How Social Analytics Illuminates the Future of the Travel Industry

Airbnb Composes Growing Share of Social Media Conversation

Millions of people across the globe are busy preparing for their summer holidays and vacationers are increasingly incorporating Airbnb into their travel plans. The growing online home-rental service inspired over 720k Tweets in March and April of 2015 alone.
Map Airbnb
In addition to customers Tweeting about their experiences with Airbnb, the company has made waves in the news and on social media in recent months. For instance, the company recently began offering lodging in Cuba for American travelers. The announcement earned mixed reactions and inspired 37,575 Tweets across the globe.

Another popular topic of discussion: the Airbnb business model. Similar to companies like Uber and Facebook, Airbnb provides the interface between consumers and producers rather than creating and selling an actual product. Unlike other travel companies that maintain hotels and planes, provide meals and services, and train employees, Airbnb simply connects vacationers and homeowners.   Words Airbnb When we confine our search to keywords that are related to Airbnb and travel, roughly 66k Tweets are collected and analyzed by ForSight. Looking at the Auto Sentiment Analysis, it appears as though the conversation is largely positive (26%) and neutral (67%) with only 7% of the posts being categorized as negative. Our Topic Wheel mirrors this pattern with Twitter users referring to many different aspects of the Airbnb experience including renting, using, and booking listings. Topics Airbnb Looking at people who are engaged in the Airbnb conversation, it is clear that they are passionate about travel. They are 26 times more interested in airplanes and 25 times more interested in vacations than the general Twitter audience. While it appears as though they share a general interest in travel, the audience is also diverse. They are 514 times more interested in hostels, accommodations favored by cash-strapped young people, and 142 times more interested in business travel, a topic that likely involves an older, more affluent audience.  Affinities Airbnb When we dive into Segment Insights, we can see that audiences interested in hostels and business travel are distinct. This is clear based on many different analytic measures including top hashtags, mentions, and influencers. For instance, top hashtags for Hostels include instatravel, instago, tourism, and vacation. Business Travel includes travel related hashtags as well as reviews, leadership, sales, and news.

Top Influencers for both groups include a mix of experts, businesses, and travel enthusiasts. A greater proportion of Business Travel influencers are associated with businesses or labeled as experts, highlighting an important distinction between who is influencing the conversation.

Influencers Airbnb

Influencers2 Airbnb

These findings suggest that Airbnb attracts a broad range of travel enthusiasts to discuss and use their service. Exploring audience interests exposed a diverse group, which suggests that catering to a wide audience will further Airbnb’s success. For instance, marketing and advertising that attracts youth and business travelers can help increase profits and market share. Social media analytics can help guide these strategies, identifying changes in travel trends, consumer tastes, and brand opinions.
For more information on travel trends in the airline industry, check out our latest report here.

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