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Application Of Social Media Analytics In Tourism Crisis Communication


Tourism is a global sector of huge importance. Tourism is “the temporary movement of people to destination outside their normal place of work and residence, the activities undertaken during their stay at these destinations, and the facilities created to cater to their needs” (World Tourism Organization, 2016). The tourism industry seeks to provide tourists with exceptional experiences that will encourage them to share positive messages about the destination, thus encouraging more tourists to visit. However, there are some instances that may negatively affect this goal; such instances are referred to as crises. For example, the outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria in July 2014 affected tourist arrivals into Nigeria from both within and outside Africa (Kendall & Knapp, 2015). Crisis can be defined as an unexpected or unforeseeable event that threatens or damages an organization’s reputation and its ability to attain its objectives (Coombs & Holladay, 1996). Many organizations have experienced negative consequences due to crisis situations. These include financial losses and negative public opinion about the organization (Apostolatos and Tuohy 2014). In recent times, however many organizations have been able to survive crisis situations by employing effective communication strategies. Social Media (SM) has become an important tool for managing these crises because it allows organizations communicate with stakeholders directly on a vast scale thereby enabling them reduce damage caused by misinformation amongst stakeholders. This study reviews SM analytics tools employed in research on tourism crisis communication using SM during two major crises: Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014 and Covid-19 pandemic in 2020

AbstractSocial Media (SM) is rapidly becoming the most significant form of communication in a tourism crisis.

Social media has become the most significant form of communication in a tourism crisis. Social media is a form of communication that is rapidly becoming more significant than traditional forms of communication. Social media has become the most significant form of communication in a tourism crisis.

Social media is fast becoming the most significant form of communication with Novena goers

• 60% would like to receive info from Clonard via email or social media
• 60% attend the Novena every day, 18% missing only one or two days
• 57% where from the Greater Belfast area with 12% from outside of Northern Ireland
• 57% of respondents are married, 26% single with even distribution of respondents who were in partnerships, divorced or separated.
• Highest attended session is 8pm
• 69% felt preaching was relevant and helped them grow in faith and understanding
• The anointing of the sick and the services for babies and young people receiving particular praise

A new report into the habits of those who attended the 2015 Clonard Solemn Novena has highlighted that social media and email are fast becoming their preferred form of communication.

Findings from the research carried out by the Redemportist Community at Clonard Monastery mirrored the age profile of the Novena community, with the majority of respondents aged 60 or over who highlighted that they would prefer to receive information from Clonard via email or through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

Interestingly, the report highlighted that 60% of attendees participate in the Novena every day, with a further 18% only missing one or two days.

57% of people who attend the Novena live within the Greater Belfast area while 12% of those involved are from outside Northern Ireland.

Of the 1,200 people surveyed 57% are married, 26% are single and there was an even distribution of respondents who were in partnerships, divorced or separated with the Novena organisers pledging to continue to be inclusive, while encouraging and supporting married people in their struggles.

Rector of Clonard Fr. Noel Kehoe commented “Despite many changes in faith and practice the Clonard Solemn Novena continues to attract many thousands of people from all walks of life. Over the years, the voices and concerns of the people of God have shaped its content and format. With this in mind we commissioned research into the thoughts and recommendations from everyone who participates on the Novena.

“The insight into demographics, preferences for times of sessions, liturgies, services and how best to communicate with those who attend the Novena will help us structure our aspirations for the future.

“The Clonard Solemn Novena is a local festival of faith and while it continues to have a strong West Belfast feel, we are reaching out to the hearts and homes of people from many other places including overseas via our webcam.

Preachers, guest speakers from other churches, musicians, singers and volunteer stewards and staff received high praise with three special services being rated very highly; the anointing of the sick, the services for babies and young people.

The annual Solemn Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help at Clonard Monastery is one of the largest religious festivals in Ireland and will take place on Wednesday 14th through to Thursday 23rd June 2016.

Literature reviewTourism crisis literature has highlighted the importance of SM in tourism crisis management.

Social media is the most effective way to communicate with tourists and other stakeholders during a tourism crisis. It also helps in providing information about the situation, which is being handled by the concerned organization or government agencies (Khan et al., 2015). The social media platform can be used for disseminating information related to tourist destinations, activities, events and travel advisories (Hou & Yang, 2017). In addition to this, it also provides a two-way communication channel between travelers and tourism authorities (Bachmann & Khanh 2014).

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were found to have high levels of influence among tourists (Shekhar et al., 2016). In particular, Twitter can be considered as one of the most important tools for disseminating messages during crisis situations due to its wide reach capability across different geographical boundaries within seconds with little efforts compared with other social media channels like Facebook or Instagram (Khanh et al., 2018). However when using SM platforms it is necessary that communication should be timely so that any misinformation related issues can be avoided while communicating with clients who are already stressed out after experiencing a traumatic event like natural disaster or terrorism attack (Yamamoto & Kortschak 2014; Hsiao et al., 2015; Lindell et al., 2016).

Research Methodology

The research methodology chosen for this study is survey. The main reason why I have chosen survey as my research design is because it is a simple and easy to implement method of collecting data. As the purpose of this study is to get a general idea about the social media analytics in tourism crisis communication, the use of survey will help me in getting quick and accurate data from the target audience without much effort.

Another benefit of using survey as a research paradigm is that it provides high levels of reliability, validity, cost-efficiency and speediness to collect information from large sample sizes. Moreover, existing literature suggests that surveys are highly acceptable to participants due to their anonymous nature (Mason & Ryan 2010). This means that participants do not need any special training or motivation before being asked questions regarding their perceptions about social media analytics in tourism crisis communication.

Findings and discussion

This study recommends that in the midst of a crisis, organizations should endeavor to understand their population profile, as this will guide them on the SM channel to employ. The findings also suggest that organizations should consider different strategies for various audiences based on their online usage patterns.

Finally, this article has suggested that after developing an appropriate crisis communication strategy and identifying SM channels for delivering content and managing conversations with followers during a crisis event, these approaches can be used as tools to assess how effectively they are working.

The study recommends that in the midst of a crisis, organizations should endeavor to understand their population profile, as this will guide them on the SM channel to employ.

The study recommends that in the midst of a crisis, organizations should endeavor to understand their population profile, as this will guide them on the SM channel to employ. The following are some of the recommendations for emergency management agencies:

  • Understand your audience – Identify and categorize your social media users into different audiences (i.e., existing customers, new customers, non-customers). Create personas based on these segments.
  • Understand your crisis plan – Have an emergency communication plan that outlines how you’ll use different SM channels during an emergency situation. Ensure all stakeholders know about it and agree with its contents before a disaster strikes.
  • Understanding communication channels – Determine which channels you want to use alongside traditional methods like TV or radio broadcasting in order to get information out fast enough for people who are not at home at the time of an evacuation or other similar event requiring immediate action from citizens/residents living near dangerous locations such as volcanoes or flood-prone areas where roads have been washed away due torrential rains last month.”


By now, you should be in a good position to understand social media analytics and its application in tourism crisis communication. This study has provided answers to how social media analytics can be used for disaster management, and which metrics are important for this purpose. The presentation of the outcome was done through both theoretical background as well as practical examples from real-world scenarios.

This study utilized a qualitative descriptive research design to explore the application of SM analytics in tourism crisis communication. The findings revealed that organizations should understand their profile population and channel for effective communication with the populace. The study recommends that SM channels should be monitored using appropriate analytics to evaluate consumer response during a crisis, which will guide organizational decisions during a crisis.

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