March 20, 2004
They liked us! They really (mostly) liked us!

About 70% of Super Bowl visitors polled said they would recommend the city to others based on their experiences during their visit.

Jordy Tollett, the president of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he commissioned the survey to gauge "what people think we are, what they like about us and what we should tout."

The Super Bowl Image Study, conducted by TouchPoll Solutions of Kingwood, questioned 820 non-Houstonians at Bush Intercontinental Airport and hotels around the city.

Poll results show visitors' opinions of Houston were generally favorable to begin with and increased by 10 percentage points during their stay. After their stay, 30 percent of those polled said Houston was very attractive and an equal share rated it somewhat attractive.

Roughly the same percentages said their overall experience in Houston left them very satisfied or somewhat satisfied. Asked if they would recommend the city to others, 71 percent said yes and 8 percent no, with the rest undecided.

"It was a tremendous turnaround," said TouchPoll owner Bobby Hollis.

Hollis attributes that turnaround to Houstonians' friendliness and the depth of organized events offered in the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

The poll found that visitors tended to be upper-income, diverse and well-traveled, Hollis said. Most said they take two to seven vacation trips a year.

Three of five respondents were male, and two of three were visiting Houston for the first time.

About 40 percent of those polled said they rode the MetroRail line. Although they were not asked to rate its performance, two of three said mobility in Houston was equal to, or better than, that of most cities.

"There were numerous verbal responses praising the friendliness of Houstonians and the cleanliness of the downtown area," the report's introduction said.

Activities most cited by the visitors were dining (47 percent) and shopping (41 percent). Only 6 percent made it to the beach, and 12 percent visited a museum.

Sounds pretty good to me. The print issue mentions things like a lack of cabs in the Galleria and the general spread-out-ness of the Super Bowl events as some of the negative things cited.

One can only speculate what visitors might have said had the Super Bowl been played in midsummer. The impact of the climate may be better gauged when Major League Baseball holds its All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park in July. Tollett said he wants TouchPoll to conduct another survey then.

I've wondered the same thing myself. Let's hope most of those visitors stay downtown and discover the air-conditioned tunnel system.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 20, 2004 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack