The global pandemic has massively impacted the travel and tourism industry across the world, with consumers facing major travel restrictions and cancelling flights and vacations. In these times, turning to data-driven insights seems to be the only way to move forward for marketers in this industry.
In a recent Adverity Bitesize webinar, Tanja Ferner, Marketing Performance & Data Analytics Manager at the Austrian National Tourist Office, talked with Kirsten Ralph, Senior Account Manager at Adverity, about how tracking and analyzing COVID-related data has enabled this organization to pioneer insight-driven initiatives that have helped its industry partners and enabled it to reinvent itself.
Information for Successful Crisis Management
When the pandemic hit, says Tanja, “for us, as a national tourism organization, the very thing that we are promoting just completely disappeared.” The tourist office was forced to halt its international marketing campaigns and change its focus. Meanwhile, industry partners, including hotels and restaurants, were looking to them for direction in the crisis.
They saw that they were in a position to provide information about industry developments, and signs of tourism picking up again. So, they looked at all the data available: indicators that described the current situation and suggested where partners should be preparing for future demand. The datasets included flight activity, social media analysis, holiday bookings, and community mobility reports, among others, which the organization visualized in dashboard form, using Adverity’s intelligent analytics platform.
Keeping an Eye on Global Metrics
One really useful dataset looks at health policy measures across the globe. It incorporates a number of complex metrics, including travel restrictions, public transport, border control, schools and universities, foreign travel, and bars and restaurants. These cover dozens of countries and use a simple traffic light system which is updated daily. Tanja comments that March and April had lots of red and amber, but it was great to see more green lights appear across the metrics over time, as countries lifted their restrictions.
Tanja and Kirsten also discussed how the Austrian National Tourist Office is using a linear chart to track requests and booking trends for the Alpine holiday industry, showing the percentage change from the previous year. Again, this is really useful information for partner organizations, like hotels and resorts, because it enables them to quickly see and understand current trends and anticipate demand.
Tapping into Sentiment Analysis
As well as harder metrics, the organization has also been analyzing its Instagram and Facebook social media channels to find out how people feel about tourism in Austria and the coronavirus in general. Data analysis has enabled them to gauge sentiment by seeing what kind of positive and negative comments people are making, how critical or complimentary they are, and what they’re saying in general. This has helped the team to hone their social media campaigns and engagement.
There are several key takeaways the organization has gained from the data project, including the need to seek new data sources beyond the obvious ones: for example flight information, which they didn’t previously track. This has become a great tool for analyzing the flow of visitors, and for applying forecasting methods based on historical data.
The tourist office has also recognized the benefit of developing in-house data science projects, and the advantage of making decisions and prototyping new initiatives faster - in days rather than months - and these learnings will shape the organization going forward, says Tanja.
As for Adverity, Kirsten says the big takeaway is that the Austrian National Tourist Office has really thought out-of-the-box, and demonstrated the flexibility of the Adverity intelligent analytics platform to go beyond traditional marketing data, and incorporate a broad range of business critical data. At the end of the day, for travel, tourism and other industries, if you have good data analytics capabilities, the sky’s the limit.