Americans Plan More Memorial Weekend Getaways, Tweets & Blogs Say
More people nationwide are taking Memorial Day weekend trips this year compared with last year, despite the dramatic rise in gas prices during the past six months, according to a study that tracked and analyzed blog posts, Tweets, news sites and social media in the United States.
Conducted by IBM Research and IBM Global Business Services, analytics software scanned thousands of public social media postings relating to travel and Memorial Day over the past six months and discovered more people are staying with their original plans this year.
The data, which identified more than 11,500 individual references to travel and Memorial Day, revealed that 1.6 percent of posts in the 2011 period discussed canceling Memorial Day trips versus 2.8 percent in 2010.
Although Memorial Day discussions in 2010 tended to focus on the overall cost of travel, which included driving, hotels and entertainment, talk about the weekend in 2011 centered on the holiday itself.
Even though gas prices are still climbing, discussion about gas this year has not been much higher than last year.
"As a marketplace of ideas and opinions, the Web can appear raucous and chaotic at times, but there is insight contained in all that data," said Kerrie Holley, IBM fellow and chief technology officer of IBM Global Business Services. "A better understanding of what people are saying online can help retailers , hoteliers, transportation officials and others with the extremely complicated process of forecasting demand."