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Internet Presence and Social Media Perceptions and Usage by Visitors to Crater Lake National Park Rosemary Keane, Jordan W. Smith, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Internet Presence and Social Media Perceptions and Usage by Visitors to Crater Lake National Park Rosemary Keane, Jordan W. Smith, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Internet Presence and Social Media Perceptions and Usage by Visitors to Crater Lake National Park Rosemary Keane, Jordan W. Smith, Ph.D George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites Oakland, CA March 31, 2015

2 PURPOSE  Visitors are increasingly turning to online content for planning decisions and sharing of their experiences. 1  There is a need for effective and targeted communication to visitors of varying demographics, ethnicities, ages, etc. 2  Social media can create a link between a person’s interests and park- related information. 3,4  Social media activity has been linked to increased memory retention of the trip. 4,5 1.Hart, Nisbet & Shanahan, 2011, 2. Parker, Green, & Johnson, 2014, 3. Litvin, Goldsmith, & Pan, Fotis, Buhalis, & Rossides, 2012; 5. Yoo, Lee, Gretzel, & Fesenmaier, 2009.

3 SURVEY METHODS 2014: 535,508 visitors Peak season: June - September 22 days in July and August, 2 sites. 580 randomly selected visitors 64% response rate

4 SURVEY METHODS TRIP RELATED  Social Media Usage and Preferences;  Trusted Information Sources;  Preferences for Wi-Fi access. GENERAL  Basic Demographic Information;  Visitor Characteristics and Trip Information;  Social Media Usage and Preferences

5 BASIC VISITOR DEMOGRAPHICS Gender, Ethnicity and Age 86% White/Caucasian 3% Asian 2% Hispanic/Latino 0.7% Black/African American 54% Men 46% Women Men

6 BASIC VISITOR DEMOGRAPHICS Locale and Educational Background 21% of all U.S respondents were Oregon residents 41% of all U.S respondents were from neighboring states. 12% of all respondents were international. The majority of visitors had some college education.

7 VISITOR/TRIP CHARACTERISTICS Group Size and Composition The majority of visitors were traveling in groups of two. The majority of visitors were traveling without children.

8 VISITOR/TRIP CHARACTERISTICS Initial/Repeat Visit, Length of Stay Initial: 65% The majority of the visitors had not previously visited Crater Lake National Park. The majority of visitors were staying at the park for one day or less.

9 GENERAL SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE AND PREFERENCES 76% of visitors were active on at least one social media platform. Facebook and Instagram were the most frequently used platforms. Flickr was the least frequently used platform. Keep in contact with their social network Find and share information Entertainment

10 TRIP-RELATED SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE 51% of visitors had visited the official Crater Lake website. 80% of those visitors had used the official website to plan their trip. 9% of visitors had visited the Crater Lake Facebook page. 2% of visitors had visited the Crater Lake Twitter page.

11 TRIP-RELATED SOCIAL MEDIA PREFERENCES Visitors preferred to use Facebook for content regarding park conditions and directions.

12 TRIP-RELATED SOCIAL MEDIA PREFERENCES Visitors also preferred to use Facebook for content regarding activities and amenities.

13 TRIP-RELATED SOCIAL MEDIA PREFERENCES Visitors preferred to use YouTube for content regarding the natural/cultural history and wildlife of the park.

14 ALTERNATIVE TRIP-RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES

15 TRUST IN TRIP-RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES 1. Smith et al., 2012 Consistent with previous research 1

16 PREFERENCES FOR WI-FI ACCESS Would having Wi-Fi access at Crater Lake National Park allow you to have a higher quality recreation experience?

17 PREFERENCES FOR WI-FI ACCESS How strongly do you either support or oppose having Wi-Fi access at Crater Lake National Park? 62 %

18 CONCLUSIONS The National Park Service is the most trusted source of trip related information for visitors. Visitors will seek and trust information from family and close friends. Social media is a useful and cost effective method of communication with visitors. Social media would allow the NPS to create a mutually beneficial conversation between the agency and visitors. Visitors have clear content platform preferences when seeking information about their trip.

19 FUTURE RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES What other platforms are used most frequently by visitors? What kinds of content does the National Park Service have online now? What kinds of social media strategies does the National Park Service have in place? Will these trends differ at parks with higher visitor rates or near larger urban areas? Do visitors prefer or enjoy interaction with the NPS staff via social media?

20 BEST PRACTICES FOR MANAGERS Develop a social media strategy. Be aware of content-platform preferences. Try to post information where visitors are most likely to look for it. Consider providing free Wi-Fi access at central locations within the park. Engage in meaningful conversation with visitors. Make social media connections with similar agencies. Develop multi-media content. Share your content on multiple platforms.


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