As the business press keeps recounting a brutal 2020 for air travel and lodgings, we’ve heard somewhat less about the woes of destination marketing organizations (DMOs), which are responsible for getting people to choose Paris over Rome, or India over Indonesia, and then book accordingly.

So dire is the situation for much-needed tourism dollars in destinations worldwide that travel guidance platform Tripadvisor is partnering with Vancouver-based firm Think! X Innovations and the live version of the latter’s Tourism Sentiment Index (TSI), with the goal of reviving travel experiences.

Per a Tripadvisor announcement on Thursday (Feb. 25), “this offering is part of Tripadvisor’s wider suite of data intelligence products for DMOs, known as the Tripadvisor Insights Platform. The live dashboard provides clients with essential word-of-mouth insights about destinations, combining Tripadvisor’s unmatched reach and traveler behavior insights with Tourism Sentiment Index’s industry-leading sentiment technology.”

The Tripadvisor Insights initiative provides data-rich dashboard views, allowing DMOs to “quantify [the] total economic impact” of tourism expenses, a “tool for proving ROI or spend for your clients,” married with “competitive data and … baseline trends.” The dashboards are designed to give DMOs “overall visibility and intent amongst Tripadvisor’s travel enthusiast community,” serving as a representative sample of the larger traveling public.

‘Sentiment’ Gains New Cachet as Travel Marketing Metric

Analyzing large datasets for consumer sentiment is one way that DMOs can use digital marketing to connect at the individual level with consumers who display buying signals.

“The new sentiment dashboard for DMOs uplevels the service offering of the Tripadvisor Insights Platform by providing clients with daily actionable intelligence, using insights from across 50 tourism touch points — including air access, accommodations and attractions,” per the statement. “The dashboard’s analytics are drawn from real-time conversations across half a million platforms, including Tripadvisor. Sentiment toward destinations and travel contribute to an overall score that reveals a destination’s popularity versus competitors, enabling them to update campaigns, product offerings and messaging faster and more effectively.”

Of its TSI Live dashboard, Think! X Innovations said: “We have combined our deep experience in destination marketing with artificial intelligence and applied it to hundreds of thousands of conversations to develop a method for finding and categorizing content into three categories: promoter, passive and detractor. Understanding the roles of communication patterns, like frequency and distribution, we classify content and analyze it with a view calibrated specifically to tourism-based conversations.”

TSI claims to be able to “detect and calculate nuances, including sarcasm.” That’s useful data to destination marketers dealing with a traveling public still quite unnerved about COVID.

Using Rich Data to Put Heads in Beds

Ever-richer datasets are becoming a crucial method for connecting would-be travelers with experiences, even as the interminable pandemic purgatory stretches into 2021.

As PYMNTS reported in February, “Airbnb is now offering flexible travel options based on location instead of specific travel dates, a solution the company said should appeal to people who will continue working from home in the near future.”

Airbnb’s new Flexible Dates feature enables new types of rental searches for Generation COVID, and, per the company’s statement, the feature “allows [travelers] to search for homes in a whole new way. Instead of selecting exact dates at the beginning of a search, guests can search for new options like a weekend getaway, a week-long vacation or even a month-long or months-long stay. This will allow them to browse more options while staying flexible on the exact dates of their trip to make their trip fit with their schedules.”

TripAdvisor Group Head of Destination Marketing Americas Steven Paganelli said that DMOs “need data and business intelligence tools to help maximize competitiveness and drive recovery in the wake of COVID-19. This live dashboard puts actionable insights at DMOs’ fingertips to help them make more informed and strategic marketing and media placement decisions. For example, being able to understand travelers’ readiness to travel in real time helps DMOs update their marketing with the most effective messaging, therefore, getting the most impactful message in front of the right people, at the right time.”

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