“digItalyExperience: tourism in Italy in the Big Data era”, an Almawave social research project, has analysed the views of travellers in 18 million online conversations. Instagram overtakes Twitter and Campania and Sicily gain more attention. Tourists on the lookout for quality

Rome, 5 October 2017 – Digital transforms tourism. Interest in shared accommodation is becoming increasingly popular, increasing 7% compared to 2016. Connectivity is crucial: 78% of social network posts take place during travels and have an impact on choices. These are some of the significant findings of “digItalyExperience”, the second edition of the report on the tourism image of Italy in the world. The project, presented at EYCapri 2017, was developed by Almawave, the technological innovation company of the AlmavivA Group and one of Italy’s leading international players in CRM, Big Data, Knowledge Management and Customer Experience services.

The report, based on of a social web analysis of users of tourism services, monitored over 18 million comments in Italian and English and identified over 2 thousand concepts relating to 30 topics in the tourism ecosystem; a vibrant snapshot of a precious resource for our economy, where the standout themes are sustainable tourism associated with the demand for Italian excellence, especially in the area of food and wine. Prevalent themes during travel are the search for emotional experiences and integrated offers: adventure sports packages, educational or creative activities (cookery courses or wine tasting paired with discovery of the local area). But foreign visitors also want luxury and choose the Bel Paese as the setting for their fairytale weddings.

As Almawave CEO Valeria Sandei emphasises, “The digital tourism offer is strategic because travel choices are made in real time, accessing the web and sharing emotions; and indeed it’s true that 78% of social network conversations about places and destinations happen during the experience. In the Tourism 4.0 era, social channels help you to find information on already visited places and to make decisions based on quality. The analytics allow us to monitor the needs and feelings of tourists through the various stages of the trip, and help contribute to the development of offers and services”.

INSTAGRAM OVERTAKES TWITTER The analysis collected conversations on Twitter and Instagram – 54% in Italian and 46% in English – taking place between 1 August to 15 September. It emerged that Instagram use was higher, with posts increasing by 3% over 2016.

FOOD AND WINE IN POLE POSITION As well as posting information or photos of places (55.3%) much more often than accommodation facilities (13.9%), travellers kept their attention focused squarely on Italian food and wines (19.5%). Data for Campania and Sicily sees the regions cited more frequently in the summer 2017, with respective increases of 5 % and 3 % over 2016. Sicily in particular enjoyed a boom in English language posts: the total of conversations regarding the island increased from 24% last year to 57% in 2017.

ALTERNATIVE MOBILITY Attracts rural, environmental and sustainable tourism. There was an increase in searches for shared transport, and appreciative interest in alternative mobility offers of Milan and Florence. A warm welcome was given both to bike sharing and improved high speed rail services to the South of Italy and Puglia in particular.

HISTORIC AND CULTURAL CITIES Rome emerged as the top city in these conversations with an 18.9% share of comments, which were strongly split between love for the beauty of the places (monuments, events and trattorias) and disappointment with facilities (services, transport and safety). Milan and Venice shared second place (13.6% of citations), with positive comments clearly prevalent. The most-liked aspects of the Lombard capital were its creative aspects (fashion, architecture and design), innovation and functionality, while air quality was less appreciated. Venice was praised for the unique charm of its canals and gondolas, but there were also negative comments on the assault of hit and run tourists and gargantuan cruise ships.

Read an abstract of the “Tourism 4.0” analysis