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


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; for 2018, visit

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