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Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Management: TOUR 335: Strategic Managment

Industry research - the basics

Industry research is different from academic research. Industry research is business information gathering on the environment, competitors, markets, consumers, trends, and factors that influence a particular industry. You are painting a picture of the industry for your reader: what is important to someone who is starting a new company in this industry in BC?

You will have to look at multiple sources, both academic and non-academic, in order to answer the questions in your Industry Analysis assignment.

There are five key places to start your search:

  1. By sector (provides links to useful websites for each tourism sector - sources have been recommended by Jacqueline and other instructors)
  2. Business Source Complete
  3. IBISWorld Industry Reports
  4. Passport
  5. Statista

Scroll down for step-by-step instructions on how to search the databases. If you're just looking for the database links, they're here:

For information on each of the sectors, take a look on the Find Industry and Market Research tab.

Verify your info! You'll need to use more than one report for your assignment.

Identifying a topic for your assignment

What tourism-related industry are you interested in?

What tourism-related industry would you like to work for after you graduate?

Do you already work in a tourism-related  industry?

Keep in mind that this assignment asks you to look at a BC industry.


"The North American Classification System (NAICS) is a system for classifying production units by type of economic activity. It was developed by the statistical agencies of Canada, Mexico and the United States in order to facilitate the collection, tabulation, analysis and dissemination of industry statistics and allow three-country uniformity and comparability of such data. NAICS is also widely used by government agencies, trade associations, public and private sector businesses and various other organizations." - Statistics Canada.

Why use NAICS?

Consistency - it captures a topic that may have many ways to describe it in one unique series of numbers, e.g. Food trucks is represented by 722330 Mobile Food Services.

Hierarchical structure - you can be more or less specific on the topic (e.g. 722 Food Services and Drinking Places)

  • Tip: the shorter the number, the more general the topic.

Use the NAICS code to start your search for industry reports in Business Source Complete.

Why not use NAICS?

NAICS was not designed for the tourism sector, so it doesn't necessarily address tourism industries in a way that is meaningful to tourism students and practitioners. If there is not a specific NAICS code, Jacqueline will allow you to use other ways to define your industry. You might consider looking at:

  • IBISWorld Industry Reports codes and definitions
  • Industry association websites

Can't find what you're looking for?

For company information, look on the company's website. Keep in mind that a company's website is one of its public faces - they will only tell you what they want to tell you. Company websites are good for identifying strengths and opportunities. Make sure that you look for other views to help balance our the bias. 

Tourism association websites like Destination Canada provide monthly tourism snapshots that identify major trends and changes in the industry. This is a good spot to identify an industry you may want to focus on.

Read the Moodle course discussion for interesting ideas that your classmates have identified.

Listen to podcasts like Skift - this is where the most current trend information will be found.

Using IBISWorld Industry Reports

IBISWorld produces industry reports that cover many of the questions you need to answer for your industry analysis assignment. These reports focus on Canada, but do not break it down by province or city.

Browse through the list of industries organized by their NAICS codes and corresponding categories.

You have the option to download as PDF or print. If you decide to share the report with your group mates, use the CapU Library link generator and enter the URL from the browser bar.

Key things to remember when using this database for your assignment

  • Review Jacqueline's slides on how to scale Canada-wide information to BC, e.g. use number of BC locations to approximate market share
  • Consider what of the required information may be applicable to BC, e.g. are the key success factors relevant to the BC environment?
  • Are there strong local/provincial competitors that do not have a strong nationwide share? 
  • If the IBISWorld industry report is on hotels and motels, and you're focusing on hotels, you need to identify what is specifically relevant to hotels for your report. Do not simply copy and paste the information on this report without considering why it it important to your industry in BC.
  • If there's not relevant NAICS code, use the IBIS code and description define the industry you're analyzing (since NAICS does not adequately address all of the different aspects of tourism)
  • You must consult other sources - some areas such as campgrounds have a full report in IBISWorld, but you might struggle to find other reports on this area. 

Using Business Source Complete

You can find industry profiles and SWOT analyses in Business Source Complete.

Industry reports

1. Start by searching for the NAICS code you've identified. Type it in the search bar and select "IC NAICS Code or Description" from the dropdown menu. 

2. On the results page, look on the left side under Refine Results to Format and check off "Industry Profiles." 

3. You may find worldwide reports, but if you find that your entire first page of results is country-specific, you may want to do some more refining. To get industry reports from a more specific area, e.g. Canada, look under Refine Results to Geography and check off the continent/country/region that you want. 

You may not find an industry report on your specific industry - in that case, you need to look for multiple sources to build your own industry analysis (and answer the questions in your assignment).

SWOT analyses

1. Type in your company name and search (no need to select anything from the dropdown menu).

2. On the results page, look on the left side under Refine Results to Format and check off "SWOT Analyses." You may need to expand the list of formats (Show More) for it to show up.


  • Keep in mind that these analyses are done by large firms and tend to only feature the big companies (not small local companies). 
  • If you're unable to find results for your big company, check your spelling, e.g. WestJet, not West Jet or West-Jet.

Using Passport

You can find category briefings similar to industry profiles), industry overviews, and company profiles in Passport.

1.Start with the Find Analysis box in the middle of the page.

  • Use the Choose Industry dropdown menu to select the relevant industry
  • Use Choose Geography to limit to a country (the (+) allows you to select a country from the region)

2. Scan the results. Industry Overview and Category Briefing are two helpful formats (it's in orange text under the title of the item)

In a category briefing, you'll find trends as well as a section called "Company Shares" - this section identifies the main competitors and how much of the market they control. 

Write down the company names you find to help you search for company information and build out your industry analysis.

Using Statista

You can find statistics and numeric data presented in nice-looking charts and tables on Statista

In the top navigation bar, find Statistics and select the Travel, Tourism & Hospitality industry (bottom on list). You'll be able to browse for charts and statistics. 

Remember, Statista does not gather the data - they find data that others have put together and compiles it into a nice chart. They always list the source of the data, so follow it through to the original source for more information.

Under the tab Tools, select the Publication Finder. This is a collection of reports and sources that the Statista team has gathered for their own use. Chances are pretty good that the reports and publications you find here are of high quality.

Useful web resources

Don't forget to check out the web links on the PESTLE/TREES and By sector pages under the Find Industry and Market Research tab.

Jacqueline also recommends: