A company that takes a deep dive into social media conversations and
their impact on travel destinations has come up with a surprise finding.
More than shopping, more than culture, more than lodging, more than
sustainability, gastronomy is the biggest drawcard for those planning a
Olivier Henry-Biabaud is chief executive of Brussels-based TCI
Research, whose Travelsat research programme monitors social
conversation tracks to discover what people are saying online about
destinations and travel brands – both positive and negative.
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“It is essential for DMOs and marketers to map what
travel and tourism themes are on the rise and driving positivity,” said
Henry-Biabaud, who recently spoke at PATA’s webinar looking at ‘Key
Drivers of Tourism Resilience and Recovery for Asia Pacific Travel’.
“Trust is fuelled massively by what is what is shared online, what is
discussed, how destinations are portrayed, in all the social sources.”
He added: “Sentiment is not predictive alone of travellers’ planning,
but a positive e-reputation is essential to generate favourability
towards destinations and travel brands, particularly in a post-crisis
Food-related attractions are a big topic in social conversations. Here Singapore’s Museum of Ice Cream.
Positive social conversation tracks monitored by Travelsat centred
around food diversity that encouraged tourists to book tours;
celebrations around traditional ingredients; food and wine shows, and
“Anything DMOs can do to promote gastronomy will be a major benefit to the destination,” Henry-Biabaud added.
Travelsat’s monitoring of online chat showed that Asia Pacific
destinations have outshone other parts of the world in travel recovery
and much of that revival has been driven by social conversations.
Next to gastronomy, other positive social conversations were related
to events — themed events and exhibitions, pop concerts, sports events
and music awards.
Also, a popular conversion topic post-pandemic was nature and outdoor
experiences, particularly activities that allowed people to reconnect
and the outdoors are very much resonating with the concept of a
country's responsible travel,” said Henry-Biabaud. “People are choosing a
slow kind of tourism that is respectful to nature.
“People are also sharing their classic road trips, or train trips, commenting on their slow travel connecting with nature.”
Culture, lodging, and shopping were less discussed on social media,
with shopping favoured more by wealthy shoppers. Wellness and
sustainability were barely discussed.