I frequently hear the term "sample size". Can you explain what this means?

Sample size is the base on which the data are analyzed. Generally it is the number of people who responded to a survey, but in the case of travel, it may also be the number of stays, particularly if these are the "population" you are counting or describing.

I am in a big state and my CVBs are concerned that if they are the second or third destination on a trip their visitation is underrepresented. Is this true?

Not in the DK Shifflet data where information is collected for each destination visited (stays) on a trip including the purposes of the stay and the activities participated in.

How does DK Shifflet know the sample they use is representative of the U.S. traveling population?

This question has a two-part answer. First, we survey a national representative sample of adults. This sample includes both travelers and non-travelers. Because we include non-travelers, we can determine the proportion of the total U.S. population who is traveling.

Second, to ensure the incoming sample remains representative, it is re-balanced each month against the U.S. population on gender, age, education, income, and residence geography.

Why does DK Shifflet use only online data collection method instead of both mail and online?

DK Shifflet’s TRAVEL PERFORMANCE/Monitor℠ is a comprehensive study measuring the travel behavior of U.S. residents. DK Shifflet contacts 50,000 distinct U.S. households monthly and has done so since 1991. DK Shifflet is able to provide current behavior and long-term trended analyses on a wide range of travel.

DK Shifflet data are collected using an online methodology employing KnowledgePanel®, an address based sample panel offered by GfK. The sample is drawn as a national probability sample and returns are balanced to ensure representation of the U.S. population according to the most recent U.S. Census. Key factors used for balancing are origin state, age, income, education, gender, ethnicity/race and return rates. The KnowledgePanel sample is used to create benchmark weights, which are applied to surveys returned from other managed panels used by DK Shifflet.

Both traveling and non-traveling households are surveyed each month enabling DK Shifflet to generate the best estimate of travel incidence (volume) within the total U.S. population. Among those who have traveled (overnight in the past three months, and daytrips in the past month) details of their trip(s) are recorded for each month. This overlapping, repeating monthly approach boosts the observed number of trips for each travel month and controls for seasonality and telescoping biases. "Travel" is defined as either an overnight trip defined as going someplace, staying overnight and then returning home or as a day-trip defined as a place away from home and back in the same day. Respondents report travel behavior for each stay of each trip; an approach that enhances reporting for specific travel events, activities and spending.

A wide variety of general travel information is collected including travel to destinations at a city level, hotel stayed in, purpose of stay and activities, expenditures, mode of transportation, party composition, length of stay, travel agent and group tour usage, satisfaction and value ratings, and demographics, including origin markets.

Several questions are asked as open-ends to ensure that the responses are not influenced by a pre-listed set of response categories. Each respondent identifies the actual destination visited with an open-end response. This is particularly significant for obtaining accurate data for smaller cities and counties and representing total travel. This increases time and expense to accurately capture these responses, but quality requires it.

Extensive coding lists are updated regularly to ensure that all data is recorded accurately. DK Shifflet’s quality control committee conducts bi-monthly meetings to review survey results and examine methods to maintain and improve quality control.

How does DK Shifflet define its hotel segments?

Breaking the hotel/motel Industry into mutually exclusive segments allows greater discrimination of behavior and flexibility. To define the segments, chains are clustered by business/leisure mix, competitive set and room rate. Small chains and Independents (SC/I) are clustered by room rate. Every year room rate ranges are re-evaluated to determine whether room rate ranges need to be increased. Following is the three and six segment breakdown:

High End Luxury 

  • Fairmont Hotel
  • Four Seasons
  • Helmsley Hotel
  • Inter-Continental
  • Loews Hotel
  • Nikko Hotels
  • Preferred
  • Ritz Carlton
  • Sofitel
  • Steigenberger
  • W Hotels
  • SC/I

High End Upscale

  • Adams Mark
  • Club Med
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Disney
  • Doubletree
  • Embassy Suites
  • Hawthorn Suites 
  • Hilton
  • Holiday Inn Select
  • Holiday Inn
  • Homewood Suites
  • Hyatt
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Oakwood Apt.
  • Omni, Outrigger
  • Radisson
  • Renaissance
  • Residence Inn
  • Sheraton
  • Stouffer
  • Summerfield Suites
  • Sumner Suites
  • Westin
  • Woodfin Suites
  • Wyndhamn
  • SC/I

Mid-Level Upper Moderate

  • AmeriSuites
  • Clarion
  • Compri
  • Country Inns & Suites
  • Courtyard
  • Four Points
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Holiday Inn
  • Lexington Suites
  • Novotel
  • Quality Suites
  • Ramada
  • Red Lion
  • Shilo
  • Welleslay Inn
  • Wingate
  • Wyndham Garden
  • SC/I

Mid-level Moderate

  • Ameri Host Inn
  • Baymont
  • Best Western
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Comfort Suites
  • Drury Inn
  • Fairfield Inn
  • Hampton Inn
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Holiday Inn Exp.
  • Homegate Studios
  • Howard Johnson
  • La Quinta
  • Mainstay Suites
  • Quality Inn
  • Springhill Suites
  • Staybridge Suites
  • TownPlace Suites
  • SC/I

Economy Lower Moderate

  • AmericInn
  • Comfort Inns
  • Days Inn
  • Ext. Stay America
  • Homestead Studios
  • Ramada Limited
  • Red Roof
  • Sleep Inns
  • Studio Plus
  • Sun Suites
  • The Hearthside
  • Travelodge
  • SC/I

Economy Budget

  • Best Inn
  • Budget Host Inn
  • Crossland Suites
  • Econo Lodge
  • Inn Town Suites
  • Knights Inn
  • Microtel
  • Motel 6
  • Rodeway Inn
  • Studio 6
  • Suburban Ext. Stay
  • Super 8
  • Thriftlodge
  • Villager Lodge
  • SC/I