Smoky Mountain Tourism:
COVID-19 Perception Survey
Data by IMEG

The data is current as of April 23,2020.

We surveyed 19,552 people and asked them a series of questions to help understand the current perception of the Smoky Mountains during COVID-19 so we can market to them better and deliver their expectations. This data was combined from responses directly from the amazing people who visit the area.

Have you been to the Smoky Mountain area before?

people saying they would visit the Smoky Mountains again

How many times have you been to the Smoky Mountains?

How many times people have visited the Smoky Mountains

How much do you enjoy the Smoky Mountain area?

How much people love the Smoky Mountains

When was your last visit to the Smoky Mountains?

When the last time people visited the Smoky Mountains was

If you stayed in the Smoky Mountains in April 2020, why did you come?

graph showing reasons people visited the Smoky Mountains in April

When do you plan to visit the Smoky Mountains again?

when people plan to visit the smoky mountains again

When you visit the Smoky Mountains again, how long will you stay?

how long people will stay when they visit the smoky mountains again

How long do you normally stay in the Smoky Mountains?

how long visitors normally stay in the Smoky Mountains

What will you do when you visit again?

graph showing what people want to do when they visit the Smoky Mountains after COVID

When do you think the Smoky Mountain area should allow visitors again?

graph showing when people think the Smoky Mountains should welcome visitors

What do you think about COVID-19?

people describing what they think of COVID

How confident are you about visiting the Smoky Mountains in the next 30 days?

graph showing how confident people are to visit the Smokies in the next 30 days

How confident are you about visiting the Smoky Mountains in the next 60 days?

graph showing how confident people are to visit the Smokies in the next 60 days

How confident are you about visiting the Smoky Mountains in the next 90 days?

graph showing how confident people are to visit the Smoky Mountains

How confident are you about visiting the Smoky Mountains in the next 30, 60, 90 days?

Graph showing how confident people are to visit the Smoky Mountains

Which information source do you trust most?

chart showing where most people get their news

Where do you get most of your news?

Where people get all their news

Which city do you visit most in the Smoky Mountains?

Where people like to visit when they come to the Smoky Mountains

What is your single biggest concern about traveling right now?

people answering what they're most worried about traveling during COVID

After Coronavirus has passed and the Smoky Mountains are open, you will.....

people answering what they plan to do when COVID is over

Which lodging type do you normally choose when you visit the Smoky Mountain area?

chart showing where people stay when they visit the Smoky Mountains


chart showing gender of people taking survey


age range of people taking a COVID survey

Were you or a family member who lives with you laid off from a job?

people answering if they've been laid off from a job

In one word, what concerns you most about visiting the Smoky Mountains?

what's keeping people from visiting the Smoky Mountains

In one word, what EXCITES you most about visiting the Smoky Mountains?

collage of words

Transcription of April 23, 2020 Webinar

Justin Jones 0:00
Okay, welcome, everybody. We are going to do this as a podcast because yesterday we had technical difficulties with webinar ninja. And the there’s a couple of audio issues which were easy to overcome, but we did have it to where it did not record. So we’re going to do this again as a podcast. Because we thought this information was so important to get out to the marketplace so they can make good decisions with their marketing and how to open things back up, bring employees back and all the craziness that we’re all dealing with. So on this now webinar, that’s a podcast. We have Daniel Evans, collector growth and internet marketing expert group and we have Shane Eubanks that does a lot of marketing SEO strategy in the Smoky Mountain market as well as others with genuine internet marketing. So welcome, Shane.

Daniel Evans 0:55
Thank you. Yes.

