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Publication describes how to compare prices, online presence of tour operators

Posted by: | March 20, 2019 Comments Off on Publication describes how to compare prices, online presence of tour operators |

3-20-19

By Rick Cooper

A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant describes a low-cost method for comparing the prices and online presence of coastal businesses that offer guided tours such as salmon fishing, kayaking or whale watching.

The four-page publication, Low-Cost Method for Conducting an Evaluation of Pricing and Online Presence of Tour Operators, is intended for Sea Grant staff and others who wish to collect, compare and contrast data on tour operators in their area.

Kayaker and paddleboarder on Rogue River

A kayaker and a paddleboarder navigate the Rogue River, near the southern Oregon coast. (Photo by Erik Urdahl)

The method involves selecting the specific towns and types of tours one wishes to target, conducting an online search on each town and tour, and recording and analyzing the results in a spreadsheet.

Author Miles Phillips, a coastal tourism specialist with Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Extension Service, said he developed the method to evaluate coastal tour operations in Oregon, but that it can also be applied to other locations and types of tours. As the method is Internet-based, research can be conducted virtually anywhere and the results shared collaboratively, he said.

“The results of such data collection, especially if conducted annually, will help fill a gap in long-term trend information about tour operator prices, industry growth or contraction, and types of services,” Phillips said.

In 2017 and 2018, Oregon Sea Grant used this approach to evaluate the online presence and pricing of Oregon coast tour operators. To view the results for 2017, go to bit.ly/2UtYNSs; for 2018, visit bit.ly/2EARzp7.

For information on Oregon Sea Grant’s and Extension’s Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation program, go to tourism.oregonstate.edu.

under: environment, Extension, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, publications
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Report: Prices and online visibility of coastal tour operators vary widely

Posted by: | March 8, 2019 Comments Off on Report: Prices and online visibility of coastal tour operators vary widely |

3-8-19

By Rick Cooper

Man holding salmon

In Astoria, Gold Beach, and Lincoln City, more salmon charter businesses were found in 2018; however, in Brookings, Newport, and Tillamook, fewer businesses were recorded in 2018. (Photo by Susan Dimock)

The prices and online presence of companies offering guided tours on the Oregon coast vary widely, according to the author of a new report.

Miles Phillips, a coastal tourism specialist with Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Extension Service, found that their online presence ranged from prominent to nonexistent.

“Many guides are not effectively marketing themselves online,” said Phillips, who hired two interns – through Oregon Sea Grant’s Summer Scholars program – to analyze prices and Google search rankings for coastal companies that offer salmon-fishing, kayaking, and whale-watching tours.

They found that prices charged for comparable services offered by different tour companies varied by as much as 400 percent.

Phillips summarized the findings in a 13-page report: 2018 Evaluation of Pricing and Online Presence of Oregon Coast Tour Operators.

The findings come from a replica­tion of a study that was first conducted in 2017. The more recent study used the same meth­odology, with some revisions to accommodate Google’s changing presentation of search results.

The 2018 study also found the following:

  • Of the 35 salmon-fishing companies that appeared in their searches, 10 neglected to include information on pricing. “If potential customers are searching online and don’t see a price, they’re not likely to call,” Phillips said.
  • A man and a woman in kayaks

    Since 2017, the number of kayak tours per city has stayed the same at three main businesses along the coast. The prices in two of the three businesses have stayed the same, with one $15 price drop in Gold Beach. (Photo by Erik Urdahl)

    In Astoria, Gold Beach, and Lincoln City, more salmon charter businesses were found in 2018; however, in Brookings, Newport, and Tillamook, fewer businesses were recorded in 2018. This fluctuation may be because businesses had recently opened/closed, or because they did not appear in the top 12 results and were therefore not recorded.

  • Overall, the price of salmon charter tours has slightly increased from 2017. There was one big price drop in Lincoln City, but, generally speaking, prices are on the rise.
  • The number of kayak tours per city has stayed the same at three main businesses along the coast. The prices in two of the three businesses have stayed the same, with one $15 price drop in Gold Beach.
  • The number of whale-watching tours offered in Depoe Bay (four) and Newport (one) has remained the same since 2017. One new whale-watching business was recorded in Tillamook in 2018. Of the 15 coastal towns sampled, only these three offer whale-watching tours.
  • In Depoe Bay and Newport, there was a $3 and $2 average price increase, respectively, in whale-watching tours.

Phillips said the design of this project allows it to be redone over the years, following the same methodology. A third round of data collection will take place this year.

The research was conducted with the support of Oregon Sea Grant, OSU Extension, Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, the Oregon Coast Visitors Association and the Oregon State Marine Board.

