Monday, October 26, 2009

Dry, boring (and not overly accurate) statistics :-)

During my free hour at Afton Station on Saturday morning I was mentally trying to compile a completely unscientific and unsubstantiated list of statistics that would provide a picture of who traveled on Route 66 this summer, based on my observations here at the Station. Please remember, all the following are strictly estimates. Other business owners may have entirely different results, and if that's so, I'd be very interested in hearing about the differences.

This summer, about 25% of my visitors were from foreign countries. Another 25% were local (which I define as being from a 100-mile radius). The other 50% were travelers from within the U.S. but from farther afield, and of that 50%, about 10% were tour groups.

Of our visitors, about 50% were traveling the entire length of Route 66, 25% were traveling large chunks but not all, and another 25% were just taking day or weekend trips.

This was a little bit harder to discern, but my educated guess is that about 50% came to Afton Station after reading about us in a publication or seeing us on TV or a video, and the other 50% found us just by driving past or by word-of-mouth.

European visitors almost always start their Route 66 trips in Chicago, whereas Asian or Australian visitors often (but by no means always) begin in L.A. Most foreign visitors supplement their Route 66 trips with side trips -- most often to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, or San Francisco.

About 70% of our U.S. visitors are over 50 years of age, whereas 70% (or more) of our foreign visitors are under 40 years old. Sadly, only about 5% of all of our visitors are children or teens.

75% of our visitors arrive by car. The other 25% are divided between motorcycles, big-rig trucks, bicycles, tour buses, and walking/running. The vast majority of that 25% are on motorcycles.

Spending: I actually do keep this statistic somewhat accurately. Folks spend an average of about $1.30 per person here at Afton Station. Granted, I don't sell much. Most folks buy nothing, because I don't really have that much to sell. Interestingly, best sellers are my two most expensive and two least expensive items. Small $1 stickers and pins sell very well, but so do Images I and Images II, my most expensive books. The EZ66 Guide also sells well.

I'm guessing that our visitors are about 60% men and 40% women. Men remain longer, looking at the cars longer, and they also buy more.

99.9% of our visitors are delightful people -- maybe even more than that. I can only remember one or two cranky visitors so far this year. When people DO complain, they complain nicely. The vast majority of complaints are about the confusing signage in Missouri. Second would be about places that were closed when they tried to visit them (including Afton Station, if they're on their second or third attempt to visit). Occasionally, but very seldom, there will be a complaint about a motel or a restaurant. I've never heard a single complaint about a rip-off or someone being unfriendly along Route 66 (other than at the notorious Indian Harvest Trading Post).

In conclusion, just let me say this: How cool is this job??!!! Friendly people, no complainers, daily variety, and a sense that I'm making a difference, however small. Perfect! I'm living my dream!

That's all, class. Any questions? :-)


Becky said...

WoW! You're living MY dream! :-)

Mustang Mike said...

Hi! On Sept. 5th, our friends Ed and Suzanne stopped in on their way back home to California. Ed told me about your site so I came to look. Great site! I loved the many comments about your visitors and your pics of your cars at the Afton Station. I will post a link to your site on mine. I take pics of cars at West Michigan car shows and show-n-shines, write articles and do product reviews. Hope to meet you some day! Thanks. Mustang Mike

~Kathryn~ said...

Laurel this is awesome
i love playing with stats !! and I'm 100% sure afton is a cool place to be !!!

and "hello" to mustang mike above from another mustang lover in Aus !!!

Sharon in NC said...

Laurel...there's another group of visitors to take into account...those of us who visit through this blog every day of the week!

My dream is to travel the entire length of Route 66 with camera in hand. Maybe one day I'll be one of your through-the-door visitors. Until then, I'll visit through your words and photos!

Laurel said...

Becky -- Come visit some time!! Keep dreaming!

Mustang Mike and Kathryn -- My two Mustang friends will be interested to know that a BIG Mustang group will be visiting Afton Station on Saturday, the Southwest MO Stang Gang. I'll be sure to take pics and post them here.

Sharon -- Welcome! I'm honored that you visit my blog every day. Keep dreaming about that Route 66 trip, and then DO IT!

Beth said...

I don't think these are boring at all! I think it's fascinating to get an idea of who travels the Road.

I've written myself a note to come back and watch the documentary on Hulu that you mentioned. Hugs, Beth

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