APRIL 1, 2019

An analysis of the fourth-year results of the ongoing visitor survey revealed what visitors consider to be Rochester’s strengths as a destination, and what visitors identify as areas in need of improvement.

"This year’s results continue to show that visitors give high marks to our city’s welcoming environment and our ‘culture of caring’ that distinguishes Rochester as a warm and hospitable destination. In particular, visitors rated our city’s ‘friendly, helpful people’ exceedingly high, and that is a wonderful testament to Rochester’s extraordinary hospitality professionals as well as the caring citizens of our community,” said Mary Gastner, interim executive director of Experience Rochester MN. The primary areas in need of improvement identified in the survey are related to the “ease of getting around” and the need for better “way-finding” (assistance with directions) and signage.

Major strengths identified in the survey:

  • Friendly, helpful people. Survey respondents indicated that Rochester’s hospitality industry workers and residents are knowledgeable, welcoming, and service-oriented. Visitors also reported high rates of “feeling welcomed.” These measures have remained high throughout all four years of survey results.  One survey respondent commented: “We visited Rochester for an appointment at the Mayo Clinic.  Literally everywhere we went, it was like getting the red carpet treatment from our hotel to every restaurant, to the bus driver.  Everyone was kind to us, and the Mayo Clinic was far beyond excellent.  We have been recommending Rochester as a place to visit."
  • ​​Destination information resources. Respondents indicated they found it easy to access and find information about Rochester. They shared that area websites gave a positive impression with consistent and accurate information.

Positive trends identified in the survey:

  • Overall experience. The “overall destination experience” measure has climbed steadily for the last four years.  This measurement encompasses overall visitor satisfaction with Rochester.
    Overall destination image. The “overall destination image” measure has also risen steadily for the past four years. This measurement encompasses how well Rochester differentiates itself from other destinations and how appealing Rochester is compared to other destinations.
  • Visitors did more things This important measure has risen slightly and is moving in a positive direction.

Primary areas in need of improvement identified in the survey:

  • Ease of getting around and way-finding/signage.  For the fourth year in a row, these measures were lower than desired. These important measures impact overall visitor spending and the likelihood of visitors recommending Rochester as a destination. There is a need to address these challenges and for better visitor resources on how to get around Rochester, especially with ongoing construction projects and detours.
  • Return intentions. Repeat visitor intentions were also lower than desired. This is another area that Experience Rochester and the hospitality industry will prioritize in the coming year.
  • The need to develop more “things to do” for visitors. This year’s survey showed an increase in visitors finding helpful lists of “things to do” and an increase of visitors being made aware of new experiences that match their interests.  However, there was only a slight increase with visitors actually “doing more things” while in the city.  This points to the need for the development of additional attractions and entertainment options in Rochester.   


About the survey:

The visitor survey was launched four years ago to help Experience Rochester and the hospitality industry prioritize initiatives and allocate resources to improve the experiences of the more than 3 million annual overnight visitors to Rochester.

The survey was completed by  4,699 visitors, 53% of whom lived 180 miles or more from Rochester, between April, 2018 and March, 2019. 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.

To request a copy of the full 21-page report on results from the survey’s fourth year, email

Experience Rochester MN is the official marketing agency for the city of Rochester, responsible for destination sales and marketing efforts. Experience Rochester works to encourage conventions, meetings, sporting events and business and leisure travel to Rochester and provides travel-planning support for patients of Mayo Clinic. Experience Rochester MN offers comprehensive information about lodging, dining, special events, activities, and local attractions. For more information, visit, @MNs_Rochester on Twitter, MinnesotasRochester on Facebook.