Justin Jones 0:56
So um, we’ll get started here. If you did not watch the April 13 webinar. we dive into the timeline of events we dive into kind of market demand, how bad were we hit? How much were we down? One second. Let me share my screen here. me get that pushed out here in that which you can find on our website. Guys. Can you see my screen? Absolutely. Excellent, clear. So, um, timeline of events, we’ve got a whole slew of data for you here to help you make some good decisions, how much were hotels down, how much for vacation rentals down how much was restaurants down? attractions, all those things. It’s all in here. And we highly recommend you look at bat feeder markets when they’re opening back up so on and so forth, who’s the first to recover a whole bunch of data April 13. there’ll be a link will send in this email. It’s April 13. webinar, we highly recommend you check out but today’s purpose is to talk about this was where was the market on April 13? And what did we think the consumer was going to think this data is what is the consumer thinking which we’re going to dig into. So we surveyed 19,552 people, and we asked them a series of questions to help understand what they thought of COVID-19 and the Smoky Mountains, tourism, how it relates. Out of those 19,552 people, 95% of them had been to the Smoky Mountains. And a lot of this data is just so you understand who are these people? Ah, the average Well, 50% of the people in this of the 19,552 people that surveyed had been more than 10 times and only 4% of those had never been a how much they enjoy 92% of the people said, I love this place. When was your last visit 27% and by the way, there’s going to be a link to this, you can look at it anytime you want. as well. In the past year 27% have visited 24% more than a year and 5% more than five years. So as you can, the gist of this is to build the story of we wanted to survey people who frequent here have been here multiple times. And they had been here somewhat recent meaning in the past two years, and I think we did that. Um, so let’s dig into some of the data. So just to give you some insights of who these people are, we’ll skip down here as well real quick. Um, out of these people to 72% were female 27% were male 30% were 51 to 60 years of age. I’m not going to read off These I think this is something that everybody that’s watching this needs to click on this link and check out. But this is just Who are we serving? Okay. 42% of them staying cabins 39% stay in hotels 7% condo 7% campgrounds. 3%. Other, if you curious what the other was, its timeshare is what most people put in the other field. So now let’s dig into the actual data and get into what this actually means. But that to the 19,552 people were let me get back where I was. So one of the things we wanted to know is we did have a not good we’re still down 78%. But why weren’t we down? 100% in April, we wanted to know. So out of the people that came here in April, we asked if you stayed in the Smoky Mountains in April, why did you come? A lot of people thought because people wouldn’t give a refund and rescheduling was complicated and all that I didn’t believe that and the data proves that 70% of people that came here in April 2020 when everything was closed was because they said I love the area nothing stopping me. And that’s our market the red blooded Americans. This government’s not stopping me. I’m 5% said I needed a better place to quarantine 4% said I got a great deal I couldn’t pass up. I had to take it. 2.25% said I had to visit because they would not allow me to reschedule my trip. And 1.29% of people said I had to visit because I could not get a refund. 16.78% said other we dug into that other for you. And the other is timeshare. They had a timeshare or they live here. So this is where I’m interested to see chain. And Daniel, your feedback on some of this.

Shane Eubanks 5:51
Yeah. Going back to what you’re just talking about a jumping right there. I mean, this data shows what happened in April, but it also reveals what’s gonna happen as things open back up so you’ve probably got 70% of our target market that says they don’t care about anything they’re coming anyway. So financially economically that’s good signs that there’s not a whole lot keeping the majority of our demographic from visiting the area so that’s really positive. I just want to point that out for move on.

Justin Jones 6:21
Yes, agree. Um, so let’s see here. Next, we would move on to Wendy plan to visit the Smoky Mountains again. 25% of people said I’m not sure. 13% said one, two months, 12% said two to three months, and so on. So I’m going to breeze through this not on purpose, but because this is an open ended questions. There’s a lot of heuristics that plays into this and so on. This is just when did they plan and that’s not a that different of a date. If we were to ask this question in July of one Last year, that’s kind of the booking windows and market segmentation of that we’ll dig into are they actually going to come in just a minute? Um, I love this one. When do you when you visit the Smoky Mountains again? How long will you stay at 1% said I’ll stay the same amount of time I normally do. And 16% This is the part I love. I’m gonna stay longer. So this may be a good opportunity to talk about Shane Daniel myself, why do we think people might stay longer? And then how about we message to those people to make sure that we do.

Daniel Evans 7:37
Of course, I would say you know, the biggest KPIs on that are going to be one people been at home longer than they probably ever been at home. So that’s huge because they’re ready to get out and extend any time away from the house that they can. And then second to that is is most schools that we know of from our target feeder markets are not going back. So the kiddos and the family ready to get out of house and create memories, that they’ve had a hard time creating it inside their homes and stuff of that nature. So those will be two big ones. For me, there’s probably others in there. But those two are going to fall into a large category of people wanting to stay longer, for sure.

Shane Eubanks 8:16
I would agree with that. Not also throw in there. And I’m kind of gonna get a little bit ahead of ourselves because you got this stats later on. But we got to think about what vacations people are not able to take that they’re coming to the Smokies instead. And so that means like Disney universal cruises. Lots of Yeah, you’re starting one right there. Um, a lot of vacation destinations that are typically seven day vacation. So Saturday, Saturday, Sunday to Sunday. So people are going from that mindset vacation to come into the Smokies. And so I think we’re gonna see a lot more seven day because in the stats that you showed a while ago, most of the people came I think it was three to five days. And so if a lot of people were thinking about coming More than that we’re looking at six, seven days instead. So, really think about the messaging of your attraction or lodging, your packaging, whatever it is thinking about the mindset of people going from cruises or theme parks to the Smokies instead. So that’s a really important thing to think about because of demographics probably going to change for a little bit temporarily, especially because people can’t go to theme parks and cruises.

