California Market Research

California Travel Industry Market Research

In 2007, Visit California embarked on a comprehensive qualitative research project with Smith & Company and MeringCarson. The purpose of this study was to explore and refine California’s communication strategy, engaging in a direct dialogue with leisure travelers to ensure the State’s brand platform remains differentiating, relevant and motivational on a visceral level. While California’s brand advertising has been continuously tracked from a quantitative standpoint over the past decade by D.K. Shifflet & Associates and Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc. (SMARI), qualitative research of this scale had not been undertaken since 1997.  Follow up studies were then conducted in several of California's top international markets to measure similarities and differences in the perception of California among domestic and international travelers.

View the Qualitative Research Executive Summary PDF.


In-State Interviews and Domestic Focus Groups

Phase 1 consisted of 245 In-the-Moment Interviews with Leisure Travelers in California.

  •    13% in-state
  •    47% out-of-state
  •    40% international

Phase 2
consisted of 12 Focus Groups with Past Visitors and Prospects in Key Primary Domestic (Seattle) and National Opportunity (New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago) Markets. View the Focus Groups Video.


International Focus Groups and Qualitative Research

Gauge how international travelers in target countries perceive California on rational and emotional levels & compare attitudes of international travelers to those of domestic travelers. View the International Focus Groups Overview and Highlights (July - October 2007) PDF.








United Kingdom


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Visitors spent a projected $125.9 billion in California in 2016, providing $10.3 billion in state & local tax revenue.
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