Madera County, California

Goals

To provide insights into visitation to Madera County, California, including who visits, why they visit, perceptions and reviews of visits, and the main attractions and events offered by Madera County to draw visitors to the location. In addition, high-level visibilty into marketing tactics (both digital and traditional) is also of interest. This information will be used to understand who is visiting Madera County, and what attracts them to this destination.

Early Findings

Madera County, California

  • Madera County is located in the center of California, stretching from the San Joaquin Valley to the Sierra Nevada mountains.
  • The county is home to a number of higher-education institutions, as well as supporting an agriculture and manufacturing industry.
  • The southern entrance to Yosemite National Park is also located in Madera County.

Visitor Profile

  • In 2018, visitors spent $338.8 million in Madera County, which followed a year in which a wildfire (Ferguson fire) closed roads to Yosemite.
  • Anecdotally, the majority of tourists are from the state of California.
  • The county also attracts international visitors, with visitors from Germany, France, and Australia most frequently observed visiting the tourist information center in Madera County.
  • Based on a 2017 Yosemite visitor survey by the National Park Service, visitor gender split 50/50 male/female, with 53% of visitors over 50, 27% of visitors between 31 and 50, and 20% of visitors under 50.
  • An older, more comprehensive study from 2009 suggests the park attracts more younger visitors, with 19% under 15. In this survey, United States visitors comprised 75% of the total visitors, with 14% of the international visitors from the United Kingdom, and 13% of the international visitors from Germany.
  • One of the top-ranked destinations for family vacations in California, this reviewer notes of Yosemite, "With some of the most impressive natural scenery in the world, Yosemite is a must-visit destination for families".

Drivers of Madera County Visitation

  • Yosemite, with its waterfalls and scenic views, is considered a top draw for Madera County.
  • The nice weather is also an attraction for tourists.

Perceptions of Madera County

  • Yosemite Madera County generates strong reviews, garnering 4.8/5 stars across 65 reviews on Facebook. A sample review includes "breathtaking, awesome place to visitgreat place to hike."
  • Across 20 Tripadvisor reviews, Madera Wine Trail generates strong reviews (4.0/5.0), with a sample comment, "A nice activity anytime and a great way to spend an afternoon. All the wineries we have visited on the trail are the same in that they are very friendly and happy to see you. Wines are value priced and the properties are all well kept and easily accessible".

Main Attractions and Events (Small and Large)

  • Madera County offers numerous outdoor activities, featuring Yosemite National Park and Bass Lake, which offers fishing, hiking and biking, as well as water sports, including kayaking and paddle boarding.
  • Yosemite is positioned as a family vacation location, with opportunities for hiking and spectacular views. Madera County is home to the south entrance to Yosemite, offering the opportunity to visit waterfalls, ride a steam train or hike to Mirror Lake.

Marketing Tactics (Digital and Traditional)

  • With Yosemite as a primary draw to Madera County, communication focuses largely on "Yosemite Madera County", a campaign initiated after the California wildfires.
  • Website communication highlights the many activities offered to tourists associated with Yosemite and beyond.
  • The 'Visit Yosemite Madera County' Facebook page showcases the strong customer reviews, as well as the photographs, highlighting scenic views within the park.
  • The Visit Yosemite Madera County twitter account highlights visuals from Yosemite, 'virtual wine tasting' and weather reports (along with updates associated with the park's shutdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • After the fire, 'Visit Yosemite Madera County' partnered with several online travel companies, such as Expedia, to communicate their messaging around the park as a tourist destination. They also leveraged newsletters, e-mail campaigns, and social media.

Summary of Early Research Relevant To The Goals

  • In this first hour, we were able to find information suggesting that, while Madera County has numerous activities to offer to tourists, the primary driver of visitation to Madera County is Yosemite, one of the top national parks in the United States.
  • Following the California wildfires, a campaign called 'Visit Yosemite Madera County' was initiated across various forms of social and traditional media, with this campaign continuing today. 'Visit Yosemite Madera County' outreach included messaging to domestic and international audiences.
  • Given Yosemite's prominent role in attracting families to its park, the visitor profile we were able to uncover indicated that families, as well as older adults (50+), are the primary visitors to Madera County. Additionally, Madera county appears to source most of its visitors from the United States, with some international visitation from Germany, France, and Australia. More dated information suggests tourists from the United Kingdom also visit Madera County.
  • We were able to find ratings and reviews for specific attractions in Madera County, including Yosemite and the Madera Wine Trail.
  • Our next steps consider the information we were able to uncover in this first hour.

Proposed next steps:

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