Marketing Study sponsored by:
The Marketing Feasibility Study is a project of the
Mountain Parkway Trails Corridor (Estill, Lee, Magoffin, Owsley, Powell
and Wolfe Counties of Kentucky) and paid for ($20,000) by Southern and
Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA), a division of
the Center for Rural Development, Somerset, KY. The Study was conducted
by Certec, Inc, Lexington, KY.
The entire Study, which is too long for this web page, is available at the SEKTDA office in Somerset and at the courthouse of the above mentioned counties. Following is the Executive Summary and extractions from the study that refer to the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument.
This study confirms (at least to the admittedly biased mind of this writer) that if we do not build this monument, we are all a bunch of dunderheads.
"The addition of a Magnet Attraction will have the greatest impact in the shortest period of time. This can be accomplished in this region with the development of the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument. This facility will have a major impact on tourism development in the region. It will stimulate growth throughout the region and in the lodging and other services sectors of the tourism industry." -from the Implementation of Marketing section
An in-depth marketing feasibility study
for the Mountain Parkway Trails region has been carried out for the
Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association. Detailed
discussions were held with people knowledgeable about elements of the
project. Market research was conducted with visitors to the area.
Proprietary tourism databases were reviewed to aid in identifying the
potential market for the region. Funding sources were identified. The
major findings of this research are presented below:
* To be a healthy tourism destination the Mountain Parkway Trails region needs to continually develop new product. This means adding to its attraction, lodging, and service facilities.
* The primary product need is for a Magnet Attraction. This region need can be addressed by adding the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument to the attraction inventory. The Heritage Monument would be a major landmark for Eastern Kentucky. Its size and quality as a work of art along with its links to Eastern Kentucky music, arts, and crafts will have a very positive impact on the image of this area of Eastern Kentucky.
* The Heritage Monument will have a major impact on the economy of the area. By the third year of operation it could generate over $63.2 million for the Kentucky economy. It would nearly double tourism expenditures in the six county region from $30.9 million to $58.4 million. Jobs directly created by tourists to the area will increase from 714 to 1,334.
* The addition of this single Magnet Attraction will stimulate tourism growth throughout the Mountain Parkway Trails region. It will create a need for additional lodging facilities restaurants, and retail shopping outlets. It will make the area much more inviting to potential investors looking for good opportunities in which to invest. As a result the overall economy will be improved.
* A number of other potential product additions were identified. These include lodging properties, attractions, events, and packages, which would greatly improve the tourism industry of the region.
* The market research led to the development of a detailed Marketing Plan for promoting the Mountain Parkway Trails region. This lengthy discussion is provided in the report.
* There are obstacles to tourism growth in the region. Lack of local funding of tourism is a serious roadblock to tourism expansion. It can most quickly be overcome by growth in tourism product resulting from an infusion of resources from outside the region.
* A number of financing options for region tourism projects were identified. Specific financing programs will need to be matched and accessed depending on the type of project being pursued.
INTRODUCTION….(Available in original study)
BACKGROUND….(Available in original study)
After a careful review… we were able to
develop insights into how to best market the area.
An integral part of any marketing strategy is the development of new product. It is not enough to only market what is already in place. To be a healthy tourism destination an area needs to continually add to its attraction and service facilities. In the case of the Mountain Parkway Trails region the primary need is for a new Magnet Attraction. This is an attraction of such quality and importance to tourism in the area that it will generate substantial visitation to the region. The development of an attraction of this magnitude would change the tourism landscape of this area of Eastern Kentucky.
Such an attraction has been previously identified. Considerable work has already been done to make the development of this attraction a reality. The Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument in tandem with the interpretative center/museum, which will link it with the historically significant music and art of Eastern Kentucky, would increase visitation to the site as well as the larger geographic region surrounding it several fold. It would become the Magnet Attraction the region has long needed to make it a more viable tourism destination.
Previous research by Certec, Inc indicated that the facility will have a substantial economic impact. It will generate, in its third year of operation, over $63.2 million for the Kentucky economy. Wolfe County will receive $15.5 million of the direct expenditures made by tourists. The other five counties of the Mountain Parkway Trails region will benefit from over $12 million in tourism expenditures. A total of 1,335 jobs will be created. Wolfe County will benefit from 380 jobs generated by the direct spending of visitors to the county. The Heritage Monument facility will employ twenty-seven (27) of these people. The other five counties in the region will benefit from the generation of approximately 240 jobs.
The addition of this one major attraction will have an important impact on tourism in the six county region. Tourism expenditures made directly by tourists will nearly double from $30.9 million to $58.4 million. Jobs directly created by tourists will increase from 714 to 1,334 jobs. Attractions, including but not limited to the Heritage Monument, will receive nearly one-third of these expenditures. Food vendors will take in over one-fourth of the direct expenditures. Lodging establishments will receive nearly one-fifth of these dollars. Retail shopping outlets and automotive service stations will also benefit substantially from this spending.
