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The Church of the CrossIf you would like to reach tens of thousands of locals and tourists monthly in the Bluffton and Hilton Head Island markets, contact us today to find out how you can advertise online with BlufftonSC.com. Call or text us at 912.844.6991 (you can always email us at [email protected]).

BlufftonSC is a digital travel and local website focused on creating engaging and actionable content that inspires people to discover and visit new destinations, resorts,  restaurants, businesses, and attractions in Bluffton and Hilton Head. 

Get in front of your audience with impactful display unit placements with one of our advertising packages.

970×250 Billboard Ad • 728×90 Leaderboard • 300×600 Wide Skyscraper • 300×250 Mobile and/or Desktop • 320×50 Mobile Leaderboard

Source/Credit: College of Charleston School of Business Office of Tourism Analysis

A total of 481 thousand visitors came to Bluffton in 2021. The overall economic impact of this tourism for Beaufort County was $187.31 million. This economic impact represents not just the direct expenditure by visitors, but also the secondary ripple effects of such economic activity that occur as tourism businesses spend operating funds and as tourism dollars are re-spent within the region. Bluffton tourism also (directly and indirectly) supported an estimated 2,782 jobs, which represent 2.6% of all jobs in Beaufort County, as per employment data provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The survey results below were conducted by OFFICE OF TOURISM ANALYSIS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON.

THOSE WHO TRAVELED TO BLUFFTON

The top reasons for choosing Bluffton as a destination included visiting beaches, visiting heritage attractions/museums/historic tours, and spending time with family. Other popular motivations included relaxation, boating/sailing/kayaking, and nature-based activities. The activities in which visitors actually  participated are similar to the previously mentioned activities, and also include shopping, culinary, and health/wellness. Amongst Bluffton’s overnight visitors, 75% were first-time visitors, suggesting that the destination continues to appeal to new visitors.

TRIP CHARACTERISTICS

The average group size of those surveyed was 4.5 for overnight visitors and 3.8 for day trip visitors. The  main mode of transportation to town was personal/family car (45.8% overnight; 67.9% day trip). About  40.9% of overnight visitors flew to Bluffton via commercial flights, with just over one-third of them  (34.2%) landing at the Hilton Head Island Airport.

The average length of stay for those overnight visitors surveyed was approximately 4.0 nights. Hotels were the most popular choice of accommodation for overnight visitors (33.1%), followed by resorts  (25.9%), staying with friends/relatives (20.5%), and home/villa rentals (18.1%).

TRAVEL PLANNING

Airbnb was the most popular online booking platform for villas/homes (27.6%), followed by HomeAway (13.8%), local vacation rental companies (10.3%), and the local resorts’ online booking platforms  (10.3%). The top five other destinations visitors considered before choosing Bluffton were the Hawaiian  Islands; the Alabama Golf Trail; Gulf Shores, AL; Isle of Palms, SC; and Orlando, FL.

Top reasons for choosing to visit Bluffton were wanting to visit a beach destination (32.6%), word-of-mouth recommendation (29.0%), previous visit experience (28.0%), and wanting to visit nature-based attractions (23.3%).

Of those surveyed, 85.8% indicated an intention to return to visit Bluffton.

NON-VISITORS

Of those who indicated not to have traveled at all or not to have traveled to the Hilton Head Island / Bluffton area in the past 12 months (N=860), just 38.6% had never visited the Hilton Head Island / Bluffton area before, and 48.8% had visited 1-5 times before. 

Of those non-visitors, 37.6% traveled elsewhere, 2.9% found it too expensive, 2.0% mentioned health reasons, 2.0% were hesitant because of unpredictable weather events, 1.5% did not travel at all, and 0.9% did not find what they were looking for. Over 26% stated the COVID-19 pandemic kept them from visiting the Hilton Head Island / Bluffton area. Of those who did not visit the Hilton Head Island / Bluffton area, alternative destinations in the Southeast (26.9%) and Midwest (10.5%) were the most popular. Nonetheless, 49% of the non-visitors indicated they had plans to visit the Hilton Head Island / Bluffton area within one year.

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