Do people who gaze at Niagara Falls during the day stay and gaze at fireworks at night? Where do they go in between? What are they missing? How do we influence them?
The 4th of July meant four days of fireworks across six towns, and Destination Niagara’s goal was to get the visitors to more communities and not just the Falls. Visitors and residents are guaranteed a show all weekend long, all across the county. Between Thursday, July 1 and Monday, July 5th, hotel revenue hit the highest recorded level since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The visitor-to-resident ratio at Niagara Falls State Park reached 3:8 over the holiday weekend and 2:9 at Lockport Locks and the Erie Canal Cruise—equally impressive ratios at opposite sides of the county. This is exactly what Niagara Falls USA has been focused on as a Destination Marketing Organization. Influence movement and enhance the experience.
How have they been doing on this endeavor? Zartico compared visitor movement over the July 4th weekend from the past three years and noticed a clear evolution of visitor gathering one the evening of July 4th. We also noticed a distinct increase of in-state visitors between 2019 and 2021, a testament to the Niagara Falls USA four-phase marketing approach in 2020, which targeted their drive markets. In 2019, July 4th visitors were almost entirely concentrated in Niagara Falls. In 2021, we see strong visitor dispersion in three other communities outside of Niagara Falls. Success indeed.
2019: orange dots = out of state; blue dots = in state. The larger concentration of out-of-state visitors is almost entirely in Niagara Falls and along the river. concentration of out of state visitors almost entirely in Niagara Falls and along the river
2020: there is a greater mix of out-of-state (orange dots) and in-state (blue dots) visitors. Lockport lights up compared to previous years. There is a greater concentration in Lewiston as well as north between Wilson and Olcott communities.
We were surprised that the number one market for visitation and overnight stays was nearby Buffalo, NY. We immediately wanted to know where this nearby Buffalo overnight traveler was staying. It turns out to be a mix of campgrounds and hotels. Using our daily geolocation data, we observed the Buffalo traveler at three different campgrounds within Niagara County. Further-out markets were observed entirely at traditional hotels.
Understanding where visitors came from, where they stayed, and how they moved about the county is critical for Niagara Falls USA to diversify the journey and improve it for both residents and visitors alike.