Justin Jones 9:23
I agree. And that we put into our April 13 update, we had a section called new opportunities where we talked about, we won’t go into that that’s a watch that when there is a replay available if you want to watch that webinar from April 13, or you can just read it either way. Larger theme parks, international travel, outdoor experiences, pinup demand cruise lines, and then smart vacations are the new opportunities that we talked about. And the thing we talked about in that webinar was the messaging has to be different if you’re going to go after these people and overall in general, your marketing message Jing is going to be different the next two weeks and it is the next 30 days that it is the next 60 days it is the next 90 days, as well as if you’re communicating to these different market segments, the messaging has to be different. We won’t go on that tangent, but we highly recommend you watch April 13. And read this article we wrote about that. So as Shane was saying, Yes, so the next question we asked was, how long do you normally stand in Smoky Mountains 24% said three to four days 18%, four to 518 percent at two to 316 percent at five to 615 percent, seven or more 6% saying I take a day trip. So we should see those numbers lift, which means average revenue per stay should lift. One of the things that’s not in this but I’ll give a little insight for May while may it’s still massively down in the market still. The average reservation is up about 25% so So that also is another data point that backs into this. I’m staying longer than normal. So we predicted that what happened, Daniel made a good, you know, saying like the pent up demand, I’m going to stay longer kids aren’t back to school, all those kinds of things. We thought that would happen. The survey said it would happen but now we’re starting to see actual data of the average state now revenues down. So if you’re watching this, be sure I’m not implying revenues up. I’m saying the average day when people do book in May, the average stay revenue amount is up, which means they’re staying longer because we’re not giving me a lot of discounts in May right now, because we just want people to come. So the next one, what will you do when you visit the Smoky Mountains again, and you guys talk about this when if you don’t hit anything, I’ll wrap it up at the end. But I love this question and I love the responses.

Shane Eubanks 11:56
This good jump in. I think this one was Really interesting because we’re seeing a shift back to what the Smoky Mountains was originally a drawl of, you know, the outdoors, the Smokies, the national parks, outdoor attractions, all of that stuff. So if you have an outdoor attraction or if you have maybe cabins with views of the Smokies people were looking for that kind of a relaxing, peaceful kind of experience along with wanting something fun to do. I mean, they’re looking for outdoor attractions. So if you got, you know, the whitewater rafting, the zip lines, the horseback riding anything outdoor that doesn’t involve groups, because as you can see down here, towards the bottom of this, what will you do is all of the group stuff, see large group is way down there. So if you have an attraction per se, that has large groups, you got to figure out a way to sexualize or limit or whatever to make it small group because these are concerns that people have so huge opportunity for those of you that have outdoor attractions or outdoor views of enter lodging and definitely an opportunity for those of you that have The issue of large groups at your business to figure out ways to kind of sexualize that compartmentalize or whatever, to make it small group experience for them.

Daniel Evans 13:12
Yeah, just a small thing that I would, you know, if a client asked me and said, Hey, Daniel, what part of this is going to help me the most all of it can. But if you’re curious on what you need to be talking to your potential guests about to increase your conversion, talk about the things that they can do that they’re interested in. They’re telling you here because this is huge. So these are all PowerPoints of what to market and promote in all your marketing until the data shows differently. Because a lot of times in marketing we see sometimes that sometimes businesses will talk about what they think is best to talk about and then you can talk about what the data shows is best to talk about. This is such a data driven time. Use this in any of your communication to future guests, because it’s going to help you get the most bang for your buck.

Justin Jones 14:00
Very good point. This is kind of once again a 30,000 foot view because this could turn into an all day podcast. But one slight shift in messaging is if you’re a hotel near Dollywood, and you rely on Dollywood business to fill your hotel, you got to stop talking about Dollywood. They’re not open and you got to start talking about the national parks outdoor attractions and restaurants.

Shane Eubanks 14:22
Yeah, that is for your proximity to hiking trails are things to do when the people check in. Maybe you have a short little checklist of ideas and tips for things to do while they’re there. You know, suggested waterfall hikes or drive thru scenery in the National Park. And the easiest way to get to it from the cabin there at that kind of stuff. Just be thinking about ways to make it easier on the people that are coming to visit because that’s what people are needing right now is a peaceful, relaxing, they don’t need to worry about anything. They’re tired of worrying about COVID they just want to come and get away from it all and that’s why they’re coming to the Smokies.

Daniel Evans 14:53
Yes, no.

Justin Jones 14:56
So let’s go back into the data here. When do you think the Smoky Mountain areas should allow visitors again 24% said one to two months 18% said three to four weeks 13% said two to three months 13% said now. And 9% said one to two weeks and 8% said more than three months. We have a little better data on this if y’all got anything to add to this great. But that’s all I got on that one because we start narrowing that broad question down. anything on that?

Shane Eubanks 15:30
No. I mean, I think that’s pretty much expected from everybody. One to two rounds is kind of what everybody’s saying.

