communities of Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake, all located within the Adirondacks of New York State. The organization is also a community member of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.
Top photo: Ampersand Mountain, a popular hike in the Saranac Lake area, offers beautiful views of the region. Photo provided by Jane Hooper of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.