Research & Reports

The Wyoming Office of Tourism research program

Research plays a critical role in tourism supporting the strategic imperatives of the organization by monitoring and managing effective measurement of economic and campaign related efforts.

The Wyoming Office of Tourism conducts several prominent studies throughout the year.  The first available in the year is the economic impact of travel in Wyoming. This study helps Wyoming understand the economic impact of travel to the state.  The Wyoming Office of Tourism includes county level data in the final report, so our tourism industries in each county can best understand how tourism impacts their local economies.  This report is usually updated in early May.

After the completion of the summer media campaign, the Wyoming Office of Tourism runs an advertising effectiveness study that measures the return on investment of the advertising and assesses the effectiveness of the media at influencing travel to Wyoming.  In 2017, the return on investment was $257 per dollar spend on media. This study shows that marketing Wyoming on a state level is an effective way to build awareness of Wyoming and influence people’s decision to travel here. The latest version of this study is typically available in December.

Every other year, WOT conducts an overnight visitor study profile.  This study helps the Wyoming Office of Tourism and our partners better understand our current visitors and how to best reach them.  

Other projects from the past year include: the economic impact of the solar eclipse, the annual industry satisfaction survey, education on research tools and monitoring the state of Wyoming’s economy, global branding, and implementing new research tools.

These research efforts help the Wyoming Office of Tourism ensure that Wyoming has a strong market position with travelers and is championing the state and the brand.  #ThatsWY


Why do tourism research?

Research is an integral part of tourism marketing.  It helps ensure tax collected from tourism funding is used to market our destinations effectively.  Research helps us get to know our travelers and the places, activities and experiences they are seeking.  Learning more about your visitors allows you to reach them more effectively. You can purchase your media based on the types of magazine or websites they visit, spending your limited marketing dollars the most effective way.  This gives you exposure to potential visitors who are like your visitors, but haven’t visited yet. Additional exposure to potential visitors helps maximize your leverage. Conducting regular research makes it possible for tourism organizations to associate visitor spending in destination and the return on investment on marketing efforts.  When you have a positive ROI, you are bringing in additional travel related dollars into your local economy. A positive ROI indicates that DMOs are not a drain on the public funds, but a contributing member of the local ecosystem. Check out Wyoming Office of Tourism’s Advertising Effectiveness study for additional detail regarding the state’s return on investment.


Determining Sample Size

As a destination marketing organization, it can be difficult to determine what the best sample size is when doing survey research.  It can be quite difficult to even measure how many visitors you have in totality, let alone determining the proper sample size you need.  So, let’s take a minute and discuss how to best determine a sample size for your surveys.

Step 1: Estimate your population

First, determine the visitor population.  Luckily, for our industry partners, the Wyoming Office of Tourism provides a starting place with annual visitation by the county level in the annual economic impact of travel by Dean Runyan Associates.  You can use that as an estimating tool to determine your annual visitation numbers for your entire county. From there, you can estimate the appropriate visitor volume for your town or DMO and then the event, when appropriate.  

Step 2: Estimate your sample size

The Research Advisors website has an easy table to determine the most appropriate sample size. Using a 95 percent confidence interval and a 5 percent margin of error is usually satisfactory for tourism research.  Most research firms and practitioners will round up to the nearest hundred when attempting to collect survey data. Having at least 100 completed surveys will give you a distribution which you can work from.  Survey Monkey has a sample size calculator where you can enter in the population, confidence interval, and margin of error to determine how many surveys you should get.

Step 3: Begin collecting

After you estimate your sample size, you have a goal of completed surveys to shoot for.  It never hurts to have more data than you need, so if you can collect more, go for it.

If you’re looking for more indepth information about marketing research, check out Survey Monkey’s write up on the ultimate guide on how to conduct market research.  Or give the Wyoming Office of Tourism a call to explore your market research needs.