Despite tourism researchers continually collecting new data on visitors, academic understanding of the utilisation of this knowledge remains fragmented. Using a sample of 407 national park studies published from 2014 to 2018, this paper applies the systematic quantitative literature review method in a novel way to confirm the main components of visitor research and investigate its potential integration into protected area management activities. Visitor research encapsulates data about visitors’ socio-demographic and psychographic attributes; travel arrangements and pre-visit information; visitor use patterns at the destination; experience outcomes and visitation-related impacts. The results indicate most of the research leads to recommendations for applications in management activities that exhibit a strong visitor interface, such as enhancing the visitor experience, managing visitor use, improving visitor interpretation and communication, and monitoring and evaluating social and environmental conditions. There is an association between different types of research and its management applications. Most studies included recommendations for application in an identifiable management problem, but research evaluating past management decisions or practices were less common. Studies involving embedded researchers were more likely to include practical recommendations, an important result with the apparent decline in embedded research capacity worldwide.