Justin Jones 15:36
So what do you think about COVID-19 we want to know what is in their head. And it’s scary to them. They are feel at risk. They want to be, you know, precautionary. They think it’s serious. Obviously, the social distancing side, those kind of things that’s not we were hoping to find some little nugget in there. We really didn’t. We do find some nuggets and another word cloud here in a little Bit which we’ll share with you. But this why we kind of were real brief on this one was because this I think tells the better story. How confident are you in visiting the Smoky Mountains the next 30 days? Obviously, it leans towards, you know, this would be if you wanted to, you know, these are the people are like, I’m not coming. These were like, I’m coming for sure. And these paper kind of the middle like I may or may not, I’m kind of waiting to see what happens kind of thing.

Daniel Evans 16:28
Yeah, sorry to interrupt, but that that middle number five right there. I think that’s going to go back to what we just previously talked about, once the businesses start to really start that communication. And the assets that we talked about on what people want to do. I think we ship those people from afar upward, obviously in guidelines from city to

Justin Jones 16:47
county. Oh, yeah. So just to make sure I understand. Yeah, you’re saying that if the National Park were to say we’re definitely opening on May 1, we redo this survey, that number goes up

Daniel Evans 16:59
a question about Yeah,

Shane Eubanks 17:00
I think a lot of people are kind of waiting back to to see like Daniels talking about what’s going to be open and available for them to do. I mean, it’s not necessarily that they’re scared of COVID or whatever. They just don’t know what’s going to be available in the next 30 days in the Smokies. If that information was out and everything was open, I think like you’re talking about that would shift dramatically.

Daniel Evans 17:17
Yeah, yeah. So that’s a really good, I think a good place to see there is positivity on that day. They just don’t know what what to do. So that’s coming.

Justin Jones 17:25
Also, we’re going to keep this data up to date. Some of the data which we’ll talk about at the end of this, we update daily, some of it we’re updating weekly, and some of it we’re updating as there’s an inflection point in something that happens. And we’ll show you here at the end of this, how to keep up to date with all this and some other data sources that are critical. They can help you make when do I bring the staff back? When do I bring a marketing back all kinds of levers to throw based on data as opposed to maybe media sources who Don’t really know, like there’s some media stuff going around that the national parks said they’re opening April, sorry, may 1. They have not said that either way. We were talking directly to the National Park Service. They’re not sure what they’re doing yet. So all of our data we try to get from the source completely unbiased and just data, and then you know, your business, and then you can make decisions off of that. Let’s move to the next one. How confident are you in the next 60 days, as you can see, that goes up. 90 days, it goes massively up. I’ll stop on this chart, which is we layered them all. So in the next 90 days, the majority of the market feels very, very good about coming confident, come to the Smoky Mountains and the next 30 pretty good. And the next 60 it starts getting better, but we do kind of see a shift here in confidence as time goes on. Now remember, that could go either way. I think this data has to be updated every one to two weeks as things happen in the market. Because like, for example, I think the data would shift if we interviewed people from North Carolina, because North Carolina finally said a were prior to this survey. They were like, I don’t know when we’re opening. I mean, I don’t know when I can travel. So my confidence level is low. There’s so many variables on the confidence level, when when does your state stay at home order get lifted? What’s happening with vaccines, there’s all these things. So we’re going to keep this data up to date. So we can see if it’s going up or down confidence level. Do you guys have anything to add on this? How confident are

Shane Eubanks 19:40
you? Now I think it’s really interesting. This kind of lines up with that very first chart, you showed about 70% of the people saying nothing’s gonna keep them from coming to the Smokies. And so we got about 75% down here now saying within the next 90 days, they feel 100% confidence that really lines up with that. So that’s interesting. For sure.

Justin Jones 20:00
So, the next one is, this is just for us to segment the, this is more of an I make data piece. You can use it if you want to public. But like if we’re trying to get a message out to combat a negative to add a positive, or misinformation from the media, where do we go? Do we go to local media websites, national media, so we know they trust local media websites. So we want to tell the consumer how safe it is to stay with us because of our cleanliness and the way we’re doing things. We want to make sure that’s on our website, not on social media. I’m not saying you don’t put it on social media. But if you had to choose one, you want to put that information on your website.

Shane Eubanks 20:43
Then where do they get their news website, social media radio. That’s a pivot point for us for some back end stuff for our own clients. Not really take them for what it’s worth, nothing really talked about there. Once again, out of this survey, which city visit most I want to interrupt real quick Going up to that, where do you get most of your news, you got to keep in mind to the demographic majority that you’re showing at the beginning, whereas mostly elderly, I can’t say elderly now I’m like in the elderly Mark now with your range. So people have a higher age range number, however you want to say that but um, I think it was like 40 something and up 41 and up. So yeah, see, there’s a big chunk 51 to 6061 70. So there, I mean, that kind of explains why the majority of the people in this survey, say like TV, you know, whereas the younger demographic isn’t gonna say TV, right? So just keep that in mind that this isn’t like set in stone, like everybody gets their, you know, information from TV. It’s in the survey,

Justin Jones 21:46
ya know, this is a 30,000 foot view and ideally, what you’re doing and what we’re doing for our clients is, if our clients hotel XYZ, their core demographic is 35 to 55 Then we’re going to pivot that data and say what is what does this look like for 35 to 55 year olds? Yeah, all of this data is going to shift to some degree.

