Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

May 2016

Growing Economic Confidence Means More Visitors for Attractions Industry

A majority of respondents to a recent survey said they intend to travel for leisure in 2016, in large part due to an overall increase in the confidence of the U.S. economy.

PGAV Destinations has published its inaugural "Voice of the Visitor: 2016 Annual Outlook on the Attractions Industry," conducted in conjunction with H2R Market Research and Blooloop. The report presents the results of a study of more than 1,000 U.S. leisure attraction visitors who either visited an attraction in 2015 or are open to doing so this year. It serves as an essential benchmark study in understanding the U.S. attractions and travel market.

"This report is an invaluable tool for attraction managers to better understand their guests, as well as anyone who follows the travel industry to gain insights for their respective businesses," said PGAV Destinations Principal and Chair Mike Konzen. "The insights are tremendously useful and the outlook is quite promising; in fact, our survey suggests a 5 percent increase in attraction attendance in 2016."

The report identifies various demographic trends among more than a dozen different types of attractions, from family entertainment centers to botanical gardens. Deep insights and useful information are gleaned from the ever-diversifying millennials, baby boomer and matures. "Voice of the Visitor" also explores the impact of memberships and season passes, return guests, how attraction guests plan their trips and use of social media while visiting, and their "key delights and pain points."

Here are some findings from the report:

  • The attractions that are expected to see the most robust growth include: family entertainment centers; large-screen format theaters; aquariums; and historic homes and mansions.
  • The average intent to return to the same attraction last visited is 3.97 on a 5-point scale. The top three highest types of attractions in terms of intent to return include: large-screen format theaters (4.51); zoo/animal attractions (4.38); and family entertainment centers (4.25).
  • Nearly six in 10 (59 percent) of attraction visitors are millennials or gen Xers under 51 years of age.
  • The types of attractions most visited in 2015 include: museums (45 percent); zoo/animal attractions (44 percent); theaters (44 percent); historic landmarks (40 percent); and theme parks (45 percent).
  • 69 percent of travelers visit attraction websites when planning trips.

In addition to providing overall insights on trends and intentions, the report also contains a convenient reference section for destination managers and other industry decision-makers to quickly review key facts and findings about their particular industry.

The full report can be viewed for free at

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