Poly Escapes Evaluation Final Report
Objectives: •To create and implement an appropriate evaluation tool for a parks, recreation, tourism, or sport program. • To demonstrate the ability to gather and analyze data, draw conclusions, make recommendations.
•To synthesize all course concepts in one fluid document. •To prepare a report that is complete, accurate, visually appealing, and useful.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Poly Escapes Evaluation Final Report
Poly Escapes Evaluation
Jessica Mattson, Emma Maltbaek, and Becky Long
Table of Contents
Founded in 1970, “Poly Escapes helps students get off campus and explore the
surrounding areas in San Luis Obispo County. From organizing trips, to renting gear
like tents, kayaks, and backpacking supplies,” an adventure is right around the corner
according to its Mission Statement. Poly Escapes’ vision is “To provide the ultimate
college experience for every student” They value “life-changing adventures,
networking and building friendships, & new experiences” The main office is located on
the Cal Poly campus in newly renovated Recreation Center. Poly Escapes
offers student-led overnight and day trips all over California and the
Central Coast. Some programs include camping and outdoor equipment
rental, as well as an outdoor climbing wall. This organization is funded
by Associated Students Inc. and Cal Poly Corporation.
The purpose of this study is to inform the administrative staff
of Poly Escapes about the conclusions found about student
satisfaction, marketing efficiency, and give them possible ways
to improve student participation.
1. How satisfied are participants?
2. In what way can Poly Escapes improve marketing strategies?
3. What is the most used aspect of Poly Escapes?
Reason for Evaluation
The issue being investigated is the lack of growth of Poly Escapes and how to increase
participation and broaden the target market by accommodating to all skill levels. First
step is to evaluate current marketing efficiency, overall quality of operations, and
discover if there is a correlation between these aspects and students’ participation.
This evaluation will be used by the administrative staff that is in charge of Poly Escapes,
looking to improve the program, additionally ASI as increased participation will
increase profits. Students will also benefit from the program being improved and
expanded, if need be, after this evaluation.
Qualitative Data Gathering
The method chosen for this portion of the evaluation was a semi-structured interview.
This was the most appropriate method for the purpose because of the flexibility of
being able to probe when needed, and to be able to make the situation feel
conversational while gathering organized data.
These interviews were held in the upstairs portion of University Union in conference
room 217. The duration of each interview was 15-30 minutes long depending on the
interviewee and their length of answers.
To find participants, flyers were posted in the Poly Escapes office and staff were asked
to encourage “regulars” to participate. Also, flyers were posted around the University
Union and the opportunity was announced in classes to get the participants who have
not used Poly Escapes before. There was an email listed for students to get in contact
with the research team to set up an appointment time. Then there was a brief overview
sent to them describing who would be holding these interviews, why are these
interviews taking place, approximate duration of the interview, and an explanation of
the casual and inviting environment. For an incentive free snacks were advertised to be
provided during the interview and a $5 gift card was advertised as awarded to a few
participants after the interview. To get sufficient data, the number of participants
needed was six; three that have gone on poly escape trips and three that have not.
To avoid bias, interviewers had to adhere to the questions provided and needed to keep
questions that arose due to probing, open-ended. Since the method for the evaluation
was an interview style, there was only one participant at a time in the interview, so
neither groupthink nor social desirability was an issue.
Interview questions were developed by the research team after discussing Poly Escapes
mission statement, purpose, and campus involvement. Open-ended interview questions
set in a semi-structured way were designed to gather general, qualitative data and
information about Poly Escape as an organization as a whole. Important topics that
were covered were the experiences students had on a trip, how they found out about
that trip, and other skills and services they acquired or benefitted from. Some example
questions include asking the participant to describe their experience with Poly Escapes
and what marketing tools were used to promote Poly Escapes. Probing and follow-up
questions were only used a couple of times, such as for clarification. The total number
of questions asked in one interview was 17 and interviews lasted an average of 15
minutes. All questions can be found in Appendix A.
