2022 has been referred to as “the year of recovery” for the tourism industry. Despite record-high inflation, our data indicates this prediction will likely come true. On social media, conversations about travel have increased by 30% over the last 6 months, compared to the same period in 2021 (10,353,200 vs. 13,433,778 mentions). To learn more about consumers’ growing desire to travel, Ipsos Spain experts tracked online mentions geolocated in the country’s top source markets for tourism: UK, France, Germany, and Italy. Here’s what we found:

1. Spain is a top travel destination for Italians

Across the four countries, Italians mention travel to Spain the most (8% of the country’s conversation volume), followed by Germany (6%). In the first half of 2022, more than 500k users mentioned Spain in conversations about tourism. Thanks to social intelligence, this data is critical for uncovering what motivates (or discourages) travelers from visiting particular locations – and improving marketing strategies, for example.

2. Compared to 2021, mentions of travel to Spain are increasing

In absolute terms, the English have the highest raw number of mentions of Spain as a holiday destination – and this figure has increased compared to 2021. In Italy and Germany, mentions of Spain have decreased year-over-year. For tourism teams, in-depth analysis of online conversations provides context for these fluctuations. Plus, combining social data with other travel data could help predict future behaviors.

3. Travelers to Spain are more interested in the beach than the mountains

When tourists from Germany, Italy, France, and the UK talk about Spain, it’s all sunshine and sandy beaches. Sixty eight percent of posts mention the beach or watersports, while only 32% mention Spain’s mountains. Yet this data only scratches the surface; we can use social intelligence to identify which specific locations are top of mind and identify the top levers to pull to turn aspirational conversations into real trips.

4. Madrid, Cataluña, Andalucía, and Valencia are the most talked about destinations

When residents of Spain’s top source markets for tourism talk about the country, Madrid (71,517 mentions) and Cataluña (59,573 mentions) top the charts. The Balearic Islands, home to popular travel destination Ibiza, are also among the most discussed travel spots – well-ahead of the Canary Islands, which have nearly 17,000 fewer mentions.

5. Cataluña is most discussed by UK users in London, Manchester, and Glasgow

With the Synthesio platform, we can geolocate social posts to see the countries, regions, and cities users live in. In the UK, for example, mentions of travel to Cataluña come mostly from users in London, Manchester, and Glasgow. This kind of knowledge enables tourism teams to narrow their marketing efforts to their top markets.

6. Planes are the top transportation method for visitors

Though most travelers talk about visiting Spain by plane, there are key nuances across countries. France, for example, cites cars (54%) more than planes (27%). Germans, though they mention plane travel the most, have the highest percentage of train mentions (20%) – likely related to the energy-saving measures implemented by the German government.

7. Hotels are the most mentioned lodging option (by a landslide!)

When it comes to where to stay on vacation, hotels are the clear winner. Online conversations are mostly comprised of users sharing their experiences and reviews of hotels and other tourist complexes (a rich source of customer satisfaction insight!).

As more of us return to travel, tracking social data is critical to understanding motivations, preferences, and behaviors – and anticipating demand! Want to learn what consumers are saying about your market or brand? Request a demo with our team of experts.