Memorial Day Travel Whisperer
How was your long holiday weekend (for those of you in the U.S.)?
I know, hard to believe Tuesday could come around so quickly.
But let’s wallow in the long weekend just one moment longer.
Question: Have you ever ever wondered what kind of practical insight can be garnered from the social media, by what I like to call “social intelligence”?
Okay then, we’ll use data regarding the Memorial Day weekend travel as an example.
Before the long weekend, IBM Research and IBM Global Business Services conducted an analysis of blog posts, Tweets, news sites, and other social media in the US which indicated that fewer travelers expected to cancel their Memorial Day Holiday trips compared with last year — and this despite the dramatic rise in the price of gas over the past six months.
During the project, analytics software was used to scan thousands of publicly-available social media postings relating to travel and Memorial Day.
The analysis focused on two six-month periods, November 20 to May 20 in both 2010 and 2011.
It identified more than 11,500 individual references to travel and Memorial Day, and revealed that 1.6 percent of posts in 2011 referenced canceling Memorial Day trips versus 2.8 percent in 2010.
Further analysis suggested that in 2010, with fuel costs hovering in the mid- to upper-$2.00/gallon range, online Memorial Day references tended to focus on the overall cost of travel (driving, hotels, entertainment, etc.)
This year, the references centered around the holiday itself, and references to gas prices were not substantially higher than in 2010.
See the topic cloud below for a visual representation of some of the key mentions from 2011. In last year’s cloud, “travel cost” was the most mentioned meme.
IBM Fellow and CTO of IBM Global Business Services had this to say about this type of an approach can help businesses:
“As a marketplace of ideas and opinions, the Web can appear raucous and chaotic at times — but there is insight contained in all that data. A better understanding of what people are saying online can help retailers, hoteliers, transportation officials, and others with the extremely complicated process of forecasting demand.”
To learn more visit the IBM business analytics and optimization Website.