Travel Alberta

Monthly Reports Provide Statistical Grist for the Mill

The more you know, the better decisions you’ll make.

That’s the simple rationale behind the Alberta Tourism Market Monitor, a series of free, publically available publications that provide data on a multitude of factors that affect visitor travel, consumption and trends.

Posted monthly online by the Tourism Research and Evaluation unit at Alberta Culture and Tourism, the Market Monitor includes travel, accommodation and attendance statistics.  An annual, year-over-year edition is also produced each May.

The easy-to-access guides provide current data on key tourism indicators such as air passenger volumes, major highway traffic, attendance at national parks, historic sites and museums, hotel occupancy rates, employment information, exchange rates and more.

Travel Alberta posts Market Monitor highlights and links on our industry website and in our monthly Connections e-newsletter.

“This data is so useful because it is real time and marketing moves fast,” says Jasmine Thompson, Travel Alberta’s Director, Insights and Brand Strategy.

New Feature Expands Hotel Data

A new feature introduced in the Market Monitor this spring was accommodation information for an additional 22 cities and towns across Alberta. This includes occupancy rate, average daily room rate and revenue per available room.

Previously, occupancy rates were provided just for Edmonton, Calgary, Alberta resorts, “other Alberta” and “Total Alberta (excl. resorts).” But tourism operators in smaller cities and towns said they needed a more in-depth geographic breakdown.

“Now, a hotel owner in Red Deer can see how his business is performing against others,” says Thompson. “If his occupancy rate is much lower than the average, for example, he knows something is wrong. He can compare pricing, to see it that’s an issue.”

Another new feature this year is an update on the status of major tourism projects, such as the construction or renovation of hotels, upgrades to tourist attractions and hiking trail extensions.

Leisure Tourism Holds Own in Tough Year

The Market Monitor’s annual report lays out a year’s worth of data with year-to-year comparisons and provides insights on performance and trends. The 2015 report was recently released.

It revealed a tough year for the tourism industry in Alberta, especially for business travel, which was significantly affected by low oil prices and the slowdown in Alberta’s economy. At the same time, leisure travel held its own.

While occupancy rates were down in most of the province (in addition to the economic slowdown, the supply of hotel rooms increased in both Calgary and Edmonton in 2015), the Alberta Resort category reached its highest occupancy and average daily room rates in five years.

Other shining lights were the National Parks, with attendance strong across the board – Waterton Lakes National Park was up 15.3 per cent – and Historic Sites and Museums, with growth of 9.8 per cent in 2015.

The report concluded that conditions such as a lower Canadian dollar and oil prices support more leisure travel for Americans to and within Alberta, staycations for Albertans and the attraction of domestic visitors from the rest of Canada.

“This is very valuable context,” says Thompson. “By reading these reports regularly, tourism operators can find ways to use the data to help grow their business and ensure they have information relative to how tourism is performing as a whole.”

For more information, or to subscribe to the Market Monitor:

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