Friday, June 3, 2016
4:00 - 4:20 PM
Ted Talks - Marquette

Generating Insights from Traveller Reviews

Destination BC is working to develop methodology for collecting and analyzing traveller review data. With the advent of social media and traveller review sites, travellers are generating an incredible amount of data on where they went and what they did on their trips along with their ratings of the individual trip components such as hotels and attractions. Monitoring and analyzing review data for individual businesses is a common part of online reputation management, however Destination Management Organizations can also use review data to answer important marketing and policy questions. This research involved collecting publicly available review data from popular review sites to allow for quantitative, spatial, and text analysis.  The project is providing a number of valuable insights including reporting on the health and performance of destination businesses, uncovering trends that can inform product development, and determining the best strategies for leveraging traveller advocacy. 

Analysis was conducted to understand how representative review data are of the travelling population through a number of different explorations. The correlation between the volume of traveller reviews and overall visitation (derived from traditional survey methodology) was also explored, along with comparisons between reviewer and traveller demographics.

Due to the connection to a business with a physical address, the data can be explored using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools.  Using spatial statistics the data have been used to develop maps displaying the intensity of tourist activities across British Columbia, aiding in the development of local area tourism planning.  Text analysis of review data is also proving valuable, using co-occurrence analysis to uncover insights previously gathered through traditional survey methodology

Interest Statement:
Much is made about the importance of the potential for large quantities of data through the internet.  As researchers, we tend to question data sources and try to understand if the data is representative of a larger population. This evaluation demonstrates the connection between traveller review data and other more traditional data collection methods.  The spatial nature of the data allows for analysis of traveller behaviour at various levels of geography.  Potential uses of traveller review data will be explored including:

The audience will be challenged to think about the actual uses of user generated data and their application for marketing and policy decisions.

Learning Outcomes:
Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) and provincial and national level DMOs in particular face the challenge of not having their own product and customers to market and manage.  As a result DMOs must rely on traditional market research and stakeholder feedback to make important business decision where businesses can rely upon sales data and direct customer feedback.  Traveller review data offers the opportunity for DMOs to listen to customers and understand the tourism business at a more detailed level than through other data sources. Through this session, the presenter anticipates exploring the range of possible uses of this data for a DMO, including

Understanding the challenges involved in analyzing the text of hundreds of thousands of reviews about individual businesses and providing insights for marketing and public policy decisions that DMOs are tasked with managing. 
Ryan Staley
Research Analyst, Destination BC

Ryan Staley has been part of the Research, Planning and Evaluation team of Destination BC since October 2014 and is currently in the Research Analyst position. He received a Master of Arts in Tourism Management at Royal Roads University in 2012 and has a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Transportation science from the University of Calgary. His responsibilities at Destination BC include overseeing the key performance indicators consumer survey, industry trend tracking, program evaluation, economic impact studies, and visitor review monitoring.