Hawaii in front of a communication crisis

The interest to visit the archipelago and the bookings suffer a remarkable fall despite that the situation doesn’t involve risks for the tourists.

The recent eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Island and, above all, the great repercussion that it’s having in the media, show the importance of communication management to maintain the tourists’ confidence.

Although the area affected by the eruption comprises only the 0,2% of Hawaii island’s territory (the biggest of the 19 islands that form the archipelago), the bookings’ fall is being very sharp, and affects the entire archipelago.

In recent weeks, Hawaiian tourism authorities have rushed to officially confirm that there’s no risk travelling to any of the islands, and that the entire tourism sector operates normally (flights, hotels, venues, etc.) with the exception of two thirds of the island’s National Volcanic Park. But reality is that more than 220 million dollars in losses are already accounted in the sector.

Flight searches for the state of Hawaii from the US west coast have fallen by 21%, and global bookings by around 10% according to the main OTAs and GDSs, being these falls much more pronounced in some specific markets. Could Hawaii have reacted before and in a more concrete way to mitigate the blow?

The management and correct analysis of the currently available large amount of data allow us to understand the users’ perceptions, to measure different sensitivities and detect specific communication needs for each market. Thus, the Tourism Intelligence platform created by Mabrian Technologies counts with a Climate Perception index, among other KPIs, that allow to understand different sentiment patterns between markets, in front of the same event.

Taking as an example the analysis of the more than 900 thousand tourist mentions for Hawaii registered in Social Media between May 1 and June 7 2018, and the same period of the previous year, we can extract a very useful knowledge for this type of crisis’ management.

At first glance, we detect a drastic general fall of the Climate Perception Index (PCi), which at the same time drags the other destination’s key indexes: Tourist Product Satisfaction index (PTi), Security Perception index (PSi) and Global Satisfaction index (GTPi) with the destination.

By making a more accurate and segmented analysis of the main origin markets for the destination, we can observe clear sensitivity differences. Thus, we see that Canadian and British are the most sensitive to the event, while Australian and American show a less intense reaction. For their part, Japanese are the market that shows less concern for the situation, very possibly due to less exposure from their local media.

This sensitivity degree also indicates different confidence recovery rates, marking the need to act first and more intensely on those who need it most. Thus, in the next graph of the Climate Perception (PCi) temporal evolution, we can observe that, despite showing a similar sensitivity degree Canadians and British, it is the latter who take more time to start confidence recovery (about 19 days).

On the contrary, Japanese recover the confidence level to the values prior to the initial announcement of the event in just 4 days.

 

In such a connected environment, in which it’s impossible to control the information overflow generated by the media, it’s essential to count with advanced analysis tools that, based on the available data and Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence technics, help us to act more agile and concentrate the efforts and resources where they are necessary for the management of critical situations. In fact, this is the second security issue in terms of tourism that  Hawaii has suffered in the last six months, after the missile alert occurred last January (see post related here).

 

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