San Francisco CVB study shows each visitor to their website generates $15.85 in spending.
The San Francisco CVB recently concluded a year-long study of traffic to the city’s official visitor Web site, http://www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com. The study, conducted by Destination Analysts, (DA) showed that for every 1,000 visitors to the site, $15,850 in direct spending is generated in San Francisco based on incremental visits and extending stay. The Bureau expects to attract at least 3 million unique visitors to the site in the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2009, generating an estimated $45 million in additional spending.
Destination Analyst used methodology that employed intercept surveys of visitors where questions were asked about intent to visitation intent followed later by post-visitation a post visitation survey to determine the website’s influence on their decision and spending patterns. We caught up David Bratton, one of the partners in DA (and, along with his colleague Erin Cummings, a recent presenter at two previous E-Tourism Summit events) to ask about methodology he used. In addition to San Francisco, ROI studies are currently in progress for Phoenix and Louisville.
E-Tourism Summit: How was the study conducted?
David Bratton: The research was conducted over the course of one year, and used data collected in two surveys. First, visitors to the website were randomly intercepted and asked to take a brief survey. This initial survey identified the person’s reason for visiting the website, and if they were a member of what we call the “non-commercial” website user segments (i.e.consumers) they were queried as to the type of trip they were planning (if any), how far along they were in their decision making process (i.e., had they decided to visit already?) and in what month they expected to visit San Francisco.
Data from website survey was appended to data collected in a follow-up visitor survey (described below.) This allowed us to track actual visitor activity from the point a person visited the website to the time they visited San Francisco (or not). Second, a follow-up survey was sent to persons completing the first survey. This survey was sent at the end of the month in which they said they were likely to visit. (Persons who did not know when they would visit received the follow-up survey three months after their visit to the website.) In this follow-up survey respondents were asked about their travels after visiting the website, the perceived influence of the website on their decision to visit and their length of stay in market, spending, etc.
E-Tourism Summit: For the SF study, how were you able to determine intent vs actual visit ratio? What was the ratio?
David Bratton: A set of highly conservative standards were put in place to identify visitors who think the website influenced their destination decision. A person must not have (1) made up their mind to visit before arriving at the website (Survey 1), (2) later made a leisure visit to the city, (3) believe that the website actually helped them make their decision to visit and (4) think that the website was either “Important” or “Very important” to this destination decision. The website’s impact on potential visitor’s length of stay in the city was estimated similarly based on user feedback. Cannot release ratio information with SFCVB consent
ET: How were you able to determine whether the website—and more specifically—what portion of the site, influenced their decision to actual visit SF?
David Bratton: It is described above. The research was not designed to measure the effect of specific elements of the website on later traveler behavior, rather we measure the impact of the overall website user experience on behaviors in the marketplace.