Quantitative Data Gathering
The survey data was collected through email and Facebook posts. The email and
Facebook posts containing the link to the survey was sent out on Thursday, February
18th at 10 am. The survey remained open for one week after it opened. Emails were
sent to students that have registered with Poly Escapes (if they went on trips) and
general students (friends of friends). Posts were through the exclusive Cal Poly Groups
forum on Facebook where there are multiple “Class of…” pages to reach more of the
The email and posts included a brief description about the survey and why subjects
were being asked to fill it out. It also stated that it is a completely anonymous survey
and no answer will be linked to them, so it is imperative that they answer honestly. It
took the subjects 20 minutes maximum to complete the survey, although there was no
time limit on the survey itself. An advantage to this method is that it was easy to reach
out to our target audience using online means and social media. A disadvantage to this
method was that there was no immediate reward for completing the survey, so some
subjects may have not thought it was worth their time to complete it.
The subjects of the survey were current Cal Poly students, both male and female. The
age range is within 17-22 because it is encouraged by the research team that all grade
levels take the survey. All majors are welcome as well.
The minimum sample size will be 35, but aim to obtain at least 40 responses. Non-
probability sampling was used because it would be the best option to reduce biases.
Purposive sampling was also used by emailing Cal Poly students who have previously
utilized Poly Escapes. Secondly, the research team asked those participants to pass
along the survey to their friends that may or may not have used Poly Escapes, using
email and Facebook By using the snowball method; it gained a wider audience and
more responses. It is recognized that using this method attracted participants have not
used Poly escapes before, this is what was needed to get more insight from a broader
Data Collection Issues
Our data collection had some issues, as we ended up limited to Facebook as a source of
spreading the survey. Not all participants for Poly Escapes may use Facebook, making
this a limiting source of data collection.
In order to analyze the data found during the interview, the research team used a
coding method to discover repetitive key terms throughout the interview. After the
interview, the team thoroughly read through the interview script multiple times,
scanning for common trends. Every time a research member read through the script
they wrote down open codes, or words that occurred more frequently, than others.
Once each member had their own list of words, they consulted each other to form axial
codes. The axial codes were then used to create major themes. The themes included
social media, marketing, experience, and students.
Based of the information gathered from the interview, it was clear that Poly Escapes
should improve their marketing to increase widespread participation. The analysis of
the data was then used to create a more targeted survey to send to students, which
represented the themes found in the interview.
To create the quantitative survey the research team used information gathered from
the qualitative analysis in order to project what topics needed further investigation. To
analyze the data gathered from the online survey the team created pivot tables to map
out frequency counts from selected fields, pie charts to visualize percentages, and
column charts to display differences in opinions. To have a more rounded analysis of
received data the research team could have re-worded questions in order to find
information such as averages, standard deviations and correlations.
49 Cal Poly Students took the online survey.
16 of those students were from the college of Liberal Arts.
78% of students heard about Poly Escapes through word of mouth.
2% of students heard about Poly Escapes on the internet.
29% of students think that Poly Escapes can improve their marketing by having
booth in the UU.
23% of students think that Poly Escapes can improve their marketing by sending out a
campus wide email.
Poly Escapes received a 4.47 average out of 5 for their customer service.
On average, 72.6% of students stated that they are moderately likely to likely to use
Poly Escapes during their time at Cal Poly (3.63
out a scale of 5).
According to the data collected, 78% of
students heard about Poly Escapes through
word of mouth, 20% from posters, and only
2% from an online source
When rating average importance of
qualities, environmental awareness
ranked the highest at 90.6%, with a 4.53
out of 5. the next highest were skill
building, the level of information
provided and helpfulness of staff,
ranking in the high 4 out of 5 range.
Knowledgeability and friendliness
ranked around 3.5 out of 5. The lowest
was fun at 60%, with a 3 out of 5 on
average. This indicates that fun on
average is not as important to
participants as the other qualities.
The highest level of Poly Escapes participation is
seen in the College of Liberal Arts represented by
33% of the respondent group. This is seen as 16
of the 49 Cal Poly student respondents. The
lowest level of participation was seen in the
College of Science and Math, with only 12% of the
respondent group saying they partake in Poly
Escapes. This is represented by only 6 out of 49
being in the College of Science & Math.
According to the data collected, 36.7%
of respondents reported that
advertisement of Poly Escapes is ranked
3 out of 5. This is a 60% level of
effectiveness. Only 4% of respondents
gave advertisement a 1 out of 5.
