by Matt Alderton | July 31, 2014
resonance report 2014

Visitor numbers do not a destination make. So concludes destination marketing consultancy Resonance Consultancy, which this month published a new report leveraging consumer reviews to rank the top 50 tourism destinations in the United States.

The Resonance Report: Top 50 U.S. Destinations 2014 goes beyond visitation numbers by scoring destinations based on the way travelers experience them. Its ranking criteria, for instance, include ratings on consumer-review websites like Trip Advisor and Yelp.

"In the past several years, Resonance Consultancy has undertaken destination assessments and tourism development plans for a wide range of places, and the more we researched, the more we began to understand that traditional measures of success -- numbers of visitors and the spending they generate -- don't tell destination marketing organizations the whole story," Resonance explains in the introduction to its report. "In an age where traditional marketing is less and less influential, the Resonance team is interested in the way visitors themselves are influencing tourism through their experiences and evaluations of destinations -- the comments, images and reviews from family, friends and associates."

Based on a variety of business and leisure travel criteria -- including the number of restaurants, stores and attractions rated highly by consumers in a given destination on review websites, as well as more traditional measures like airlift, crime rate and convention facilities -- Resonance's list of the Top 50 U.S. Destinations is led by the following 10 cities:

1. Los Angeles
2. New York
3. Dallas
4. Chicago
5. San Francisco
6. Las Vegas
7. San Diego
8. Denver
9. Philadelphia
10. Miami

No. 3 destination Dallas said the Resonance rankings reflect not just the number of people who flock to destinations, but also the significant investments those destinations are making to attract them. "Dallas has invested billions of dollars in new developments including hotels, restaurants, cultural venues and tourist infrastructure," Phillip J. Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said in a statement. "This ranking reaffirms our efforts and our strategic planning and proves that Dallas is full of surprises."