Chamber surveys snowbirds

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is making use of the Canadian-American Days Festival to launch an annual survey of snowbirds.

MBACC leaders say they use the survey to help direct their targeted marketing efforts and to understand how they can better serve the visitors through new travel opportunities and hospitality efforts.

The 1,500 printed surveys disappeared fast as Canadians and Americans alike checked the boxes and filled in the blanks of the 17-question poll. For snowbirds, filling out the questionnaire was an opportunity to win door prizes, but for the Chamber the surveys have a different value entirely.

"We get a lot of good information about their habits when they're here, their attitudes, and also some demographics," Chamber spokeswoman Nancy Gray explained. "That really helps us better develop our marketing programs, as well as improve services."

Chamber Marketing Research Manager Wendy Bernstein agree.

"We want to get information from them as to how long they're coming and what they're doing while they're here," she said, adding the expo is ideal for sampling tourists. "A lot of our [other] events we don't have gated and therefore it is actually much more difficult to survey people when it is not a gated event."

In all, between 3,500 and 4,500 people showed up for the event, piling the survey stack high. Bernstein says, once compiled, the data can be used to help target marketing efforts between the Chamber and its members.

"Down the road it not only helps the Chamber when we do our marketing, but it also helps our members," Bernstein explained. "We provide this information to our members and then they're better able to target their marketing, they know where we're doing our marketing, so we're not using dollars in the same area."

Gray says the data is also used to help support the need for more air service to Myrtle Beach.

"A couple of years ago we got some feedback from our Canadian visitors that they really wanted direct air service from Toronto," Nancy Gray said. "We used that to get the wheels in motion for providing service from Toronto through Porter Air and also other direct flights."

While all of the surveys have been taken up, Bernstein says it will take some time before the data can be complied.

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