Research

Visit Williamsburg's third-party research partner is Strategic Marketing and Research Insights (SMARI), an Indianapolis-based full-service research firm with a focus on travel and tourism. The organization has more than 33 years of proven experience, having worked with 20 state tourism organizations, 38 convention and visitors bureaus, and 23 attractions. 

SMARI is responsible for the development and execution of a comprehensive research program, including consumer perception, ad effectiveness/return on investment, monthly trend newsletter, consumer sentiment, and more. 

 

Traveler Focus Group Summary

Visit Williamsburg’s research partner, SMARI, and advertising agency, Connelly Partners, conducted nine focus groups in May of 2020. The objectives were to explore the behaviors and underlying emotions that drive domestic destination considerations, identify common journey points, sources and sequences, and explore the effects that COVID-19 has had on anticipated travel plans. Read the full summary here

 

Black Traveler Research Report

There is a growing societal interest in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and it is one of many important trends in the travel and tourism industry. Visit Williamsburg is interested in understanding how the destination is perceived among different audiences to potentially inform marketing strategies the destination may develop for a variety of minority audiences and travelers who identify as LGBTQ+. Read the full report here.

 

Advertising Effectiveness & Return on Investment (ROI) Study

2022

  • In Jan. through April 2022 advertising generated 51% awareness, reaching 8.6 million target households. Read the full summary here.

  • Additional media investment from May to June led ad awareness to grow from 51% to 52%, equating to about 300,000 additional ad-aware households. Read the full summary here.

2021

  • The fall-themed, holiday-themed, and other advertising that ran during the 2021 fall and holiday seasons each reached about a third of target households. Combined, 45% of target households recall seeing any of this advertising. Read the full summary here.

2020

  • The 2020 “Life.at your pace” advertising campaign included linear TV/CTV, digital banner, social, and influencer content advertising. The digital banner and social ads included summer, fall, and holiday executions. Read the full summary here.
  • The 2020 advertising campaign reached 46% of target households, or 4.4 million people. Read the full summary here

2019 

  • Visit Williamsburg influenced more than 350,000 trips to the destination in 2019 with its paid promotions. This resulted in more than $400 million in influenced visitor spending, or $86 for every $1 spent on marketing. Read the full summary here.

 

Travel Trends Newsletter

2022

January

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2021

December

November

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August

July

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May

April

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2020

December

November

October

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August

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January

 

Third-Party Resources

U.S. Travel Association 2022 Election Results Freshman Profiles

Expedia 2022 Q4 Traveler Insights Report

American Hotel & Lodging Association Tax Study 2022

Expedia 2022 Q2 Traveler Insights Report

U.S. Travel Association August 2022 Messaging Guide

U.S. Travel Association September 2022 Messaging Guide

Skift Research State of Travel 2022

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