Shane Eubanks 22:10
Yeah, we gotta see this and go, Oh, shoot, I need to put everything on TV because you gotta think about your demographic for your specific business.

Justin Jones 22:17
Right? Absolutely. Um, and then also going to look at cost, like, what’s it cost? Yeah. And I don’t need to tell the world how clean I just need to tell the people who visit my website of what I’m doing. Yeah. But yeah, thank you for bringing that up. Very, very good. Insight there. Um, let’s see here. Here we go. Another good one. What is your single biggest concern about traveling right now? Um, one of the I’ll say one thing, and I’ll let you guys join in, but um, none of those were surprising to me, except for one. finances to travel 22% may seem high if you don’t. If you haven’t looked at any of our data in the past. Normally 15 to 20% of people say finances are a problem to travel anyway, at any time, even without a pandemic. So this number didn’t really skew we have a data point here in a minute that kind of backs into this. That proves That’s true. But what kind of insights Do you all see on this? That may have been surprising?

Unknown Speaker 23:19
Let you jump in Daniel for you,

Daniel Evans 23:21
man, that’s nothing really besides the finances to travel. But I mean, I think a lot of people and you see a lot of stuff in the media. But I think that people have had the ability even that have become unemployed to, you know, possibly gain out employment or have been able to continue to work on some level from home or obviously we’ve seen was sown has done in the ability for people to stay connected and stay doing something. So definitely the most feedback and the thing that surprised me the most was definitely the financial side but nothing else really.

Shane Eubanks 23:58
Yeah, and I think this list right here especially helps businesses address the concerns that people are going to have. So if finances aren’t as big of a concern, you may not have to hard charge with your like deals and promotions and discounts and things that we initially thought may have been a huge deal. It’s more about the cleanliness of the place and what you’re doing to prevent mitigate the spread of COVID. So, you know, having those contactless check ins and distancing at the attractions and all of that stuff is more important to them than necessarily deals are going to get. So that’s just important to keep in mind when you think about how you’re gonna start messaging to people as they come back.

Justin Jones 24:34
Yeah, I agree. Like, I think at the end of the day, if a consumer can save 10% with you versus somebody else, but the other person made them feel better about the cleanliness of the public areas, the lodging and all those kinds of things. I think they’ll pay more money.

Shane Eubanks 24:52
Yep. Very, very good point. Because before a lot of people would just price match, you know, attractions or hotels or lodging what However, now there’s another factor that they’re considering more than they are money and so like you said maybe your attraction or lodging whatever is more valuable because you go to these extra efforts that the discounted one knock down the streets to one

Daniel Evans 25:13
for sure. I think the only thing you look at here is process only an objection in the absence of value and the value is clean it up and make sure that they know you’re

Shane Eubanks 25:22
taking options yep and communicating that because if you if you clean it and do all this stuff and don’t communicate it to that person, you’re not doing it so you got to communicate what you’re doing.

Daniel Evans 25:30
Awareness big on that for sure.

Justin Jones 25:33
All right, so let’s dig in here to ask after Coronavirus has passed and the Smoky Mountains are open you will be eager to travel leisure rich we speculate it will be the case. travel more often by car. Take more day trips travel to a destination closer to home travel by plane taking ocean cruise travel internationally. So as we talked about April 13 webinar which is here. That’s kind of how we come up with this targeting people who visit Disney to come here larger theme parks to come here, international travel, outdoor travel experiences and cruise lines, how can we market to those people and maybe pick up market demand. So if 18% of our market said I still don’t feel comfortable coming here, but we can get that market by by marketing to new audiences like larger theme parks, cruise lines international travel, we see here that the consumer agrees with that. So the other part it also kind of backs into is this data is we believe that the first to recover was vacation rentals and a drop to destination leisure travel. Second was hotels drive to destinations leisure travel, third was outdoor attractions. Fourth was indoor Of course and drafter destinations leisure travel, this back set up from the consumer. So I think that if you’re To drive to destination like the Smoky Mountains, that is leisure, you have a better off, you are going to recover faster than others if you market correctly, don’t don’t retract and constraint and change your messaging to match what the consumer demands are now because it’s different than what it was before. What do you guys got?

