Share this article

print logo

Falls marketing campaign boosts tourism by $24.5 million

NIAGARA FALLS – The agency whose job is to attract visitors to the Niagara Falls region is touting the success of its marketing campaign from last summer.

The Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. spent $264,000 on advertisements in eight markets for its “90 Days of Summer” campaign. That campaign, which focused on attracting families and couples interested in romantic getaways, brought in an additional $24.5 million in visitor spending, according to a study for the agency by Destination Analysts, a tourism market research firm based in San Francisco.

That’s a return on investment of nearly $93 for every dollar spent, according to survey results released by tourism officials. That level of return is “very high,” said Julie Gilbert, director of marketing and communications for the NTCC. The agency has not undertaken a study like this before, so there is no historical information to compare it to, Gilbert said.

While that number is considered high in terms of a return on investment, the figure is not unrealistic, said Jan Marie Chesterton, president of the state Hospitality and Tourism Association, an Albany-based group that represents businesses in various segments of the tourism industry.

While Chesterton said she knows of returns in of the 30- and 40-to-1 range, she noted that some destination-marketing organizations are better at this type of work than others.

Surveying adults in the markets where the advertising was done, Destination Analysts found the campaign generated 27,665 “incremental trips,” or trips that were a direct result of the campaign and which would not have occurred without it.

The study also found visitors stayed in the area an average of four days, with 65 percent staying overnight in a hotel, motel or inn. The average party size was 3.1 persons and the average daily spending per party was about $673.

About 41 percent said their primary reason for visiting was for a “weekend getaway,” while about 39 percent said it was for a vacation.

The campaign brought in about $979,000 in estimated tax revenue, the study found.

The categories of spending included lodging, restaurants, retail and transportation.

The markets targeted by the campaign were Brooklyn, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Erie and Scranton, Pa., and New York state, including Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Binghamton, Elmira, Utica, Watertown and the Hudson Valley.

The campaign included 15- and 30-second videos and various other advertisements both online and on local television.

“Our media buy was based in the markets that, historically, had been very strong for us,” Gilbert said, adding that Destination Analysts is typically very conservative in making its estimates.

In terms of local taxes generated by the campaign, the Destination Analysts study found almost $979,000 in revenue. That’s a return of $3.71 for every dollar spent, the study found.

In terms of how that compares to average campaigns, Chesterton, of the state tourism group, said campaigns can typically bring in returns of 8- or 12-to-1.

The survey also found nearly half of all respondents said there was at least some likelihood they would return to the region in the next 12 months.

Almost 77 percent of those surveyed said the advertising campaign effectively portrayed the Falls region as “a good place for a family vacation,” according to Destination Analysts’ study. It also found that 74 percent said the ads depicted the region as “a place that offers a unique vacation experience.”

Of those surveyed, including those who did not visit the region, roughly half said they were “likely” or “very likely” to recommend the Falls region as a place to visit, while another 29 percent said they were “somewhat likely” to do so.

Of those surveyed who visited the Falls region in the past year, more than 90 percent said they were “likely” or “very likely” to recommend it as a place to visit.