Cleveland County, North Carolina

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Cleveland County: In-State Visitors Demographics

In-state tourists to Cleveland County, North Carolina are mostly white, married, aged 44, had an average party size of 2.1 people, stayed around 2.3 nights, are employed with a college degree or higher and earned around $90,700 per year.
  • Cleveland County is located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. VisitNC does not offer county-by-county tourism profiles, but it does compile regional summaries which are useful for looking at Cleveland County.
  • The 2018 visitor profile report offers an in-depth look at tourism to the Piedmont region. According to this report, 66% of state visitors went to the Piedmont region. In-state visitors comprise the largest portion of overnight visitors (31.8%).
  • The report's demographic analysis unfortunately does not designate between in-state and out-of-state visitors in its demographic section. However, 62% of Piedmont visitors were married. The largest ethnic group was white/Caucasian (78.3%), the average age was 44 and more than two-thirds of the heads of households held a college degree or higher. The average household income was $90,700. 68% heads of households were employed and 15% were retired.
  • There was no data on gender, as the report focuses on travel parties instead of individuals.
  • The average length of stay for in-state visitors to the Piedmont region was 2.3 nights, which is lower than the out-of-state's 3.7 nights.
  • The average travel party size for in-state visitors was 2.1 people. 25.3% of in-state travel parties had children with them.
  • Resident expenditures are also less than out-of-state visitors (understandable, since they stay for less time). In-state visitors spent $392, compared to $743 out-of-state.
  • Visitors to Cleveland County spent $116.98 million last year, up 6.23% from the year before.
  • Turning to the demographic profile for all of North Carolina, there are not many difference in in-state versus out-of-state visitors in certain areas like season of travel, leisure versus business, average party size, or lodging type used. In-state visitors are slightly less likely to be staying with a relative or rental home. In-state visitors are more likely to have traveled by their own automobile, and they are more likely to have traveled on impulse (planned the trip less than 2 weeks prior).
  • Demographically, in-state visitors are slightly younger, have a slightly lower average household income, and slightly less likely to be retired than out-of-state visitors.
  • In-state visitors in North Carolina have higher levels of satisfaction with their trip.
  • As could be expected, the vast majority of North Carolina's day trippers come from in-state.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Tour Cleveland County is the official website of tourism for the county. The website, however, is quite basic and no reports on visitor demographics were available. We then looked at the county's website to see if there were any reports or publications giving data on tourism for the area. The only relevant webpage here was their "Events and Attractions" page, which led to various city government websites, Tour Cleveland County and links to various small fairs and festivals the county hosts throughout the year. The Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce website simply redirects to Tour Cleveland County when one clicks on the "tourism" link.

Therefore, we expanded our search a bit and turned to Visit North Carolina to see if they held any county-focused data on tourism. We were able to find 2018 visitor reports on both the state as a whole and region-specific information. After discovering that Cleveland County is in the Piedmont region of the state, we were then able to pull several key demographic findings related directly to in-state visitors to this region. While this is not exactly specific to Cleveland County, it is both the closest information available and there was nothing in the regional report to indicate vastly different demographics between regions. In fact, looking at the statewide visitor profiles, we had evidence that region-specific data did not differ drastically.
Part
02
of four
Part
02

Cleveland County: Out-Of-State Visitors Demographics

The year 2018 saw nearly 19 million visitors to Cleveland County with the average aged visitor being 44 years old. The average household income of a visiting party was $90,700, with about 68% having a household head possessing an undergraduate degree or higher. 62% of tourists were married, while 27% were never married. Complete details are presented below.