For information on Oregon Sea Grant’s and Extension’s Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation program, go to tourism.oregonstate.edu.

under: Extension, marine animals, marine mammals, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, publications, salmon, Sea Grant Scholars, seafood, sustainability, waterfronts, whales
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New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter now available

Posted by: | February 8, 2019 Comments Off on New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter now available |

2-8-19

By Rick Cooper

The latest issue of Confluence, a newsletter about Oregon Sea Grant’s research, outreach and educational programs, is now online. Inside this eight-page issue, you’ll find the following stories:

Want to receive the next issue of Confluence in your email? Click here.

under: climate adaptation, Confluence, ecology, environment, fisheries, marine animals, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, people, publications, research, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, sea level rise, seafood, shellfish, water quality
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New Oregon Coast Quests Book features 28 clue-directed hunts in 7 Oregon counties

Posted by: | February 5, 2019 Comments Off on New Oregon Coast Quests Book features 28 clue-directed hunts in 7 Oregon counties |

2-5-19

By Rick Cooper

Cover of the 2019-20 Oregon Coast Quests Book

Oregon Coast Quests are suitable for individuals, families and groups of all ages who wish to explore parks, trails and other outdoor spaces at their own pace.

The 2019-20 edition of Oregon Sea Grant’s popular “Oregon Coast Quests Book” is now available, featuring 28 of the clue-directed hunts in English and one in Spanish. Most of the Quests are in Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Coos, and Curry counties; three are in Benton County.

Eight of the Quests are new, and the directions for many of the previous Quests have been updated to reflect changes in site terrain, landmarks, signage and other details.

Cait Goodwin, an educator with Oregon Sea Grant and the coordinator of its Quests program, described Quests as self-guided learning adventures that use clues and hints to encourage participants to discover the natural, cultural and historical treasures of a place. At the end of each tour, participants find a hidden box containing a logbook to sign and a stamp to mark their accomplishment. They’re suitable, she said, for individuals, families and groups of all ages who wish to explore parks, trails and other outdoor spaces at their own pace.

The price for the 252-page book is just $10, with funds going to support Oregon Sea Grant’s Oregon Coast Quests program. You can buy copies online here, or from the retailers listed here.

under: ecology, environment, free-choice learning, kids, marine education, news, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, publications, tsunami
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‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 27 in Coos Bay

Posted by: | October 11, 2018 Comments Off on ‘State of the Coast’ conference set for Oct. 27 in Coos Bay |

10-11-18

By Rick Cooper

(from left to right) Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson, 2017 Sea Grant legislative scholar Annie Montgomery, and Amanda Gladics, an Oregon Sea Grant Extension specialist, chat during Oregon Sea Grant's State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017.

(from left to right) Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson, 2017 Sea Grant legislative scholar Annie Montgomery, and Amanda Gladics, an Oregon Sea Grant Extension specialist, chat during Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

COOS BAY, Ore. – Registration has opened for Oregon Sea Grant’s annual State of the Coast conference, which will be held Oct. 27 in Coos Bay.

Billed as Oregon’s coastal conference for everyone, the event aims to bring together the public, scientists, fishermen, resource managers, artists, teachers, students and conservationists. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn, network and talk about the current status and future of Oregon’s marine environment.

The keynote speaker will be science writer Sam Kean, who authored The New York Times bestseller “The Disappearing Spoon” and three other popular science books. His work has been featured on several public radio shows, including “Science Friday” and “Fresh Air.”

Elizabeth Lee, a graduate student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on Dungeness crab genetics, during Oregon Sea Grant's State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017.

Elizabeth Lee, a graduate student at Oregon State University, talks about her research on Dungeness crab genetics, during Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

Kean’s talk is titled “A Sense of Wellbeing or Danger: How the brain perceives and creates a coastal scene.” He will unpackage how the brain works, using examples from the natural world to demonstrate how our senses work together and how memory is processed in the brain.

Under this year’s theme, “The Coast Through Your Senses,” presenters will address a variety of topics, including:

  • oil and gas off Oregon’s coast
  • what it’s like spending time aboard a vessel on the sea
  • how fishing families in Charleston, Ore., help each other
  • coastal dunes: past, present and future
  • the Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Council, which provides recommendations on how to respond to these issues
  • research on crabs and climate
  • the decline of eelgrass, a plant in coastal waters and estuaries
  • campaigns to ban plastic straws and bags
  • an overview of Oregon’s seaweeds
  • former Gov. Tom McCall’s famous Beach Bill speech, reenacted by Marion Rossi Jr., the associate dean of Oregon State University’s College of Liberal Arts
  • an effort to build a wave energy test facility off the coast of Newport, Ore.
  • communicating science to lay audiences
  • must-have coastal photos for science stories
(from left to right) Amy Isler Gibson, an art student at Oregon State University; OSU art instructor Michael Boonstra; and OSU employee Charles Robinson listen to OSU art student Hunter Keller talk about her art during Oregon Sea Grant's State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017.

