Beach Survey – the results are in
Remember our Beachmeter beach survey, where we set out to explore which features and characteristics make a fantastic beach? Most of our respondents were between 26 and 45 years old with representations from 30 different countries. We got nearly 200 responses, and have been investigating every sand grain of this survey.
Thank you for helping us understand your beach preferences! We thought it would only be fitting that we share a bit of the insights from your responses.
Q1) How do you feel about beaches?
Here the answer choices were:
- I don’t like beaches
- Beaches are okay, but nothing special
- I like beaches, but I’m not a fanatic
- I absolutely love beaches
Not surprisingly, most people who take time answering a survey about beaches actually like beaches.
Q2) How Do You Prefer To Travel?
Q3) Think about some great beach experiences you have had (or would like to have). What features and qualities does the beach destination have?
This is where it gets fun. This open-ended question allowed you to put your own words on what makes a great beach without us affecting your thoughts with our suggestions. We got a lot of useful responses that we can build on. Here are some takeaways from the analysis of the responses to this question:
- The natural attributes of the beach and the water are the most commonly mentioned features of a great beach. The top scorers are “white, smooth sand” and “clear, blue water”. The presence or absence of “big waves”, “good swimming conditions”, “marine life”, and “rocks and boulders” are also mentioned along with “warm and sunny weather”.
- Equally important is the avoidance of big crowds. The spectrum ranges from the rather mild conception of “not too crowded” and “uncrowded” to the more extreme “remote” and “secluded”. Additionally, there are many respondents who mention “non-touristy”, “undeveloped”, and “unspoilt” as feature of their ideal beach destination. This is a classic dilemma of tourism: Beautiful landscapes attract visitors from near and far, but many visitors actually prefer to enjoy these natural phenomena without the obstruction of other tourists.
- Another high scorer is “cleanliness” of the beach and the sea water. It comes as no surprise that respondents prefer a clean destination, but the fact that it is one of the most mentioned attributes to a great beach, could suggest that cleanliness can not always be expected.
- A good beach experience is often associated with food and drinks. “Good restaurants” and “beach bars” are often mentioned.
- The atmosphere and the internal feeling visitors get when staying at the beach is commonly cited. Examples of keywords used here are “tranquility”, “relaxation”, “calm atmosphere”, and “serenity”. Clearly beach holidays are often used as an escape from a hectic daily life and re-connecting with one self and nature.
- Two other categories that were slightly less mentioned are the availability of various beach facilities such as toilets, showers, sun loungers, waiter services, shops, and equipment rental, and beach activities such as ball games and snorkeling/diving.
- Based on the responses, we could make a “no-category”, where a great beach is not only defined by its positive attributes, but just as much the absence of “tourists”,”dogs”,”sellers”,”sharks”,”music”,”kids”, “naked people” or “stalkers”.
Two learnings and surprises from Q3 of the beach survey
- Compared to our assumed list of important attributes of a great beach (as presented in Q4), the availability of “shade” was a point we had missed. Shade in the form of palm trees and green vegetation and/or beach umbrellas is a key feature, and we will definitely include this in our characterisation and assessment of beaches.
- Strangely absent from almost all responses was the mention of accommodation. We have previously done some qualitative interviews and observations where we asked our interviewees to find the next destination for their beach holiday. Here, we got the impression that accommodation often played a larger role than specific beach characteristics and qualities in choosing which beach to stay at.
Q4) Which beach destination features are important to you when you go on a beach holiday?
Here the answer choices were:
- NATURAL BEAUTY (overall beauty of the beach and its surroundings)
- ROMANTIC (suitability for couples and honeymooners)
- SNORKELING/DIVING (suitability and quality)
- SWIMMING (suitability and quality)
- SURFING (suitability and quality)
- MOTORIZED WATER SPORTS (availability and quality)
- SEA WATER QUALITY (cleanliness, visibility, color)
- SAND QUALITY (softness and suitability for walking barefoot)
- BEACH CLEANLINESS WEATHER (warm and pleasant)
- VALUE FOR MONEY (relative to destination country)
- ACCOMMODATION QUALITY (value and guest reviews)
- ACCOMMODATION DIRECTLY ON BEACH LUXURY (availability of luxury accommodation, services, and facilities)
- BUDGET (availability of budget accommodation, services, and facilities)
- FAMILY/CHILD FRIENDLINESS (suitability for families with kids)
- FOOD & DINING (availability of varied and high quality dining)
- SHOPPING (quality and availability of varied shopping)
- NIGHTLIFE (availability and quality)
- ENTERTAINMENT (availability of music, events, shows, amusement parks etc.)
- ACTIVITIES (availability of activities such as hiking, kayaking, caving, guided tours, sailing)
- LOCAL FLAVOUR (to which degree can you experience local everyday life and culture)
- WILDLIFE (likelihood of wildlife e.g. marine life, birds, monkeys, lizards)
- ACCESSIBILITY (easy reach from main transportation hubs)
- INFRASTRUCTURE (availability of ATMs, information, hospitals, WiFi, roads etc.)
- BEACH FACILITIES (availability of safety guards, beach chairs, shower, toilets etc.)
- PRIVATE BEACH (is the beach reserved for hotel guests and paying visitors only)
- BEACH AREA SAFETY (safety from rip-currents, waves, sharp rocks, pick-pockets etc.)
- CRUSOE-FACTOR (secluded, un-developed, and off the beaten track)
- UNCROWDEDNESS (uncrowded and with ample space)
- OTHER? (please specify)
What will we do with the results?
We will revise our parameters and criteria to better fit with the results of this survey. This will ensure that the Beachmeter beach-finding tool will enable you to better answer the question “Which beach is most suitable for my wishes and needs?”. We have also developed a Beachmeter Beach Survey Form which will be filled out on site when inspecting beaches.
Thank you again to those of you who participated.