DEMOGRAPHIC DETAILS

  • Geographical Limits: Cleveland County is situated in the Piedmont region of southwestern North Carolina, with the county seat and largest city of Shelby being home to around 20,000 people in the central portion of the county.
  • Age: Though the county is considered to be a wonderful place for people of all ages to visit for a day trip or a weekend, the average age of an out-of-state visitor is 44 years old.
  • Gender: It is estimated that the gender breakdown of out-of-state visitors consists of nearly 58% women, while 42% were men.
  • Income: In 2018, 53% of the households that visited North Carolina’s Piedmont Region (including Cleveland County) had a household income over $75,000, while 23% had a household income of over $125,000. The average household income of a visitor party was $90,700.
  • Education: More than 2/3 (about 68%) of the visitor parties had a household head with a college degree or higher and employed in 2018. 15% of the visitors were retired and the remainder reported being unemployed.
  • Marital Status: Approximately 62% of visitors in 2018 were married, while 27% stated to have never married. 11% of the region’s visitors were divorced, widowed, or separated.
  • Additionally, 28% of the visitor parties reportedly traveled with children, with the average number of children on trips being 1.8.
  • Location of Out-Of-State Tourists: The top 5 states of origin of visitors to the county in 2018, excluding North Carolina, were Virginia (8%), South Carolina (7%), Florida (6%), New York (6%), and Georgia (5%).

OTHER HELPFUL FINDINGS

  • Out-of-state visitors to Cleveland County prioritized spending (in decreasing order) on lodging, transportation, eating and dining out, and groceries and shopping.
  • The largest proportion of visitors classify themselves as white (comprising 78.3%), and nearly 14% classify themselves as black/African-American.
  • According to a survey report, nearly 51% of the visitors in 2018 preferred staying in hotels, while 43% stayed in private homes. About 3% chose to stay in shared economy lodging, such as Airbnb or VRBO.
  • 88% of tourists noted leisure as the key objective of their visit while only 10% visited for business reasons.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Though all cited information has been deduced from pre-compiled sources, the approach to the question and the logic behind building the demographic study has been tricky. The methodology is thus explained below.

The research was initiated by looking for statistical data as available on sites like Statista, Data.Gov, etc. with an assumption that such hard data will be available pre-compiled. We also simultaneously searched through tourism sites like VisitNC, NC Commerce, etc. However, we observed that information pertinent to Cleveland County was not available. We deep-dived into popular travel sites like TripAdvisor, Trivago, etc. with a thought to derive demographic data based on user reviews and comments. However, we could not successfully filter out Cleveland County-specific information via this strategy.

Our next approach was to define the geographical dimension of Cleveland County and thus, through research, we found that Cleveland County is defined by the Piedmont region of southwestern North Carolina. Therefore, we concentrated our search on analyzing tourism behavior in this region which would directly apply to Cleveland County. We were able to get general information on the demographics based on in-state as well as out-of-state visitors to the Piedmont area, which has been included here in the research.

Using the above methodology, or the approaches stated earlier, we could not deduce any information on the gender bifurcation for the visitors. We thus attempted to look back into some old data published through such surveys. We observed that the gender ratio through the years remained more or less the same with females having a larger share in the pie. The same was thus extrapolated and used for 2018.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

Cleveland County: In-State Visitors Psychographics

In-state visitors spend on things like social amenities, gaming, entertainment, groceries, food, transportation and lodging. About 20% of visitors love shopping and fine dining.

CONSUMER HABITS

  • About 34% of the Piedmont visitors often visit relatives and 17% visit friends while in the region.
  • Nearly 20% of visitors love shopping and fine dining.
  • Almost 14% of in-state tourists visiting Cleveland County love to explore historic sites, 10% love sightseeing and 8% go visiting museums.
  • They love outdoor activities such as visiting zoos, aquariums, bird watching, fishing and wildlife viewing.
  • In-state tourists love dancing and visiting places such as gardens, art galleries, musical performances, Theaters and amusement parks as their hobbies.

VALUES

  • Based on consumer reviews regarding the Don Gibson Theater in Shelby, they value friendship and relationship with people they encounter.
  • They value money and like to spend in a planned manner.
  • In-state visitors also value great experience. They value their experiences at the Don Gibson Theater which makes them want to visit the place again and also refer others.