Shane Eubanks 27:20
Yeah, and I think there’s a big opportunity here, especially with the people that are going to theme parks because if any of you’ve ever been to like Disney or universal vacation, it’s one of those types of vacations you feel like you need a vacation from because it’s go go, go go go all day, every day and there’s very little relaxing, but if somebody comes to the Smokies, we offer that you know, attractions they can go do and have fun, but there’s so many ways to relax and, you know, enjoy that peace and quiet and stuff in the Smokies as well. So it really offers the best of both worlds. So when you think about marketing your message to these new demographics of theme park, you know, people that aren’t going to Disney and universal. Think about those ways to offer you know, the attractions, fun things to do. But also the peace and relaxation as well. So they can kind of get best of both worlds. And when we talk about like, where we’re saying that people are probably going to come longer if they initially come for three to four days, but now they’re coming for six, seven days, maybe the three to four days is fun, you know, attraction, go, go Go and then the extra two, three days is relaxing. So kind of splitting that up and offering kind of ideas for people to have fun and relax while I’m there.

Justin Jones 28:26
And we haven’t talked about this either. But if you’re used to taking in international travel, you’re used to theme parks in Orlando, this area they will stay longer because the budget lasts longer because it’s less expensive to go to come here than it is to go there.

Shane Eubanks 28:43
And it’s everything’s all a cart here. Typically, you know, where’s there it’s, it’s all inclusive vacation package, you’re set in stone and but here you can kind of do pick and choose what you want to do. It can be as expensive or as you know, cheap as you want it to be. So that’s another positive too. So it’s a good point.

Justin Jones 28:59
Absolutely. And we cover more of that in the April 13. webinar. If you’re more interested, I don’t want people to think we’re trying to be very surface level. We are because we’ve got an objective with this one. But all there’s way deeper insights on that, in the April 13. webinar rich will be included in the link as well with this. So we’ve talked about this when we talked about this a, this was an interesting one, were you or a family member who lives with you laid off from a job? 67% said no. And 32% said yes. Which I thought was better than it was going to be. In the end insights on that that does kind of back into the finances were only 22% of the problem to travel. Yeah.

Daniel Evans 29:46
I don’t have anything further on that than what I had initially said on that one. So

Justin Jones 29:52
we asked in one word, what concerns you most about visiting the Smoky Mountains, the biggest thing was nothing. So get to that was the virus crowds, large groups safety traveling in general. So nothing surprising there. If you guys got anything interrupt me here. If not we’ll go to the one that we do have some

Shane Eubanks 30:15
insight. I think it’s really interesting that the number one word was nothing.

Daniel Evans 30:18
Yeah, like get me. I want to go there.

Justin Jones 30:21
Yep. Feel free in one word, what excites you most what excites you about it? And this is you can take some messaging ideas from this or shifting your messaging beauty, mountain air view peace, the park. scenery, family freedom those kind of things. So notice that Yeah, Dollywood. We don’t know how long they’re going to be closed. A Rich’s a big you know, attraction. There may be other attractions that don’t open up for a while maybe some shows. We don’t know yet. We can’t predict that. But what I loved about this is especially for the biggest Case rentals or hotels with a view is you still have a good opportunity to get people to come here because the thing that excites them the most is nature. And nature is closed. Now the national parks closed right now which is supposed to open April 30. It that may change. But the beauty of the area and the other interesting part is the beauty of the area. So many people come to the area and never leave Pigeon Forge go home and say I went to the Smoky Mountains National Park and they never went. So I always like an inside joke for vacation rentals, but like everybody wants a hot tub but most people don’t use it. Everybody wants the mountains but they don’t really use them. So we have some still opportunity. Maybe we won’t have a full recovery as fast as we think. But we do have some opportunities that I think we’re blessed with that a lot of areas. Don’t

Shane Eubanks 31:59
have Absolutely.

Justin Jones 32:01
Disney’s closed in Orlando, in Orlando, the universals closed, they have a problem. For sure, they’re not going to put on a survey for Orlando nothing wrong with Orlando, I love that market, but they’re not going to put beauty relax area, you know fresh air are not going to say those things. So that is kind of the gist of this survey data, we will keep this updated. It won’t be daily like the others. But I want to dive into unless you have anything else on this, about the perceptions of our people who visit us give anything else. Let’s add it before we get into some last and final data points.

Shane Eubanks 32:45
I think the biggest thing and I’ve mentioned this before is that people if you want to grow out of this, you have to look at the stats. I mean, Justin, you did an amazing job survey and these people and put it together in a digestible format that people can you know, gain information from and use it in their marketing messages. But people that use that are going to do a lot better than the people that treat this like they did with the fires where they just kind of waited for people to come back and didn’t do anything different. I think you really have to think about doing things different to get the opportunities that are out there, right now, there’s opportunities, but you have to change how you’re communicating stuff, to capture those opportunities. So you need to, you know, meet the needs of the people that are coming and address the concerns. And if you can do those two things, and market and communicate those things, then you’re going to be way ahead of the competitors right down the street. So take all of that data that Justin just shared, get that link that he’s going to send out and make sure you go through it and find ways that your business fits each of those little demographics, those needs those concerns, and make sure you’re communicating that use your email list your social media channels, any anything that you have to reach your current customer base, and just keep pumping out those message. messages of what you’re doing that is meeting the needs and addressing the concerns of anybody that can become and you’ll be way ahead of anybody that isn’t. And there’s gonna be a lot of people that don’t, because I guarantee you a lot of people is not watching this not looking at these stats, they’re not going to have that advantage that you’ve got by looking at this. So make sure you don’t just throw this to the side and go on about business as usual, use this because this is gold.