The overall satisfaction of respondents
with Poly Escapes is on average very
high. Approximately 34.7% of
respondents rated Poly Escapes with a
5 out of 5 on satisfaction. 0% rated
satisfaction at a 1 out of 5.
The purpose of this study is to inform the administrative staff of Poly Escapes about the
conclusions found about student satisfaction, marketing efficiency, and give them
possible ways to improve student participation. The three research questions used in
this study were: How satisfied are participants? In what way can Poly Escapes improve
marketing strategies? What is the most used aspect of Poly Escapes?
1. Environmental awareness had a higher average of importance for students using Poly
Escapes than having fun.
One possible explanation for this could be that students who are more likely to
participate in outdoor activities, such as Poly Escapes, are more aware of
environmental issues as an important aspect of outdoor activity, not just the fun
they get out of it. With this in mind, perhaps Poly Escapes should focus on
hosting more environmentally focused trips, in order to raise satisfaction of
2. Utilizing Poly Escapes and how efficient students think Poly Escapes is marketed has
a weak positive correlation.
One possible explanation for this could be that the more students start hearing
about Poly Escapes through marketing, the more students will start to utilize it.
3. More students use equipment rental than attending a student led Poly Escapes trip.
One possible explanation for this could be that most students do not have time to
go on overnight trips, but do have time to spend on campus at the Rock Wall.
Another explanation for this could be that students could rent tents, sleeping
bags, or kayaks and go on trips on their own time with their friends, not
necessarily through Poly Escapes.
4. Most students who have used the rock wall have also rented from Poly Escapes.
One possible explanation for this could be that to use the rock wall, students
either have to bring their own equipment or rent shoes and harnesses from Poly
Escapes. Another possible explanation may be that students that use the rock
wall are more likely to conduct their own outdoor activities and rent equipment.
5. Students reported a moderate likelihood to utilize Poly Escapes.
On average, students stated that they are moderately likely to likely to use Poly
Escapes. This is represented on average as 72.6%, or 3.63 out a scale of 5. A
possible explanation for this is that almost ¾ of Cal Poly students are likely to
participate in outdoor recreation. This can be attributed to the surrounding
environment in San Luis Obispo, which allows plenty of opportunity for outdoor
activities. The city of SLO itself owns 3,000 acres of public open space, and there
are countless other opportunities in the surrounding areas to get outdoors. From
kayaking to backpacking, there is an activity for every skill level.
1. Improve marketing by the top three recommended sources: Booth in UU, classroom
announcements, and social media.
2. Have promotional games related to outdoorrecreation at a boothin the UU on the first
Thursday of every month during UU hour 11:00am - 12:00pm.
3. Increase the number of local day trips available for students.
Poly Escapes should improve awareness of trips by having an individual college
representative from each college on campus that can reach out to specific classes and
students in similar majors to promote Poly Escapes and all that it has to offer.They
should start to focus on colleges that have the lowest number of participants, for
example, College of Architecture and Environmental Design.
Summary & Reflection
This evaluation questioned the issues involving marketing by Poly Escapes to Cal Poly
students. Findings varied from student satisfaction, marketing efficiency, and possible
ways to improve student participation. The main outcome was that students wished
there was more of an effort from from Poly Escapes to be a presence on campus.
The interviewee requested to be anonymous due to their connection to Poly Escapes,
therefore the research team was unable to disclose any personal information in this
evaluation. The research team asked the interviewee if they had permission to record
the interview and take notes. The team was granted permission before the interview
Copy of Interview Script
Q:Please describe your experience with Poly Escapes.
A:I am a trip leader and I have been working at Poly Escapes for three years now. I lead
one to two trips a month and it has been the highlight of my Cal Poly experience. I also
like to climb at the rock wall in my free time, but I own my own climbing shoes so I
don’t have to rent them from the front desk.
Q:Awesome! Tell me about your customer service experience while working at Poly
A:They train us to be very professional, but relatable to other students. Its a unique
experience because our customers are usually very close in age, but the customer
always comes first.
Q:Can you describe any other skills and services you acquired from being a Poly
A:I learned how to work in a team and deal with problems… problems solving
techniques, you know? We also get certified before each trip we lead, so that part is cool
to put on a resume.
Q:Absolutely, switching gears a little bit now, how would you describe the marketing
techniques used by Poly Escapes?