SPENDING HABITS

  • According to research, in-state visitors spend about $634 for parties.
  • In-state visitors spend on things like social amenities, gaming, entertainment, groceries, food, transportation and lodging.
  • They also spend on theater, traveling, shopping, and partying.

MEDIA CONSUMPTION

  • In-state visitors consume information from major media outlets such as Carolina field trip magazine, North Carolina heritage guide and ESPNU.
  • They love to explore media channels such as newspaper and browse through social media platforms like Facebook.

USEFUL FINDINGS

  • The Cleveland County is located in the Piedmont region, situated in southwestern North Carolina.
  • Attraction sites such as the Earl Scruggs center and Don Gibson theater, together with events such as liberty mountain are the major reasons people visit the Cleveland County, NC.
  • About 32 % of visitors who visit the Piedmont Region are within the North Carolina." In 2016, 30% of Kings Mountain Historical Museum visitors were from the local area."
  • In-state visitors stay an average of 2.3 nights.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To provide the psychographic profile of in-state tourists visiting Cleveland County, NC, the team started by searched through major tourism sites such as VisitNC and NC commerce. We aimed to come across a precompiled report relating to the psychographic profile of in-state tourist in the county. However, we observed that information pertinent to the County's in-state visitors was not available. We could only find data regarding the popular things to do in Cleveland County.

Our next approach was to explore popular travel sites like TripAdvisor, Trivago and many more with a thought to derive the psychographic profile of in-state tourists visiting Cleveland County, NC based on user reviews and comments. Through this search we were able to find some things consumers value. Unfortunately, we could not find data relating to consumers' habits, spending habits and media consumption of in-state tourists visiting Cleveland County, NC.

Finally, we attempted triangulating this data by defining the geographical dimension of Cleveland County and thus, through research, we found that Cleveland County is defined by the Piedmont region of southwestern North Carolina. Therefore, we concentrated our search on analyzing tourism behavior in this region which would directly apply to Cleveland County. We were able to get find a source that gave the general information on psychographic profiles based on in-state and out-of-state visitors to the Piedmont area, hence in-state visitors resemble out-of-state visitors, we decided to use the data retrieved from the source. The team also looks at some cities in Cleveland County such as Shelby, Waco, Earl and many more. We have been able to find some key insights from the city of Shelby.


Part
04
of four
Part
04

Cleveland County: Out-Of-State Visitors Psychographics

Out-of-state tourists visiting Cleveland County, NC prefer to socialize and spend time with friends. They also like to explore the media channels of newspapers and browse through social media.

VISITORS PROFILE

  • The Cleveland County is located in the Piedmont region, situated in southwestern North Carolina.
  • 88% of the domestic overnight visitors to Piedmont Region stay there for leisure purposes, which include visiting friends and relatives, doing outdoor activities and sightseeing.
  • "Frequent, repeat visitors to North Carolina comprised the largest proportion of Piedmont Region visitors. Twelve percent of the region’s out-of-state visitors were first time visitors in 2018."
  • The Piedmont region typically sees a consistent flow of visitors throughout the year, with the summer season usually seeing slightly higher numbers.
  • Out-of-state visitors stay an average of 3.7 nights. More than half of them stay in a hotel/motel while 43% prefer a private home
  • Most visitors (70%) prefer to travel using a personal vehicle.
  • Most visitors to the Piedmont Region come from Virginia (8%), South Carolina (7%), Florida (6%), New York (6%), Georgia (5%), and Ohio (4%). Visitors usually spend around $634 on overnight stays and $211 on day trips on average.
  • Most of the spending is invested towards lodging, transportation, shopping, and entertainment. Over 50% of the visitors to the region decided on their visit less than one month prior to their visit.
  • Visiting historic sites/churches, urban sightseeing, rural sightseeing, and visiting museums are the preferred recreational activities for visitors traveling to the Piedmont region.

