Who’s Talking About Traveling, What They Care About, and What Travel Industry Professionals Can Learn
With the winter months bearing down on us, and many contemplating the complexities of finding their way home for the holidays or to warmer locals to beat the cold, the holiday survival guides and lists coming at us from every direction, it is clear there is still much to be gained for travel industry professionals this holiday season. When it comes to the bustling industry of travel and hospitality, which is only intensified around the holidays, having a means of capturing the unvarnished consumer conversation—quickly, and in real-time—is invaluable in making business and marketing decisions.
Who’s Talking about Holiday Travel
Since the beginning of November there have been over 338,000 posts about holiday travel on Twitter and Tumblr alone. When it comes to understanding a vast conversation with multiple sources and possible points of interest, moving beyond volume or simple sentiment metrics is crucial. It is paramount to know who’s talking and what they care about. This allows interested professionals to know if they’re speaking in a way that their audience will respond to.
Above, we’ve used Crimson Hexagon’s social analytics platform to understand the Twitter users discussing holiday travel. Using this visualization, we can see the audience’s contextualizing interests in other topics they engage and discuss on Twitter (above left), compared to the interests of the general Twitter population (above right). This reveals strong interests in parenting, traveling with kids, pets, coupons, deals, hotels and resorts, as well as vacations. These insights help characterize an engaged audience of parents and families who having interests in affordability, deals, and the logistics of traveling around the holidays, arming professionals in the industry so they can plan marketing efforts with messaging strategies involving these interests, and create content and calls to action that coincide with these needs.
Prolific Additional Audiences Across Platforms
In the social sphere it’s important to remember that each platform presents its own opportunity for insights that professionals can tap into. Below, we characterized the Tumblr audience discussing holiday travel (dominant interests appearing on the right), seeing a vast audience with prolific interests in influential sectors of conversation on Tumblr ranging from multifandom, art, anime, and books, as well as many other many pop culture icons and highly followed TV shows such as Harry Potter, Disney, ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Supernatural,’ ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Once Upon a Time’, and ‘Sherlock.’ Posts from influencers in this discussion can be seen to be shared and proliferated through a vast network. This is a great opportunity for professionals to get involved to expand reach and engagement with another set of eyes.
By looking across platforms, those in the industry can see a variety of audiences engaging with the topics—not just older generations concerned with making plans with kids and around family affairs. The vocal participants on Tumblr can be seen to have their own opinions and concerns on the subject. Diving into their top threads of discussion, the social data reveals them to be a younger, creative audience who is reacting to the specificities of their experience with traveling around the holiday season. This provides insights on what types of content they are uniquely interested in whether it be humorous or supportive posts about traveling that they engage and empathize with, emotive ads about going home for the holidays, photos they feel connect to their experience, or surveys and discussion about going on tourist vacations or other locations during the holidays.
Measuring Prolific Topics and Sentiments in Conversation
Capturing these vast conversations may seem overwhelming for those looking for the precise insights that help facilitate business decisions, but breaking down the conversation into fully customizable categories from consumer opinion to prolific topics of discussion can provide the means to navigating this field. Below, we have tracked various topics and sentiments related to holiday travel discussion, measuring travelers’ positive experience with traveling and those in the travel industry, intended methods of travel, interest in planning resources, sentiments about going home, and discussion of other destinations.
Above, we can see that the most prolific topics in conversation were guides, heading home, and discussion of other destinations. However, if we narrow in on the consumer response that does not involve media or resources (this involves removing all social posts with links to supplemental material), we can see a slightly more nuanced picture of the opinions of consumers—allowing professional to hone in on and track the other categories of discussion.
Below, we can see that beyond sentiments about being and heading home, travelers are most concerned with having a positive experience and showing appreciation for the good service they receive (27%), as well as concerns and expressions regarding their intended methods of travel (36%).
Tracking Unique Interest Conversations and Their Drivers Over Time
Furthermore, creating multiple analyses in different (and even smaller) interest segments and conversations can reveal additional actionable insights, highlighting what’s driving people’s interests in those unique conversations over time. Below, we have broken down people discussing going to Las Vegas around the holidays, seeing that dominant trends in conversation over the last month are intent to travel to Vegas for Thanksgiving and New Year’s, as well as the various parties, shows, or events at different Vegas resorts and casinos.
We uncovered that the dominant driver of this conversation, beyond intent to travel, was excitement in response to influential partnerships with artists by various Vegas resorts such as The Venetian and The LINQ.
Getting to these types of metrics quickly provides opportunity for investing any number of key locals and sectors of interest. What times generate the most consumer interest? What efforts? Here planners and officials gain insights on events planning around peak times of interest, discovering influencers, planning media placements, allocating spend, and even conducting competitor research to steal potential customers, or providing reinforcement if they’re already performing well in the sector. This illustrates what to promote and what to reinforce through the ability to correlate sentiment, opinion, and intent, to specific endeavors and opportunities.
Users can capitalize on social data to distill large amounts of consumer feedback for a variety of consumer insights, from boiling down why customers travel, where they travel, what they anticipate or need in relation to their travel experience, to uncovering what they liked about their travel. These types of insights can replace costly and inefficient traditional efforts such as consumer research studies or comment cards, allowing those in the industry an unvarnished picture at consumer perception, even around incredibly stressful times such as the holidays.
For another analysis into the travel industry, check out our deep-dive study on consumer relations on ten major airlines in the industry.