The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre recently set out on a quest to discover something a little more land-oriented than usual.
Staff and management from the aquarium took to the streets of the Sidney summer market July 26 and Aug. 2 to find out who exactly made up the mass of people who attend the weekly event.
“Surprisingly, no formal survey had ever been conducted [on who attends the market],” said Angus Matthews, the executive director of the Ocean Discovery Centre. “It’s one of the largest influxes of visitors to the town and knowing where the people are coming from really helps us in directing the marketing of our community.”
“We wanted to know where the people coming to the market were travelling from,” added Leshell Michaluk, the marketing director for the aquarium. “Were they coming from Victoria, were they locals? We wanted to know.”
The team did a total of 285 surveys which indicated several things.
They found 34 per cent of market visitors live in Sidney and 83 per cent live in the Capital region (including the Sidney residents). Sixteen per cent were visitors from outside the Capital region and half were guests of locals. A staggering 87 per cent of all visitors had been to the Sidney summer market before and the same group said they expect to attend the market an average of 3.7 times this year. Of all market visitors 28 per cent said they expected to do other retail shopping in Sidney and 41 per cent expected to dine at a restaurant in Sidney (some doing both). Forty-seven per cent did not expect to do other shopping or dining in the town.
“We strongly support the market and look forward to improved success as the town seeks a new operator for 2013 who will do more to co-operate with merchants, upgrade the market and promote Sidney as a great regional destination,” said Matthews.
The information the centre collected was shared with the Sidney Business Association and the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. The next survey Matthews hopes to do would be an exit survey at the Anacortes ferry terminal asking visitors where they visited on the Peninsula and what they knew about the Peninsula prior to visiting.
“We’re hoping to that survey next year,” he said.
The town of Sidney is currently accepting requests for proposals to run the Sidney summer market after they terminated the Sidney Business Association’s contract to run the event in July. The market runs until Aug. 30.