Unknown Speaker 34:24

Daniel Evans 34:25
no doubt. And like if you find the value, and use it to your ability and take action with this 30,000 foot view that we have in the market, and you’re like man, I would like to actually hone in on my specific business. We have tools that we’d be willing to help you with to be able to take your own business data that you already have, probably somewhere within a project management system or ticket sales system or whatever it is and you can start to hone in on your business and get really within it and then this could be data that you use for forever. So this is this is something that can be done at your level and not at a county and city level. So it’s like an interest, please reach out to us.

Justin Jones 35:08
That’s a great segue into some more specific data because that’s what we’re heading into. So, let’s dig in. So, um, what I want to talk about which we talked about in the actual webinar, is kind of what’s this look like? Now we have this available to the public, we update this every day. Once again, there’ll be a link in into it where we update the hotel demand the attractions demand, the cabrio demands, we can kind of see as things start coming back in each kind of industry there. We also have a page report all those kinds of things as we can see, in short, there’s a whole nother section for this but restaurants not recovered yet. cabin rentals are starting to slowly. We see some good data here. Hotels, not so much yet. But I kind of want to use our internal This is our internal reporting. We got better trend lines and stuff that is available to our clients and us We don’t make available public because we need our clients to have some differentiating factor. So this is the demand for cameras. As you can see this nice, beautiful curve here of coming back. This is a revenue demand curve. We’re about to launch a conversion curve. And basically people have to look before they book. So we saw give or take the business but around April 11, is that what you saw on Shane on Google search?

Shane Eubanks 36:27
Yeah, it really picked up the day or Easter in the day after. So that was the two big days it really started changing.

Justin Jones 36:34
So demand was back, but conversion was it. So let’s talk about what that kind of looks like. So everybody doesn’t misinterpret the data. People have to look before they book. We see people looking before they book so a lot of people want to be like, Oh, look at this demand. It’s coming back. This chart. I need to throw every lever I have. I need to bring all my staff in I need to throw all my marketing dollars back out not yet. Because we’ve got to see the revenue start coming in And we just saw that this is News as of today. It wasn’t in the webinar yesterday that we saw traffic down 70 to 80%, which you can find in this data here. 70 80% where we talked about it in there. But we have seen since Tuesday, conversion rates were down 40 to 50%. On average and lodging, traffic was down 60 70% traffic has come back to be down maybe 30 or 40% down. But conversion was still 50 60% down as of Tuesday every single day, which we’re going to add to this dashboard by Monday. So you can watch the conversion over demand. And you will see that conversions coming back in fact in vacation rentals. I haven’t looked at hotels yet. We’ll put that in there by Monday, but vacation rentals are online. Down 12% on conversion.

Um, and there’s one data point I’m deciding if I shared or don’t because this is public. But here’s the short I won’t go into the detail. We just had a big team meeting and I talked about this. So I’m going to be vague because I want to save this for our clients, but I want to share some of it. A lot of people cut their marketing budgets in fact, almost everybody but because of that supply and demand cost per click on paid ads, and CPM cost per thousand impressions is drastically down to the tune of in this market two to $3 a clicks now look at like 40 to 50%. And we can

Daniel Evans 38:54
say what it’s like going back in Tom

Justin Jones 38:56
yeah. Oh, yeah. It’s like 2007 I don’t know how long that lasts because you know, the supply and the demand curve people searching, demand people running ads supply. But cost for acquisitions are stupid right now. And if you’re not familiar cost for acquisitions. We talk more about that in April 13 webinar, but the short of it is how much does it cost me to get a guest. Um, and we want that to be well below 10%. But at least you know, five to eight. And obviously, hotels are a little different. But in the vacation real space and attraction is always different. You should know your cost per acquisition if you don’t need to, and if you don’t know how you definitely need to reach out to us on our website so we can kind of consult with you and coach you on that. But um, there’s some good opportunities right now, if you’re running your business by data and not emotion. If you hear yourself saying things like I feel like I just asked To change that to how my I find actual data to back that up, because feelings typically don’t run us in the right direction. I think Warren Buffett said it best until you can control your emotions, you can’t control your money. So try to make database decisions, not assumptions based on feelings and especially if it’s coming from mainstream media where it’s all sensationalized attractions are slightly recovering on demand. We still see horrible conversion rates, hotels slightly on demand, we still see really bad conversion rates. restaurants have not even started to recover from a tourism perspective. Booking window we talked about. We see a lot of reservations coming in May I still predict maybe being down 30 to 40% and even speculating June being down. And then Shane, we talked about yesterday in the webinar, which I thought was huge. I want to throw back at you September, we see pays up in September, for the month of April. Why?

