According to a social media study done by IBM, London and Goa have been voted as the top trending holiday destinations for international and domestic travel respectively in 2013. The results of the study based on the outcome of 2,50,000 online conversations, further revealed that  travel and hospitality was trending as high as 33% of all social conversations tracked.

The study was done to measure and understand consumer views around the holiday travel season in India from the period of September 1 to December 12 in 2013. IBM used IBM Social Sentiment Index for tracking social conversations that combines analytics and natural language processing technologies to gauge consumer public opinions from Twitter, blogs, message boards and other social media.

Other facts revealed by the study are:

1. The IBM ‘Desire Ratio,’ which is the proportion of positive versus negative comments, indicated that 59% of people were looking forward to taking a vacation in December.

2. International destinations received the most buzz with 32% on all social media channels. London was the most mentioned destination city, while Thailand emerged as the most recurring country in social conversations.

3. ‘Destinations’ emerged as the dominant theme being discussed and positive sentiment associated with ‘luxury destinations’ also showed a huge surge.

4. People’s choices for travel and vacation destinations primarily revolved around service and experience, while price was a key driver when it came to hospitality and travel agents.

Recently, TripBarometer Mobile and Social survey shared that Indians (96%) were not only ranked above the global average of 87% for using mobile devices while on holiday, but they also bragged the most on social media about their trip.

Besides more than a third of Indians (37%) admitted to showing off on social media about their holiday. Of these, 14% said they do it to make their friends jealous while 23% said it wouldn’t be a holiday unless their friends know about it. Globally, only 19% of travellers use social media channels for these two purposes combined.

The IBM study is a good indicator of the changing consumer preferences, one that should not be overlooked by travel companies in the country.

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Prasant Naidu

Founder and Editor at Lighthouse Insights.

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