With the successes and silver linings, as well as challenges, brought on by the pandemic, Brand Montana—the division of state’s Commerce department responsible for tourism leadership and management—determined it was an imperative time to update and further develop the state’s strategic plan for tourism, including individual plans for each of the state’s major regions that work in tandem to support the overall vision. Research, data gathering from multiple sources and deep insights were needed in order to set benchmarks, uncover critical perceptions and desires among locals and tourists, and to set the course of the plan towards success. Destination Analysts was tapped to lead this.
Destination Analysts’ Designed Solution
Working closely with Brand MT, local stakeholders and the lead planning firm, Corragio Group, Destination Analysts’ team designed a research plan to serve as essential building blocks for the strategy. The research program prioritized inclusion—enabling the many and varied people that tourism has the potential to impact to have a voice—as well as resilience and sustainability, given how tourism both affects the state’s natural resources and provides an important source of funding for environmental improvement projects. Quantitative data collection and analysis—through surveys, location and spending data sets—and qualitative methodologies—through in-depth interviews and focus groups—were employed to provide the fullest, deepest picture of where Montana tourism is, and pointing to the ideal paths.
The Organization’s Success
Montana destination brand studies and visitor behavior analysis are already providing critical metrics to measure success against, as well as serving as important tools of ideation. Although this is appropriately a multi-month project that is in its initial stages, with the assurance that solid information is at the foundation, engagement across a diverse group of audiences is high.