Decoding the most popular 2017 new year travel destinations using Twitter data mining
Every Ghumr on this planet looks forward to end of year holiday season. So that he/she can take a break from his busy life and celebrate beginning of new year. Ghumr Insights team (aka me and my wife Priyanka) performed this fun data mining exercise on tweets by travelers all over world during holiday season of 2016-17. And we unraveled a lot of interesting insights about how (and where) travelers spent their annual vacation to ring in new year.
The most popular #travel hashtags of 2016 holidays
We analyzed twitter data with tweets which had word travel or #travel during the period from 25th December 2016 (Christmas) until 2nd January 2017. Firstly, we performed hashtag analysis to tease out general travel trends. Here, we carefully removed all hashtags specific to a destination (for ex. #newyork). There were interesting insights we gathered from hashtag analysis alone.
Holiday Season Hashtags: #Christmas, #2016, #2017, #NewYear, #holidays, #vacation
In addition to usual hashtags, we observed a lot of hashtags which express overall mood of all travelers. Hence, there are a lot of tweets during holiday season with ‘love’, ‘thanks’, ‘happy’ emotions. Holiday season is also time for families getting together. Hence, people are tweeting with hashtags #family, #familytravel, #familyvacation.
Similar to Travel: #ttot (Travel Talk on Tuesday), #traveltuesday, #trip, #tourist, #wanderlust #explore #instagram
Of course, these are tweets related to travel. Hence, we observe a lot of hashtags similar to travel such as trip, tourist, wanderlust, explore etc. It is no surprise that people are tweeting a lot of photos especially taken on their Instagram. Because, we observe photography, instragram, travelgram, photo as more frequently used hashtags.
What kind of vacation? #luxury #hiking #adventure #resort #food
Travelers are more indulging in luxury travel (resorts, cruise ships, expensive hotels) during holiday season. Even adventure travelers are tweeting about more expensive indulgences such as snow skiing. Relatively, fewer travelers are tweeting about their backpacking or hiking experiences. I hope it has something to do with network connectivity in the remote areas these explorers were huddled.
Interestingly, food and travel have always been together and it is no surprise, food tweets are most popular amongst travelers. Also, roadtrips will never go out of fashion.
What type of destination? #city #lake #island #snow #nature
It’s a tie between urban vs closer to nature destinations. We observed almost equal number of hashtags with #city, #urban #skyscraper as well as nature-loving tweets with hashtags #nature #lake #landscape.
Islands hold a certain charm for all travelers and will never go out of vogue!
Organic Brand marketing #lp #natgeo
One interesting phenomenon we observed was how strong brands National Geographic and Lonely Planet have emerged. Many travelers are tagging these brands to their tweets to gain recognition. That’s a huge success story for these brands as they are getting synonymous with their industry vertical. A huge shout-out to their branding team.
Top Destinations of 2016 Holiday Season
Now let’s answer the most interesting question of 2016? Which destinations were most popular amongst travelers worldwide? We have answers for you based on our tweet analysis:
New York, New York: Every year, thousands and thousands of travelers visit this amazing, lively city. And almost on everyone’s bucket list is to experience the ball-dropping ceremony at Times Square. Believe me, I have myself been here in 2008 with group of friends and the entire atmosphere is electrifying!
Paris, the city of light offers plenty of ways to say Bonne année! Paris has always been one of the most exciting places to celebrate New Year’s Eve. It is perfect place to party-animals with plenty of clubs and at the same time high-class dining places to pop up bottle of Champagne. It seems its magic never fades away but only grows with time.
Thailand – One of the biggest new year party, the Full Moon Party is hosted here and its obvious travelers flock to this small Asian island nation for fun and party to welcome New Year. This year, there was an unfortunate incident where fireworks rained down on a group of revellers.
Japan is fast catching up as one of the hottest destinations for travelers since 2014. And now, it is emerging as one of the New Year vacation destination for travelers worldwide.
London is for classic traveler who yearns for spending new year on Thames watching fireworks overlooking Big Ben. And there is no paucity of classic travelers!
Sydney, Australia always has hold the reputation of ‘best fireworks in the world’. And travelers visit this port city for fireworks and the grand events which are held at Harbour Bridge and Opera House. This year, Australian city honoured late music legends Prince and David Bowie as well as including a “Willy Wonka moment” for Gene Wilder along with fireworks.
Spain: Featuring spectacular firework displays, live shows, fancy dress parades and beach parties, Spaniards know how to celebrate New Year’s Eve (or Nochevieja). There is interesting tradition of 12 lucky grapes. When the clock strikes midnight, it is tradition to eat 12 lucky grapes (one on every strike) before reveling in the party atmosphere. Madrid, Barcelona, Santa Cruz, Granada and of course Ibiza turn into party cities. No wonder, travelers flocked to this fun-loving nation for New Year’s Eve.
Amsterdam is quintessential ‘Eurotrip’ city for its bohemian atmosphere and liberal laws. The adventurous, young travelers find Amsterdam perfect destination for having their best party of life.
Las Vegas: I have been to Las Vegas New Year’s party in 2012 (The world did not end!!). It is a lot of fun to be part of the Vegas strip reveling in the grandest clubs of the city. Most of the tweets associated with Las Vegas also had to do with #money – travelers gambled a lot it seems this year.
Hong Kong (Macau): Well it is Las Vegas of the East but more grand. It is also rapidly dethroning Thailand from its repute of party destination.
And there were plenty of other places from where travelers ushered in 2017.
Mexico, Dubai, Iceland (Reykjavik), Chicago, Hawaii, Italy, Portugal (Lisbon), Indonesia, Los Angeles, Goa (yes!!) – These are few places which did not make it to Top 10 but were nonetheless ‘it’ places of New Year’s Eve!