(from left to right) Amy Isler Gibson, an art student at Oregon State University; OSU art instructor Michael Boonstra; and OSU employee Charles Robinson listen to OSU art student Hunter Keller talk about her art during Oregon Sea Grant’s State of the Coast conference in Florence, Ore., in 2017. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

Presenters will include state Sen. Arnie Roblan; wildlife photographer Jaymi Heimbuch, and Doug Helton, an emergency response supervisor with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Additionally, students from OSU and other universities in Oregon will talk about their coastal research. Coastal-themed artwork created by university students will also be displayed during the conference.

Registration in advance is recommended as space is limited. Cost is $40 for the public and $25 for students. It includes snacks, lunch and a reception. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes with a reception that starts at 3:50 p.m. For more information and to register, visit www.stateofthecoast.com.

The event will take place at the Hales Center for the Performing Arts (Empire Hall) on the campus of Southwestern Oregon Community College at 1988 Newmark Ave.

under: citizen science, climate, climate adaptation, coastal hazards, conferences, crab, ecology, environment, events, Extension, fishermen, invasive species, k-12 teachers, lectures, marine animals, marine debris, marine education, marine policy, marine science, news, ocean acidification, ocean law and policy, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, people, Posters, public communication, regional projects, science communication, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, sea level rise, seafood, social science, sustainability, water quality & conservation, waterfronts, wave energy
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Survey: Coastal tourism workforce needs training in customer service, other areas

Posted by: | September 6, 2018 Comments Off on Survey: Coastal tourism workforce needs training in customer service, other areas |

September 6, 2018

By Rick Cooper

Diners enjoy lunch outside at the Port O' Call restaurant on the Oregon coast.

Diners enjoy lunch outside at the Port O’ Call restaurant on the Oregon coast. (Photo by Susan Dimock)

Managers of tourism businesses on the Oregon coast need their workers to be trained in customer service, housekeeping, staff management/human resources, marketing and other areas, according to a survey.

The results of the survey, which were published by Oregon Sea Grant in a 44-page report, also revealed that

  • for those who identified marketing as a program interest, the desired topics were social media and online reputation management, with Facebook as the most desired training topic
  • the probability of workers participating in training workshops was highest for trainings that are on site and in person
  • the majority of organizations face difficulty hiring quality staff and want staff training and workforce-development programs
  • some respondents are unprepared to pay for training; however, those who are prepared indicated that a median cost of about $50 for a four-hour training would be acceptable

Oregon Sea Grant Extension’s Sustainable Tourism Program invited management-level representatives of the coastal visitor industry to complete the online survey between Feb. 7 and March 19, 2018. The approximately 180 respondents included owners, managers and presidents of coastal businesses. The Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) funded the survey.

Miles Phillips, a coastal tourism specialist with Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University’s Extension Service, wrote the report that summarized the findings of the survey. Oregon Sea Grant edited and published the report, which is titled Coastal Oregon Visitor Industry (Tourism) Workforce Needs Assessment 2018.

“This survey revealed highly variable opinions and experiences with employee recruitment and training,” Phillips wrote in an email. “The majority expressed difficulty in finding quality employees; however, a small number described how they have succeeded in finding and retaining employees. This type of survey work is very important to help target training programs in response to the desires of the industry.”

The report aims to help the OCVA, Extension, Oregon Sea Grant, the tourism industry, workforce development agencies, and funding organizations develop and implement training programs.

under: Extension, Facebook, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, publications, research, surveys
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Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter

Posted by: | June 21, 2018 Comments Off on Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter |

June 21, 2018

The spring/summer 2018 issue of Confluence, a newsletter about Oregon Sea Grant’s research, outreach and educational programs, is now available for download. Inside this eight-page issue, you’ll find the following stories:

Cover of the spring/summer 2018 issue of Oregon Sea Grant's newsletter, Confluence

The spring/summer 2018 issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter, Confluence, is now available for free download.

Want to receive the next issue of Confluence in your email? Click here.

under: Confluence, crab, ecology, environment, events, Extension, fellowships, fisheries, fishermen, free-choice learning, HMSC Visitor Center, internships, kids, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, marine science, news, ocean literacy, oceanography, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, people, research, scholarships, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, seafood, social science, STEM education, tsunami, whales
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Report: HMSC Visitor Center generates an estimated $7.6 million in statewide income annually

Posted by: | February 16, 2018 Comments Off on Report: HMSC Visitor Center generates an estimated $7.6 million in statewide income annually |

2-16-18

by Rick Cooper

The Visitor Center at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon, generates more than 10 times as much as it costs to operate, according to a new report by Bruce Sorte, an Extension economist with Oregon State University’s Department of Applied Economics.