The addition of this single Magnet Attraction will stimulate growth throughout the Mountain Parkway Trails region. It will create a need for additional lodging facilities, restaurants, and retail shopping outlets. It will make the area much more inviting to potential investors looking for good opportunities in which to invest. As a result the overall economy will be improved.
The analysis that led to the above conclusion is detailed below and/or in the previous report prepared for SEKTDA by Certec, Inc. on the feasibility of the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument. The results of the market analysis and the proposed marketing plan are provided below.
[Following this point in the study are over eighty pages of research analysis covering Lodging Development, Attraction Development, Event Development, Theme and Package Development, Project Financing and a host of other topics relevant to the study. Since this summary is concerned with the Eastern Kentucky Monument, I will include only references to the Monument project.]
…under MAIN FINDINGS OF MARKETING DATA-
How likely are these visitors to drive to Campton to view the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument when it is built? Over four out of five (80.9%) state they are likely to do so. Another 14 percent may or may not visit the site. Less than one in twenty state they are very unlikely to make the trip to the monument. This is a high level of interest in visiting the Heritage Monument. Targeted marketing should succeed in converting into visitors to the area most of those currently neutral as well as a portion who now state they are unlikely to visit.
…under MOUNTAIN PARKWAY TRAILS IMAGE-
The foremost challenge to the further development of local tourism is to educate potential travelers of the uniqueness of the Mountain Parkway Trails region through properly positioned and targeted tourism promotion. The Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument would be an important asset in this effort since it would aid the region in overcoming its weakness of limited attraction options. As such, it would contribute to the improvement of the Mountain Parkway Trail’s image among potential travelers to the region.
…under BRAND IDENTIFICATION-
A challenge facing the Mountain Parkway Trails region is to improve on the current brand identity for the area. The new attraction, which supports the scenic brand identity and the area’s music and arts heritage, will help achieve this development goal. Packaging, and promoting, the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument with dining and lodging options, the Natural Bridge State Park, as well as with area events and festivals, would also help build the brand identity. Expansion of the area’s communication strategies primarily through print media would also further this development of the brand identity.
Tourists are motivated by a desire to escape from the pressures of their work environment. Their key goal is to experience a sense of excitement, adventure, and fun in a unique environment away from home. The communications need is to focus on positioning this area of Eastern Kentucky as an exciting and unique family destination with a number of scenic and historical attractions available at a reasonable cost. The Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument would be positioned as an attraction that is both exciting and educational. It would offer a natural tie-in to the arts, crafts, and music heritage of the entire region. Other tie-ins with the area’s history would enhance the Mountain Parkway Trails experience.
…under MARKET PENETRATION-
The quality and importance of the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument attraction should also result in greater penetration of these markets.
The marketing data suggest that visitors to this area of Eastern Kentucky are from up-scale market segments. They are highly educated and in professional and white collar occupations. This is a key target market for the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument and, in turn, for the entire Mountain Parkway Trails region.
The appeal of the Heritage Monument will not be limited to this market segment. Given its links to Eastern Kentucky music, art, crafts, and history, it will stimulate interest among a much broader set of market segments. The music community, the arts community, the history community will all be drawn to this attraction. Media vehicles that target each of these groups should be identified and used to promote the Heritage Monument. Appeals directed at specific demographic groups will not be as successful with these segments as they tend to have much broader appeal among education, occupation, and age groups. For example, interest in music associated with Eastern Kentucky can be found in a wide spectrum of education groups from those with a college education to high school graduates to those who did not complete secondary school. A wide range of occupations also are interested in this music from blue collar to white collar to the self-employed. The music has broad appeal across age groups from youth to seniors. We are confident that the leadership of the Mountain Parkway Trails region understands who make up these diverse groups of supporters of Eastern Kentucky music, arts, and crafts since they have worked with them for many years. Their knowledge will be critical to developing, with the Heritage Monument marketing staff, the precise targeting needed to effectively promote the region.
There are several references to the monument under this heading referring to market penetration, promotion, various media outlets, public relations campaign, marketing, websites, etc. There are further references under PACKAGES.
…They need to become as excited about these other sites as they are about the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument
…under IMPLEMENTATION OF MARKETING PLAN-
…To create a need for more lodging facilities the region will first need to create greater tourism demand. In order to increase demand the region will need to expand its attraction base. The addition of a Magnet Attraction will have the greatest impact in the shortest period of time. This can be accomplished in this region with the development of the Eastern Kentucky Heritage Monument. This facility will have a major impact on tourism development in the region. It will stimulate growth throughout the region and in the lodging and other services sectors of the tourism industry.
Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA)
Somerset, Kentucky 1-877-TOURSEKY
111 West Short Street
Lexington, KY 40507