An analysis of the second-year results of the ongoing visitor survey revealed useful information and data about visitors' perceptions of Rochester's strengths and weaknesses as a destination. 

"Our survey provides valuable insights into how our visitors perceive us and what they're saying about us," said Brad Jones, Executive Director of the Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Survey results help us to celebrate our destination's strengths and identify areas that need improvement," Jones said. "Now that we have two years of data under our belt, the survey is becoming an increasingly helpful tool that assists our community in enhancing visitors' experiences in Rochester."

Strengths identified in the survey:

Results of the second-year survey regarding Rochester's strengths were very similar to the first-year results, showing visitors consider some of the city's top advantages to be:

  1. Safety. Safety was also identified as a top strength in last year's survey, and the measure experienced slight upward movement this year. 
  2. Cleanliness. Cleanliness was identified as a top strength last year as well, and also experienced slight upward movement this year.
  3. Friendliness/helpfulness of people. Survey respondents indicated that Rochester's hospitality industry workers and residents are knowledgeable, welcoming, and service-oriented. This measure was high in both first-year and second-year results, but has experienced slight downward movement that is being monitored.

"We are proud that our destination is exceeding expectations in many basic areas that are essential to visitor satisfaction," Jones said.

Emerging positive trends identified in the survey:

Results of the second-year survey also revealed some upward movement in a few vital areas:

  1. Rise in "Visitors being made aware of new experiences." This measure, which translates into increased visitor spending, experienced upward movement.
  2. Rise in "‘Things to do'/attractions experience." This important measure experienced significant upward movement. 
  3. Rise in "Businesses linking to the CVB website." This measure correlates to visitors finding things to do and visitor spending, and also experienced upward movement.

"We moved the needle in some important areas that fuel visitor spending and visitor satisfaction," Jones said. "Our hospitality industry workforce and businesses are knowledgeable advocates for the city and are increasingly encouraging visitors to ‘do more things' while they're in town."

Primary area in need of improvement identified in the survey:

  1. Ease of getting around. For the second year in a row, this measure (which impacts overall spending and word-of-mouth) was lower than desired, although it experienced slight upward movement this year. There is a need to address this challenge and for better visitor resources regarding how to get around Rochester, especially with ongoing construction projects and detours.

"Making it easier for visitors to get around Rochester is a current priority for us. One of the main things visitors remember about a destination-and tell others--is how difficult or easy it was to get around. We want people to remember Rochester positively," Jones said.

Another area that the hospitality industry is going to focus on in the coming year is to encourage repeat visits and increase visitors' intentions to return to Rochester, Jones said. Although the current survey data on this area is not a cause for concern, Jones says Rochester can do better in this area. "We want our visitors to love Rochester and feel so welcomed that they'll want to return," he said.

About the survey:

The survey was completed by 2,420 visitors, 57 percent of whom lived 180 miles or more from Rochester, between April, 2016 and March, 2017. The survey, which takes one minute to complete, randomly selects five questions from a pool of 110 questions for each survey respondent. The survey measures visitors' satisfaction with all aspects of their experiences in Rochester.

An analysis of the second year of data was shared with local hospitality businesses on July 19. Mickey Schaefer of The Experience Institute, which developed the survey for the Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau, presented the findings. To request a copy of the full 21-page report on results from the survey's first year, email

Feedback received from the survey will help the Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau and the hospitality industry prioritize initiatives and allocate resources to improve visitor experiences. The city of Rochester's lodging establishments hosted more than three million overnight visitors last year.

The Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official marketing agency for the city of Rochester, responsible for destination sales and marketing efforts. The RCVB works to encourage conventions, meetings, sporting events and business travel to Rochester and provides travel-planning support for the patients of Mayo Clinic. The Convention & Visitors Bureau offers comprehensive information about lodging, dining, special events, activities and local attractions. For more information,, @rahrahrochester on Twitter, VisitRochesterMN on Facebook.