The total annual cost to operate the Visitor Center is $460,000 in 2017 dollars. As estimated in this report, that $460,000 generates more than 10 times as much in economic effects, with $5.4 million in income, $9.7 million in sales, and 133 jobs for Lincoln County. Statewide, the Visitor Center generates $7.6 million in income, $13.2 million in sales, and 156 jobs.

HMSC Visitor Center entrance

The Oregon Sea Grant-operated Visitor Center at HMSC. (Photo by Tiffany Woods)

Sorte said in the report that he used data from two types of surveys and the IMPLAN (IMpact analysis for PLANning) input-output model to estimate the annual economic contributions.

The Visitor Center, which is operated by Oregon Sea Grant, is supported primarily with federal and OSU funds, along with some donations from the approximately 150,000 visitors it attracts annually. Thirty-nine percent of visitors surveyed indicated that half or more of their reason for coming to the Oregon coast was to visit the Visitor Center. The percentage of visitors citing the Visitor Center as their reason for traveling to Lincoln County was the same.

The report, Economic Linkages and Impact Analysis for the Oregon Sea Grant-Operated Visitor Center at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, is available for free download here.

The Visitor Center has been undergoing extensive remodeling since early December and will partially reopen for the OSU150 Sea Grant Festival on Saturday, Feb. 17., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Its regular hours after that will be 10 to 4 Thursday-Monday.

 

under: events, Extension, free-choice learning, HMSC Visitor Center, jobs, marine education, marine science, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, publications
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New publications look at Oregon coast recreational outfitter and tour guide businesses

Posted by: | December 11, 2017 Comments Off on New publications look at Oregon coast recreational outfitter and tour guide businesses |

Two new publications from Oregon Sea Grant examine several facets of Oregon coast recreational outfitters and tour guides, including their services, pricing, and online marketing effectiveness.

Fishing guide

A fishing guide demonstrates his technique. (Photo by Erik Urdahl)

Assessment of Registered Oregon Coast Outfitters and Guides examines data related to guides registered with the Oregon State Marine Board and provides a summary of some basic information about registered guides in the state, including numbers, locations and types of services provided. A printable PDF of the eight-page publication is available for free download here.

A companion publication, Survey of Online Marketing Success and Pricing for Oregon Coast Fishing Guides and Tour Operators, presents an inventory of guided salmon fishing, whale watching and kayaking businesses. Guide and tour companies can use this study to gauge the effectiveness of their online marketing and to better understand how their services are priced in the marketplace. You can download a free, printable PDF of the 18-page publication here.

Kayaker

A novice kayaker gets the hang of paddling. (Photo by Erik Urdahl)

The publications represent an effort to better understand such businesses’ economic impacts, job opportunities, resource management, professional development opportunities and marketing support. Individuals and organizations that might benefit from these reports include registered Oregon guide businesses, tour operators, coastal tourism promoters, community and economic development firms, natural-resource management agencies and researchers.

The research for both publications was conducted with the support and cooperation of Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), Oregon State University Extension, Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, the Oregon Coast Visitors Association and the Oregon State Marine Board. Authors are Miles Phillips, an OSG Extension coastal tourism specialist; and Catie Michel, a 2017 OSG Summer Scholar. Phillips is also the author of the OSG publications Agritourism in Oregon’s Coastal Counties: Land Use Policy and Permitting Requirements and Transient Lodging Taxes on the Oregon Coast.

 

under: environment, fishermen, marine animals, marine mammals, Oregon Sea Grant, publications, recreational boating, salmon, seafood, surveys, whales
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Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter

Posted by: | October 24, 2017 Comments Off on Now available: New issue of Oregon Sea Grant’s newsletter |

October 24, 2017

The fall/winter 2017 issue of Confluence, a newsletter about Oregon Sea Grant’s research, outreach and educational programs, is now available for download. Inside this eight-page issue, you’ll find the following stories:

Gooseneck barnacles grow on top of thatched barnacles. (Photo by Julia Bingham)

Want to receive the next issue of Confluence in your email? Click here.

under: aquaculture, Confluence, crab, ecology, environment, Extension, fisheries, fishermen, internships, marine animals, marine science, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, people, publications, recreational boating, research, Sea Grant Scholars, seafood, shellfish, sustainability
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