PUT A PING ON IT | Chamber tourism data paints positive picture

From local cell towers’ perspective, there were lots of visitors dropping by downtown Gladewater in 2023.
Gladewater Chamber of Commerce’s Lois Reed updated council members on ‘ping’ data collected by a digital contractor the past year. For her, it’s a good sign local advertising dollars are effective in drawing people to town.
“Using the pings off of people’s cell phones, this company can track in a certain area,” Reed explained. By isolating the pings within Gladewater’s antique district downtown, some promising top-level triangulation happens. For example, “Last year during Gusher Days in that one area there were 8,700 pings” on April 21-22.
From other ping results, “On any given Saturday, we have 2,000 to 2,500 people downtown.”
The number gradually increases from February to June then declines October through November, she added. Approximately 4,100 pings were registered during the Nov. 11 Holiday Open House in the historic district.
“One-third of our visitors come from 10- to 30-miles away. Fifteen percent come from over 100 miles away.”
According to the data, there were approximately 6,000 pings collected from visitors from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in the past year along with about 1,700 pings by Houston visitors’ phones and some 1,000 pings by Austin/Round Rock phones.
During the 2023 Fourth of July fireworks celebration at Lake Gladewater, pings from the area of the grass hill to the beach totaled about 4,000 for the day.
“At 9 p.m. when the fireworks started we had 3,300 still on that grass noll,” based solely on the ping data – obviously, it does include individuals without cell phones (i.e. children) so the actual crowd count was higher. “As your chamber of commerce person, I was quite excited about this. We are working hard, and it’s starting to show,” Reed concluded, “but there’s always room for improvement.”

Gladewater Tourism by the Numbers…
• 8700 people attended Gusher Days in the Historic District April 21-22, 2023.
• 4100 people attended Holiday Open House in the Historic District November 11, 2023.
• 2000-2500 people were in the Antique District on Saturdays.
• 3300-4000 people were at Lake Gladewater on July 3 for Fireworks.
• 33% travel 10-30 miles.
• 15% travel 100-plus miles.
• 6000 visitors from DFW last year.
• 1700 visitors from Houston last year.
• 1000 visitors from Austin/Round Rock last year.

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