Research

PGAV Destinations consistently conducts primary research and publishes our findings, working to build a greater understanding of destination visitors, the economy, the environment, and more so that we, along with our clients, can better operate destinations strategically and intelligently.

Whether it’s understanding how families plan vacations, shining light on the revitalization of the American east coast tourism economy, or unraveling the mysteries around the Millennial generation and their destination desires, we continuously work to uncover the trends and leverage that data to make unique, innovative, insightful decisions in our designs and master planning recommendations.

Interested readers may sign up for our quarterly publication, Destinology, to share in our research insights and empower their destinations with new understandings.

Digitizing Destinations 3.0

Digitizing Destinations 3.0

Technological Preferences of Today's Destination Guest

This year, PGAV Destinations teamed up with H2R Market Research to study the impact that technology is having on America’s destinations, and the preferences and opinions of today’s destination visitors. We interviewed 500 destination guests from across the country that own or use internet ready mobile devices, and delved into their technological preferences, fears, skills, and knowledge. The study’s findings unravel the key mysteries of what’s going through your guests’ minds while they enjoy the lights, sounds, buzzes, and zips of your destination, and where you can make some strategic improvements to upgrade to Destination 3.0. Full publication. 

Storytelling

Storytelling

It Can Change Your Mind

Storytelling’s been at the root of our designs since our firm’s inception; and over the decades, it’s only gotten more prominent. As we carefully study, and have the privilege of helping sculpt, the destination industry, we see guests and visitors becoming more and more captivated by storytelling, and destinations telling better stories to deliver their missions. Storytelling: It Can Change Your Mind is the result of nearly a year of interviewing neuroscientists, social scientists, and our own experienced storytellers to unravel the mysteries and skills woven throughout the best tales ever told. Full publication.

STEM

STEM

America's Destinations Lead the Way

It's projected that employment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields in the US will grow almost twice as fast as employment in any other occupation between 2008 and 2018; yet, America is falling behind many other countries in producing STEM talent. PGAV Destinations piloted a deep analysis of the STEM job market, STEM education systems, and how they may relate to destinations from science centers to theme parks to zoos. Full Destinology Issue.

The New Destination Visitor

The New Destination Visitor

Travel Motivations in the Post-Recession Era

Having passed through the crucible of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, travel consumers are back on the road. But they are wiser, seek greater value, and are more sensitive to pain points than ever before. PGAV Destinations’ latest research compares recent findings to pre-recession studies to track key shifts in consumer behavior in the post-recession era. Full Destinology Issue.

The Splurge Traveler

The Splurge Traveler

Most travelers splurge. Yet this phenomenon is perhaps one of the least understood aspects of the travel and leisure industry.

PGAV Destinations hired Jerry Henry & Associates to conduct a national study of splurging with travelers and attractions visitors. “Based on our experience, destination operators often overlook this trend,” says Mike Konzen, VP of PGAV Destinations. “We see a sharp increase in the number of destinations that are creating splurge opportunities as a means of business growth.” The purpose of this study was to measure the incidence of splurge behavior among travelers and attractions visitors and to evaluate who is most likely to engage in this trend. PGAV sought to fully understand the reasons why travel consumers make the decision to splurge. Full Destinology Issue.

The Art of the Family Vacation

The Art of the Family Vacation

What they want…How they plan…Why they go…

It’s that delicate balance of interests, more complex than a Congressional subcommittee. It’s that persistence to find the right blend of activities that satisfies everyone. It’s the think-on-your-feet flexibility to adapt when things don’t play out the way that you planned. It’s the after-the-fact hindsight that helps you do it better next time. And just when you think you’ve got the kids figured out, they change on you. It’s the family vacation, the most creative act that most families will ever undertake together. Planning, executing, and enjoying a family vacation is truly a rich and complex art form. Even for experienced destinologists like us, this particular art form defies easy understanding. Full Destinology Issue.

Meet the Millennials

Meet the Millennials

Insights for Destinations

Every generation experiences the world in a different way, developing attributes that uniquely reflect who they are. The group aged 18 to 29, grew into adulthood at the beginning of a new millennium. Impacted by significant global trends including the explosion of technology, this group has three distinguishing features: Millennials are the most diverse generation ever born in the United States; they are becoming the most educated generation in American history; and they are easily the most connected generation of all time. Full Destinology Issue.

(Pew Research Center, “Millennials – A Portrait of Generation Next,” February 2010)

Releasing Wild Success

Releasing Wild Success

PGAV Explores the Interests and Motivations of Zoo-goers

Sometimes it seems like zoo-goers are a whole different breed. They are generally more educated, more ethnically diverse, and earn higher incomes than other attractions guests, but understanding how zoo guests operate can teach us about guests at all types of attractions. Zoos are one of the most popular attractions in America, with almost half of all attractions visitors in the country having visited a zoo in the past 2 years. According to the AZA, over 150 million people visit accredited zoos and aquariums annually. That’s more than all professional sports combined! So, what gets Americans excited to go to the zoo in the first place? Full Destinology Issue.

Real Potential

Real Potential

The Power of authenticity to Reposition Your Destination

The current PGAV study explores authenticity, a challenging concept and rather hard nut to crack. We all think we know what the word means, but the truth is, it means different things to different people. Authenticity is context-dependent, and can be perceived differently by visitors to different places or settings. In the recent national survey of attractions visitors performed by Jerry Henry and Associates, one thing is crystal clear: the trend toward authenticity is indisputable and pervasive. Full Destinology Issue.

Survival of the Greenest

Survival of the Greenest

The Attraction Consumer’s Growing Interest in the Environment

A new study by PGAV Destinations in collaboration with the world-renowned Missouri Botanical Garden has a message for the attractions industry: Beware –Green Matters! Respondents to a national survey conducted by Jerry Henry & Associates report they want to see proof of being green. The survey found skepticism toward places that try to appear green without demonstrating bonafide sustainable practices. A closer look at demographics shows that young people are the driving force for environmental priorities… so industry planners have much to gain long-term by paying attention to their voices. Full Destinology Issue.

Destinations and Social Responsibility

Destinations and Social Responsibility

Biltmore’s Guests Get Green

As long-time stewards of the environment, Biltmore’s management team was intrigued by the recent PGAV national survey entitled “Survival of the Greenest.” That survey offered keen insights into how the general population of consumers thinks about sustainability. Because Biltmore frequently utilizes an Online Best of Biltmore Research Panel consisting of 5000 customers, they have a ready vehicle for communicating directly with their guests. Full Destinology Issue.

Growing the Tourism Economy of America’s First Coast

Growing the Tourism Economy of America’s First Coast

PGAV Destinations completes Master Plan for St. Johns County, Florida, including Historic St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach

The Tourist Development Council of St. Johns County has retained PGAV Destinations to develop a Destination Master Plan. PGAV has executed this project with  the assistance of Mafellan Strategy Group, led by Chris Cavanaugh. The purpose of this plan is to provide an actionable plan that guides the development of the tourism industry in St. Johns County for the next several years. The plan address key issues, such as the role of the upcoming 400th and 450th Anniversaries, the potential of the County’s emerging arts and culture activities to serve as a catalyst for tourism, and the potential increase of the County’s exceptional golf assets as drivers of tourism. The plan also sought to identify other underutilized attributes such as the County’s African-American and Hispanic tourism assets.  Full Destinology Issue.

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