Horry County, South Carolina, covers 1,200 square miles and is home to nearly 300,000 full-time residents. Home to Myrtle Beach and other vacation destinations, the county experiences a population swell to two million during summer months. County geographic information system (GIS), IT, and business professionals use Insights for ArcGIS to understand the fluctuations in revenue as an aggregate as well as drill down to understand impacts occurring at the submarket level. This analysis identifies trends and predicts outcomes for local businesses and government agencies that work to accommodate tourists as well as citizens.
Gaining Insight on Citizen and Tourism Trends
All businesses within Horry County must collect from consumers and then pay a hospitality tax on food and beverages, accommodations, and entertainment to the county. The one and a half percent tax is submitted to the county based on gross revenue.
The county needed a way to analyze business revenue data along with weather, crime, development, and other factors. County staff needed to be able to investigate the data based on location, as well as submarkets within the county, to find patterns and make predictions on the success or failure of a tourist-based business. This granular level of analysis would help the county improve budgeting, emergency response, and commerce.
For example, if one golf course reported low profits for the year, the county needed to be able to determine whether it is a trend for all golf courses or just that golf course.
Horry County IT teams started using Insights for ArcGIS to dive deeper than county level. With Insights, they can subdivide the county into submarkets based, to some degree, on tourism-driven locations and businesses that are impacted by high tourism attraction. They can look at a submarket and quickly understand if it's up or down based on the previous year and identify which businesses are causing the change. In the past, they would have had to go through 90,000 businesses to do a comparison analysis of the submarkets.
Depending on what the results are, the county can act to ensure that the revenues within the submarkets stay steady. It may choose to increase policing activity in a certain area, approve or deny alcohol or new business permits, concentrate tourism marketing dollars, or spend infrastructure dollars appropriately.
Horry County can now provide a speedy, accurate, and repeatable analysis that scales to the geographic level required using Insights for ArcGIS. Once one type of analysis is performed, Insights stores the model so it can be easily rerun with fresh or different data. Analysts also use Insights to look at revenue data along with information about weather, crime, fire, construction, and more. They bring in Esri Demographics, that provides out-of-the-box psychographic and socioeconomic information for each submarket.
County staff can analyze and gauge the success of submarkets and share this information with the Chamber of Commerce, an economic development consortium, and state-level agencies. They can review submarkets to see where additional support is needed to keep revenues steady or anticipate where profits will be up.
The minute you open Insights for ArcGIS and look at the charts we created, you know exactly what's happening in specific submarkets and why areas have declined and others are hitting the high notes. In the past, this analysis would have taken days.