By Alexandra Ross, Economic Development Specialist for the Town of Okotoks
Okotoks Economic Development conducted a Tourism survey with the help of their summer student and volunteers. During three major events, BuskersFest, Taste of Okotoks and Okotoks Show and Shine, a total of 165 visitors were surveyed.
We would like to thank everyone who took the time to answer our questions, which helps us to find out where the majority of our visitors are coming from, gender, age, and, most importantly, how they learned about the individual events. In addition, we asked how often they are visiting Okotoks, reasons for the additional visits and where they spend their money.
The results of this survey will help Economic Development as well as Community Programs and Events to determine which advertising tools are most successful and generate the best return on marketing investment. Economic Development will be able to develop a focused marketing campaign to ensure the highest success rate and increase attendance, which could build a foundation to expand certain events and also may help downtown businesses to take advantage of this type of market intelligence.
For example, Jasmine Harbour opened their retail store on the Sunday during the Show and Shine event and noted a solid increase in traffic. The store owner explained that there were people coming into the store to use their washroom facilities however they also had to walk by their merchandise and as a result spent money. Jasmine Harbour stated that it was worthwhile to open the store on a Sunday.
The survey showed that 50% of the attendees are residents of Okotoks and 33% from Calgary; the balance of the visitors are from the region, but also as far as Red Deer and Edmonton and some international visitors from Scotland and England!
While a large portion of the attendees, most likely locals, heard of the events via “word of mouth”. The other major vehicles are social media, followed by publications such as our new Visitor and Activities Guide, Calgary publications and a variety of websites the events are advertised on and showcased.
Over 50% of the visitors are in town on a weekly basis and besides attending festival and events, the reasons for visiting are shopping, dining, visiting friends and family, which is comparable to the amount of people that enjoy the outdoors and recreational amenities here in Okotoks.
Almost 65% of the visitors will shop and dine in downtown, while approximately 30% will shop and dine in the greater Okotoks area. Spectator sports and cultural activities make up about 15% of the visits. Out of 15 events, the most popular and well-attended event for visitors is Light Up Okotoks followed by the Taste of Okotoks and the Okotoks Parade.
Couples dominated the demographics in this survey, closely followed by families with children under 18 years old. Over 55% were female versus 44% male visitors.
Okotoks Economic Development will further review those results in order to determine marketing initiatives for 2016.