Shane Eubanks 41:05
Yeah, we’re seeing a lot of interest right now. And this correlates to what you were showing about people being super confident 90 days out. We’re seeing a lot of searches on the area websites for fall related content. So

Unknown Speaker 41:16
earlier than normal,

Shane Eubanks 41:18
yes, fall foliage, everything to do with fall, people are researching and really starting to think about booking a vacation. So they’re in really the research phase right now. They feel comfortable 90 days out. They’re not concerned about anything that we’re seeing in the data. And so that kind of timeline right now as gold. So if you have an opportunity if your business is really good for the fall, if you offer lodging that has great views of the leaves, if you offer an attraction that is part of the foliage, if you offer something that is near events going on in the fall, use these right now in your marketing messages, whether it’s email, social, whatever, because people are really really looking right now to book in the fall. So, attack whatever opportunities are out right now. And fall is a really, really big one. Excellent.

Justin Jones 42:06
I mean get back here so um, as I said, we have a this our Smoky Mountain tourism market COVID dash COVID-19 dashboard. We’re still billing links in the email that you get this there’ll be links on the website that you can get to, um, that’s pretty much all I had to cover. Um, um, you guys have anything else you’d like to add?

Daniel Evans 42:34
Man, the biggest second would be is the experience has changed. The assets have always been in the market, but the experience has changed according to this data, a promise you if you take action on this, you’re going to benefit versus those that don’t. So do it. Keep updated with it and just look forward to the future because we’ve already seen people that say nothing stopping me. I’m coming to the summit. Rocky Mountains. And that was in the worst times, we pray that we’ve seen with this thing. So just imagine what that intent is going to be after we get some, you know, better phase out of the states that are feeder markets for us. And just still a healthy experience for people. And let’s get back to get back to work.

Justin Jones 43:21
Shiny gaming,

Shane Eubanks 43:22
and there’s just so many opportunities right now and it’s it’s important as we’re, you know, hunkered down a lot of people were just kind of wondering what to do, especially kind of as people are chomping at the bit to get out, there’s so many opportunities and there’s there’s so many revealed in this report. So I just got to reiterate for people to go through this report, find the things that match your business, and really go after those things. And if you’re confused by any of these numbers, or you can’t make you find that nugget, reach out to Justin and Daniel because they’re already helping clients with a lot of strategies and things that are going to help them grow out of this. And and you know, it’s it’s a lot like Investing, like we’re talking about buying the dips. And that’s kind of what you got to do is look for those opportunities right now. So that you can grow out of this, you can come out of this better than you were before. And if you do it right, so just really pour through the data. If it doesn’t make sense to you reach out to Daniel, reach out to Justin, and they can help you put something together for a strategy coming out of.

Justin Jones 44:19
Yeah, if you have any questions about where did this data come from? On the website, we kind of know where the data come from. So if you want some clarity of that, as well. So if you’ve been sitting here, like I wonder where this data come from on the website, we actually if we notate Hold on a second. Like here, we will tell you where this data come from data source, so all that can be found on the website for data source. To wrap this up, once again, thanks to everybody who attended the live webinar yesterday. Sorry for the technical difficulties with webinar Ninja, we are actually going to switch webinar platforms hoping to get rid of all the technical difficulties. But be sure you’re on the email list and also be sure to sign up by text message, you will get data and information faster by text we don’t spam you with like promotions and special offers, we’re only going to send you when you sign up, you’re signing up for Smoky Mountain tourism updates, anything we’ve seen in the market, you’ll get a text message, which ensures deliverability and the fastest because things are changing in still some cases by the hour and definitely by the day. So you want to stay on top of this and, and your plans have to be really, really, really flexible, because things are changing by the hour and the day, some for the good, some for the bad. But data and information that is accurate, is very, very important right now, so you don’t go running off the wrong way extremely enthusiastically when everybody was like, hold on that work today and tomorrow. We’re going this way, and you’re still running 400 miles an hour that way. So be sure to sign up for that. That’s once again will be in the email where you can sign up for that. And if you have any questions, we’re here to help. We love this area, a little bit of background. I mean, I grew up in this This area Daniel grew up in the Knoxville area. Shane while being now in Georgia, he has a ton of family here and deep, deep roots and while really lives in Georgia, but he knows more about the area than I do and I’ve lived here forever. So he knows a ton about the area has deep roots here. So we’re all we’re not pitching this from, you know, of course we want to make money of course but but we believe if the markets healthy, will will be healthy if the markets economically strong we will as well. And then furthermore, we just have a love and passion for the area. And Shane definitely does with having his family and roots. I think politically connected here. I shouldn’t have said that. But back in the day, and those things so we just love the area. I know Shane definitely loves this area and we just want to help take care of it and protect it.

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