Looking for something fun to do locally in 2020? Well, alpaca your bags and pack over to Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch in Molalla, which was named the state’s top fan-favorite destination for 2020 by Oregon Business magazine last month.
The Portland-based media firm MEDIAmerica, which publishes Oregon Business, analyzed over 95,000 online reviews (…yikes, but it’s a living, I guess) to determine the best destinations in Oregon based on customer satisfaction, and found the national award-winning alpaca breeders to be the best game in town.
The alpaca ranch was started by Bill and Jennifer Cameron as a hobby over a decade ago but it soon grew into something much more. Their property now includes 18 acres and more than 80 alpaca (…alpacas? Who knows).
“Jennifer and I are ecstatic to be included in a list of this caliber, and we’re extremely grateful for the placing by our guests,” Bill Cameron said.
The ranch has won numerous awards won numerous awards, mostly for the quality of fiber produced by their alpacas. While proud of all of them, this award struck a chord.
“Just to be included in this list of hundred businesses, that’s an honor,” said Jennifer Cameron. “And then we’re at the top, that’s incredible.”
Prior winners have said they have seen substantial growth in business following the award. The Camerons plan on using that increase to help neighbors.
“We like to show our visitors other places they can go after their visit with us. If our business is going to grow, we’ll be able to point more people to things to do and places to stay,” Jennifer Cameron said.
With the list being formulated by tabulating customer reviews, Mt. Hood Territory Executive Director Samara Phelps said this shows the importance of managing a business’s online reputation.
“Studies show that more than 80 percent of shoppers value online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend, so not only is excellent customer service vital, but so is keeping tabs on those reviews and encouraging customers who had a positive experience to submit reviews,” she said. ” This can have a big impact on your business, and improves visitors’ experience when traveling to our destination.”
Several other area attractions made the list of the “100 Best,” including Canby’s Swan Island Dahlias — which came in at No. 18, a bit of a drop off from last year when it ranked fourth in the state, but still impressive — Timberline Lodge at 39, Mt. Hood Skibowl at 59, Gladstone’s Happyrock Coffee Co. ranked at 63Woodburn’s Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm at 64, and Oregon City’s End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive & Visitor Information Center, which squeaked in at No. 95.
This was the fourth year MEDIAmerica researchers undertook such a project, and they say they analyzed almost twice as many online reviews as they had the previous year, using sites such as Google, TripAdvisor and Yelp.
“I continue to be amazed at the high level of customer satisfaction many of these destinations deliver year after year,” said Andrew Insinga, CEO of MEDIAmerica. “And the average number of reviews per destination continues to grow, proving this is something worth paying attention to.”
Those who made the top 100 will be featured in magazines such as Oregon Business and Oregon Home, and will also appear on maps that will be printed and distributed across the state for residents and visitors.
Photo used with this story is a stock image obtained through Flickr, not one from Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch.