A Publication of WTVP

Responding to tourism trends is an important and effective force in ensuring we’re on top of our game when it comes to knowing our product and knowing our consumer. As our economy evolves, the decisions driving our visitors are shifting constantly, their interests and priorities are realigning constantly with the changing world around them, and it’s our job not only to gauge those sometimes subtle nuances, but also to respond to them with innovative solutions.

Perhaps no one knows the leisure traveler better than Peter Yesawich, president and chief executive officer of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, America’s leading marketing, advertising, and public relations agency serving travel and leisure-industry clients. A frequent commentator on travel trends, Yesawich has generated a number of current tourism trends worth applying to our local tourism climate:

Regarding group business travel:
• 53 percent of business travelers, on at least one occasion, attended an association meeting.
• 42 percent travel individually on business.
• 35 percent attend a corporate meeting.
• Business travelers extending their stay after business has grown 20 percent in 24 months.

What does this mean for the Peoria area? With an expanding convention center, this means opportunity. Not only are businesses spending money on meetings and conventions, they’re choosing to use their personal vacation time as an extension of these meetings and conventions. They meet. They stay. They play. Better yet, the economic ramifications are ours to enjoy as they dine in our restaurants, visit our attractions, shop in our stores, and play on our grounds.

Regarding family and travel:
• 71 percent of parents wish they spent more time with family.
• 69 percent wish they had more time to spend talking to their kids.
• 39 percent of adults take trips with kids.
• 80 percent of leisure travelers take weekend getaways with their family.

In an era where time is precious and money is valuable, parents want to spend time with their families, and they want to do so while getting the most for their money. When visiting somewhere centrally located, convenient, and accessible—like the Peoria area—parents find many options for affordable entertainment within a 15-minute drive. These are major selling points for us. These families don’t have to drive far to find a special getaway and quality time they’re seeking with their families. It’s right here, it’s simple, and it won’t cost them much.

However, there are still certain roadblocks preventing travel:
• 29 percent are planning to take fewer vacations because they can’t afford it.
• 24 percent can’t leave work.
• 19 percent have things to do at home.
• 12 percent won’t travel because of the price of gas.
• 4 percent won’t travel because of the air travel hassle.
• 41 percent feel like they don’t have enough time.

When building relationships with our target travel consumers, we must always know our customer. IBI