“Before HappyOrNot, feedback was more qualitative, anecdotal and lacked statistical quality.  Today, we can report real metrics confidently to a city official, a sponsor or even a constituent when asked how an event performed.  These insights have also served to justify budgets for on-going and proposed activations.”

Nick Efron, Public Space Manager, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM)

Increasing Community Engagement and Public Satisfaction in Downtown Santa Monica

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. is a private 501c(3) non-profit organization that works with the City of Santa Monica to manage services and operations in Downtown Santa Monica while promoting economic stability, growth and community life within this unique neighborhood.

Looking to increase community engagement and apply numbers to public satisfaction as a way to support budgets and planning, DTSM turned to HappyOrNot.  In a matter of weeks, the organization began assessing community sentiment and applied these learnings to modify locations of Parklets (temporary, little pop up parks in on-street parking spaces) as well as generate budget and planning support for current and future activations.

Downtown Santa Monica is equal parts shopping haven and street-performer stage. Just east of the Pier, the Third Street Promenade consists of three open-air, car-free blocks that are anchored by the upscale Santa Monica Place.  

DTSM works with the city and the business community to market the district.  The community’s assets, inspiration and potential are capitalized with the intention of creating a highly engaged and connected community for the people who live there, work there and visit there.

Smiley Terminals are in service full time seven days a week in staffed restrooms to gauge cleanliness; additional terminals are moved around depending on events or activations that are taking place.

Influence on Stakeholders & Partners

Data collected and resulting analytics has allowed Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. to improve Placemaking to be more appealing to the public, influence stakeholders and partners about the benefits of various events and activations and help to develop a roadmap for the future.

HappyOrNot has helped DTSM in the following ways

Demonstrate an interest in Public Sentiment
Guide Placemaking & Space Activations to the best locations and times of operation
Providing intelligent analytics to ensure constituents are happy
Roadmap for the future development of the Promenade

Analytics Provide Benchmarks for Long-Term Activities

“For the past 12 years we have offered our annual ice-skating rink activation to the community receiving only anecdotal feedback,” noted Nick Efron, Public Space Manager.

“Last year, HappyOrNot allowed us to actually collect feedback, measure sentiments and analyze real statistical data!   Entering year two, we have a baseline to measure the effectiveness of changes we are making to concession stand placements as well as to the overall site plan.  Overall, this activation has generated a 77% satisfaction rating.”

HappyOrNot analytics play an important role in supporting activities, budgets as well as facilitating negotiations with sponsors and vendors. After about 14 months of feedback, DTSM has achieved the following Happy Benchmark ratings:

  • Overall Satisfaction (The Experiment on the Promenade), 83%
  • Park Restroom Satisfaction. 81%
  • Ice Skating Rink Satisfaction, 77%

Insights Help Generate More Opportunities with Sponsors and Vendors

In addition to public restroom cleanliness, DTSM measures sentiment related to Placemaking activities.  Through HappyOrNot analytics, DTSM is able to determine which geographic locations are more preferable for their Parklets   To date, insights have revealed that Parklets located on the bigger boulevards are less attended and less positively reviewed vs those located on smaller side streets.  Additionally, DTSM is able to compile data, facts and indexes that facilitate negotiations with sponsors and vendors.

Data Collection & Analytics to Guide Future City Plans

Municipal government and international downtown communities are relying more on data collection and analytics to ascertain the value of events and programs.  DTSM currently has a Smiley Terminal located at a Placemaking Activation on the Third Street Promenade. To date “The Experiment” has generated an average Happy index of 83%. Plans for next year include aggregating all the data and developing a report to be shared with city officials to help guide the future redevelopment of the Promenade.

About Downtown Santa Monica

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. is a private 501c(3) non-profit organization that works with the City of Santa Monica to manage services and operations in Downtown Santa Monica while promoting economic stability, growth and community life within this unique neighborhood. Visit www.downtownsm.com to learn more.