CLEVELAND COUNTY VISITORS

  • Cleveland county is among the top counties of NC in terms of visitors to the region. The major attraction of the region include the Earl Scruggs Center and the Don Gibson Theater.
  • It is noted that most of the visitors were attracted to the region by promotional activities carried out by major media outlets, such as the Carolina Field Trip Magazine, the North Carolina Heritage Guide, and the ESPNU, and through social media advertising.
  • Most of the visitors (70%) for one of the major attraction in Cleveland, the Kings Mountain Historical Museum, come from 25 different out-of the state regions to visit KMHM exhibits, events, and outreach programs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • The official website analysis of Cleveland County highlights that the audience are influenced by referrals (5.10%) and social media (1.61%).
  • Earl Scruggs Center is one of the top attraction for visitors in Cleveland county. The reviews from the visitors from out-of state such as Oklahoma, Maryland, and Kentucky include comments like, "the museum is the best — you can hear oral history and music."
  • Don Gibson Theater is another top attraction for visitors in the Cleveland county. The reviews from the visitors from out-of state such as Virginia, Colorado, and Georgia include comments like, "my family has thoroughly enjoyed every concert we've attended at the Don Gibson Theater. The sound is perfect, seats are comfortable", it is a "quaint little theater with good acoustics," and "excellent theater, tickets are reasonable, parking hasn't been a problem".

CONSUMER HABITS

SPENDING HABITS

  • Ou-of-state consumers like to spend on entertainment activities such as going to the theater, traveling, shopping, and partying.

VALUES

MEDIA CONSUMPTION

  • The out-of-state tourists are avid readers and like to explore the media channels of newspaper and browse through social media such as Facebook.


Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "Of the 91 North Carolina counties that saw an increase in visitor spending from 2014 to 2015, Cleveland County is among the top 10 in overall increases."
Quotes
  • "Cleveland County is a wonderful place for people of all ages to visit for a day trip or a weekend"
Quotes
  • "To date, the range has had more than 35,000 visits. The number of total individual customers is 18,029, indicating the range has generated return visitors. Of those 35,000 visits that we’ve had to Foothills, 75 percent were from outside Cleveland County."
Quotes
  • "The county seat and largest city of Shelby is home to around twenty thousand residents in the central portion of the county, while the city of Kings Mountain is home to around ten thousand residents in the county’s southeastern corner"
Quotes
  • "Eighty-seven percent of all domestic visitors (88 percent of overnighters) came to the Piedmont Region for pleasure purposes. Data indicates that out-of-state visitors stay an average of 3.7 nights, while in-state visitors stay an average of 2.3 nights"
  • "More than two-thirds (67.9%) of overnight visitor parties reported that the head of household is employed, while fifteen percent are retired. The remainder reported “not employed” as work status."
Quotes
  • "The Cleveland area has witnessed a meteoric rise in the number of people visiting from outside the city. With the construction of the Huntington Convention Center in 2013 and the expansion of hotel rooms to 5,000 within five years, downtown Cleveland has been the main benefactor of a wave that, according to an industry report, brought more than 19 million visitors to the area last year — a million more than in 2017."
Quotes
  • "The North Carolina Piedmont Region overnight visitor gender breakdown is fifty-eight percent female and forty-two percent male."
Quotes
  • "The North Carolina Piedmont Region overnight visitor gender breakdown is fifty-nine percent female and forty-one percent male"
Quotes
  • "The North Carolina Piedmont Region overnight visitor gender breakdown is fifty-eight percent female and forty-two percent male"
From Part 03
Quotes
  • "Always a fun time. Great little venue in a great little town. It will surprise you. Local talent as well as the big stars come here to entertain. I highly recommend this place."
  • "My husband and I visited the Don Gibson Theater for a show last night. We have been by many times, but this was the first show I've seen. I don't think that there is a bad seat in the place. It was very clean. The seats were comfortable. The staff was very friendly. I would definitely go back again"