Snowmobile research work revisited
In 2006, extensive research work was performed to help us understand the perceptions individuals have of snowmobiling. The research also highlighted the priorities of outdoor recreationists of all kinds.
The research work consisted of a thorough study of three market segments. The segments were: Young Adventure Seekers – aged 24-36; Family Fun seekers – couples with children between the ages of 8-16; and Empty Nesters – individuals aged 50-65 who enjoy youthful activities and participate in many outdoor activities. Individuals within these groups were contacted by phone and electronically from across North America and they also participated in the key target groups with 50 individuals in each one of three groups, held in the US and Canada.
Recently, similar research was performed in Canada by the IPSOS Public Affairs Group. They generally verified the initial study conducted by Consumer Insights in 2006. The research shows that the three groups, collectively, were excited about activities that included having fun with friends and extended family and they enjoyed sharing their recreation choice with others. The groups all agreed that their activities did not require significant athleticism and exercise was universally seen as a byproduct rather than a goal or focus of the outdoor recreation. The respondents believed they had four common benefits that they all wish to achieve in their activities: (1) a strong sense of social interaction with family and friends, (2) relaxation by disconnecting from their day to day routine, (3) fulfillment of accomplishing an activity, and (4) it was particularly important to do something that was out of step of their day to day activities to relax.
The research also showed that individuals (a) liked to have the chance to feel like a kid again; (b) snowmobiling and being outdoors is the most important time to feel alive and escape the confines of daily life; (c) this was an opportunity to connect with nature, (d) an opportunity to connect as a family and to improve connectivity with each other. Most participants stated that it was a great way to end a great weekend.
The research also told us that Winter Recreation requires a certain amount of heartiness that is not necessarily required for the summer. The preparation time is longer and the amount of daylight hours is shorter. Plans can easily be disrupted due to poor driving conditions, even though we all wait for the snow. School routines impact on winter recreation in a way that are not present in the summer, and therefore need to be accounted for.
Interestingly, many individuals in the study group did not understand where snowmobiling occurs. If they did not own a snowmobile and never went snowmobiling, they had no idea where the trails and riding areas were located. They knew nothing about snowmobile clubs, associations, and/or related businesses. They also stated that many non-snowmobilers knew snowmobilers but never participated in the activity due to various reasons. Many of the respondents stated that their friends never asked them to go snowmobiling, so they never had the opportunity to do so.
When individuals were asked if they wanted to go snowmobiling on a scale of 1-10, they rated the desire to go snowmobiling a 9. Individuals of all age groups expressed a high level of interest in snowmobiling and they are hopeful that the winter season will allow them to participate in the activity and get them out on the snow.
It is because of these positive results and the research work that was conducted in 2006 and reinforced in 2015, that the snowmobile manufacturers initiated the “Take a Friend Snowmobiling” campaign. The campaign is designed to encourage snowmobilers to invite non-snowmobilers – whether they are friends, family, or elected officials – to go snowmobiling. It is known that once individuals go snowmobiling, their likelihood of snowmobiling again in the future improves substantially. We also know that when individuals snowmobile with friends, they will often join the club and/or association that their friends may be involved in. Taking a Friend snowmobiling is a great opportunity to expand club membership and Association membership throughout North America.
We are all encouraged to help grow the snowmobiling family and plan to take a friend snowmobiling this winter.
After a short trip on the snowmobile take your friend to your club house, a club meeting, a snowmobile show, and to your local snowmobile dealer so they can get a feel for what the sport can entail. Give your friend a map and show them the trails and riding areas. Invite them to events they might enjoy…….IT IS FUN!