We can no longer do without Wi-Fi. In the digital world, infrastructure is always one step behind users. Capri and Amalfi are the top mentioned locations in the Web. The Report by Almawave and EY provides an all-round snapshot of Tourism in the summer of 2016

Rome, 6 October 2016 – A fast and stable WiFi connection is viewed as an invaluable asset for any tourism facility, from the most exclusive resort to the small camping ground. Travellers and holidaymakers can no longer do without and consider it an absolute plus when deciding where to go or stay. This is one of the points emerging from the “digItalyExperience” Report by Almawave and EY, which contains a snapshot of the tourism image of Italy in the world, presented today at EYCapri 2016. The Report is the result of the parallel application of two methods and the integration of the results: firstly, a social media analysis conducted on the users of tourism services, monitoring over 21 million multilingual comments, and secondly a CATI analysis, with interviews and questionnaires returned by 500 tourism operators. The result is a snapshot of the tourism industry in Italy, which is a very precious resource for the national economy, which highlights the digital divide in this sector and how more can be done for promoting and positioning the relevant offering.

Valeria Sandei, CEO of Almawave, and Donato Ferri, Transportation Mediterranean Leader at EY, highlight how the social analytics allow a real-time interpretation of the needs and sentiments of tourists, at various times during their holiday. Over 20 million “conversations” in just over a month are a unique wealth of data for supporting the creation of a new digital tourism offering. This will be decisive, in the future, because – according to the global EY studies – 47% of travellers will select the destination and mode of travel that best represents “who they are” and, therefore, their physical and social identity. Therefore, Big-Data will become the enabler of tourism development, with regard to new forms of predictive marketing, promotions and customized offering, brand reputation, loyalty and service pricing.

The Report is a first step towards the creation of a permanent monitoring hub for tourism demand and supply, a source of information for supporting the decision-making activities of operators and local authorities.

Social Web Analisys. Almawave, AlmavivA Group’s technology innovation company, one of Italy’s top players with an international vocation in the CRM, Big Data, Knowledge Management and Customer Experience sectors, collected over 21 million messages in Twitter and Instagram, between 1 August and 15 September 2016, in Italian (45.9% of the messages) and English (54.1%). Over two thousand concepts and a set of keywords were identified, broken down into over 20 fields of analysis (location, accommodation facilities, events, sports, food & wine, transport and intermodality).
The opinions and perceptions of the travellers regarding their travel experience – expressed spontaneously and without any filters – were extracted from the quantitative and qualitative study of the collected Big Data.
Over 90% of conversations concerned the destination and the narrative of the holiday experience. In 72.9% of cases, social interaction takes place during travel, people tell each other and comment on their experiences in real time, as they unfold: this explains why connectivity is such an important element and the demand for Wi-Fi is so widespread and necessary. Before setting out (24.9% cases of social interaction), the Web is used to collect information and make bookings. After returning home (2.2%), to leave comments and reviews on the various facilities.

Lazio (20.1%), Lombardy (18.8%), Tuscany (11.3%), Veneto (9.4%) and Sicily (8.7%) are the most mentioned regions in the social media sphere. The most mentioned locations in August and September were Capri (9.4%), Amalfi (7%), Cinque Terre (5.2%), Riccione (4.3%) and Rimini (4.2%). The second most-mentioned topic, after locations, was food & wine, with 22.3% of all conversations on tourism in Italy, 60% of them in English.

Other top-mentioned topics in the field of tourism were sports. Users generally express a positive sentiment in 30% of cases, neutral in 68% and negative in only 2%. Watersports, of course, attracted the most interest (51.5%), considering it was summer and the long Italian coastline and numerous lakes means that there’s a lot on offer.

Other trending topics were mobility, transport and intermodality in general, which reveals an expectation of greater interaction among operators and information on integrated services.

The CATI survey. In order to understand the action lines of the tourism offering, in relation to demand, Ernst & Young conducted a CATI survey on a sample of 500 tourism operators, in the fields of catering, hospitality and services, between 1 August and 15 September.

The survey has revealed that 80% of all interviewees believe that client reviews play a fundamental role in guiding the choice of other travellers, but only 5% and 7% of them actually have a Twitter or Instagram account, respectively (this value rises to 51% in the case of Facebook) and only 10% of them expect to invest in online advertising.

While 55% of operators declare that they have a Wi-Fi connection – which is a key issue in traveller expectations – traditional communication tools seem still to prevail for interacting with clients or promotional purposes. Therefore, the percentage of use of social media for these purposes stops at 34%, 18% of facilities use WhatsApp, and only 9% use Internet advertising services. The propensity to invest in digital solutions is still very low among operators: only 7% are thinking of setting up a booking service directly in their website, 9% intend to open a social media account, and 10% are prepared to employ digital services to measure customer satisfaction.

The situation improves in the case of transport operators. The large transportation companies, in fact, and the local authorities are moving towards greater and greater integration and intermodal transport, responding to the need for modern and sustainable mobility services.

See an overview of the presentation: “digItalyExperience: Big Data in digital tourism