LAKE PLACID — Internet sites trump, by far, traditional media advertising in attracting visitors to Essex County.
That’s the conclusion of the Essex County Leisure Travel Study just released by the Lake Placid-based Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST).
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“We’ve done it for 10 years,” ROOST President James McKenna said of the study. “We have a third party come in and do an evaluation.”
In this case, the third party is PlaceMaking of Plattsburgh, the firm that’s done the study for the past two years.
The results are used to determine how ROOST spends the money it gets from Essex County’s 3 percent occupancy tax, which was $1.69 million in 2012.
McKenna said they had 101,998 new contacts in 2012, the year covered by the study.
“We call those trackable leads,” he said. “We can only respond to the names we have. The company (PlaceMaking) picks 30 percent and contacts them.
“We got over 4,000 responses, and they compiled the results.”
McKenna said the study showed visitors to Essex County preferred hotel accommodations to other types such as camping, and were outdoors oriented, with hiking the No. 1 reason for visiting.
The average age was 51, the average party size, four, and 50 percent were from New York state, chiefly the Albany or New York City metro areas.
In addition, 82 percent of those who contacted them actually visited, McKenna said, based on the survey results.
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are also attracting more visitors, and the average age of those respondents is 46.
“That’s a growing area,” McKenna said.
McKenna said the survey showed 91 percent of all Essex County visitors got their information online.
“Traditional advertising is not what it used to be,” he said.
According to the report, the average visitor stay was 4.9 nights. That’s a big increase from the 2011 reported average visit duration of 2.8 nights and slightly higher than the five-year average of four nights.