A:Umm, there isn’t a ton of intense marketing for trips. I know there are posters around
campus and dates of our trips should be up on our website. Through my experience, I
have noticed that the students who do go on trips or rent camping equipment are the
same students or friends of previous participants.
Q:Okay, can you see that being improved?
A:I wish I had the authority to put something in place, but I don’t and it’s frustrating at
times. I want everyone to have the experience Ive had while going on these trips, and I
feel like not a lot of students get to, due to the lack of marketing. I hope ASI does
something soon though!
Q:Have any students approached you with the idea of improving marketing strategies?
A:Honestly, you guys have been the first. I think most students have this thought like,
“You either know Poly Escapes, or you don’t and thats just how it is”. So no one really
thinks about the marketing aspect, but it is important.
Q:How could social media be a good marketing tool?
A:I think maybe we could have a trip leader be in charge of our Facebook page and post
pictures of trips and post statuses or something like that. And I know Instagram is huge
here at Poly so maybe Poly Escapes should create their own Instagram account for
students to follow to get updates and see cool photos.
Q:What were the experiences students had on a trip?
A:The times i've led the trip, it seems that most of them had a blast and that’s always
rewarding for me. Im not going to lie, some trips are harder than others so some
students see it more as a bucket-list type trip. In total, like I said before, I wish everyone
could have this experience at least once during their time here.
Q:How did most of the students found out about that trip?
A:They are usually friends of friends that have done it before, or roommates that go
Q:Why do you think most students are satisfied with Poly Escapes?
A:Because we’re awesome! Haha. But seriously, I think its because we offer a different
type of campus recreation, unlike the Rec Center or clubs. It’s more organized and we
make it really easy for our participants to enjoy it.
Social Media “Facebook page and post pictures of
“Poly Escapes should create their own
Instagram account for students to follow
to get updates”
Marketing “‘You either know Poly Escapes, or you
don’t and that’s just how it is”
“So no one really thinks about the
marketing aspect, but it is important.”
Experience “Most of them had a blast and that’s
always rewarding for me”
Students “Friends of friends that have done it
Copy of Questionnaire
Poly Escapes Questionnaire
Please answer each question to the best of your ability. We appreciate honest responses as we use this
information to help identify problems within Poly Escapes in hopes to improve them. Thank you for you r time!
Top of Form
What College does your major belong to? *
○ College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
○ College of Architecture and Environmental Design
○ College of Engineering
○ College of Liberal Arts
○ Orfalea College of Business
○ College of Science and Mathematics
What is your grade level? *
○ First year
○ Second year
○ Third year
○ Fourth year
○ 5th year +
How did you hear about Poly Escapes? Pick the most applicable one. *
online- website, social media
word of mouth
I have not heard of it
From this scale, please pick the most applicable response to this question: How likelyare you to utilize
Poly Escapes during your time as a Cal Poly student? *
1 2 3 4 5
Very Unlikely Very Likely
Which component of Poly Escapes have you used? Please pick all that apply. *
○ Rock Wall
○ Equipment Rental
○ Planned trip with Poly Escapes Leader
○ I have not used Poly Escapes
On a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied were you from your experience with Poly Escapes?
If you have not dealt with Poly Escapes,please skip this question.
1 2 3 4 5
Very Unsatisfied Very Satisfied
On a scale of 1 to 5, how well do you think Poly Escapes is advertised to students? *
1 2 3 4 5
Very Poor Very Good
On a scale of 1 to 5, how was the customer service at Poly Escapes?
If you have not dealt with Poly Escapes,please skip this question.
1 2 3 4 5
Very Poor Very Good
How do you think Poly Escapes could improve their marketing? *
Please rank with 1 being the most important and 4 being the least. Please do not select the same rank for
1 2 3 4
Booth in the
by Poly Escape
outlets such as
Please rank in order of importance the following items: *
Please rank with 1 being the most important and 7 being the least. Please do not choose the same rank for
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Bottom of Form
ASI Poly Escapes. (2015, January 1). Retrieved February 7, 2015, from
Poly Escapes. (2007, January 1). Retrieved February 7, 2015, from
Student interest in Poly Escapes remains high. (2010, January 25). Retrieved February
10, 2015, from http://mustangnews.net/poly-escapes/