Austin, Texas has the highest overall satisfaction among visitors in the Southwest region of the United States and is second only to Las Vegas, Nevada in the entire U.S., according to a J.D. Power report. The study was the first of its kind to measure overall satisfaction among tourists of the top 50 U.S. travel destinations and was based on activities, cost and fees, food and beverages, infrastructure, lodging, and travel/arrival.
Austin, the Texas capital and home to the University of Texas, the South by Southwest Music Festival, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and much more received a score of 818, second only to Las Vegas’ score of 827. Dallas was second in the Southwest region with a score of 811, and San Antonio was third with a score of 807. The study noted that Austin performed particularly well on its rankings for infrastructure and activities.
One finding of the study was that visitors having a better time spend more money. On average, travelers will spend $1,169 on a trip, or $301 per day. However, visitors who are having a particularly good time (satisfaction level of 10 out of 10) will spend 24 percent more, or $1,446 on average.
“Interestingly, while visitors spend more when they have a great experience, they’re also more satisfied with the value they receive for their expenditure,” said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “Especially for cities that are perhaps less thought of for tourism, the investment in creating a superb visitor experience can really pay off.”
The study also cited visitors developing strong emotional connections to cities such as Austin, Oahu Island, Orlando, Miami, and San Diego. “Some places go beyond satisfaction and really capture the hearts and minds of people who visit,” said Garlick.
“When we see cities like Austin and Columbus (#1 in the Midwest region with a score of 799) among the highest-ranked destinations, it certainly challenges some preconceived ideas in the travel industry,” said Garlick. “This is a great example of how cities that are able to exceed travelers’ expectations can leave a positive impression that has real value.”