Research conducted with visitors during the design of the destination benchmarking method demonstrated that a wide range of factors which make up the ‘visitor experience’ are of importance in determining satisfaction. The method currently measures over 20 ‘indicators’, covering aspects of places to visit, accommodation, shops, places to eat and drink, parking, tourist information as well as measuring overall satisfaction with the visit.
With benchmarking acting as the catalyst for change and improvement, there is clearly a benefit in being able to prioritise the required action that emerges from the findings of the destination benchmarking process. Whilst action in some areas will necessarily be opportunist, because funds are in place or partners in position to move forward, from a market perspective a destination should focus upon those aspects on which it is under performing which are of greatest importance to visitors and their overall satisfaction.
Additional research has also been conducted with the objective of establishing a form of ranking or prioritisation of indicators, through a mixture of focus group work and a re-analysis of existing benchmarking data which examines performance on individual indicators with overall satisfaction scores. These scores add a further dimension to the interpretation of benchmarking results and help destinations more effectively plan for change.