Social Pulse: The Ease of Summer Travel (Clarabridge’s Effort Score)

By: Nicole Martin, MPH

July 10, 2020

Clarabridge Analytics
Clarabridge Engage
Customer Effort
Social Media

Using Clarabridge’s effort score, airline review data displays the current state of travel.

As summer bursts into full swing, many Americans debate their travel plans as a result of COVID-19. With uncertainty around air travel, airline review data online provides vignettes of experiences showing how travel has changed since COVID-19. Using Clarabridge’s Natural Language Understanding (NLU), we assessed how new protocols and policies change the difficulty or ease of airline travel.

The Findings

Effort, a Clarabridge metric, uses machine-learning to understand the energy customers have to exert across each stage of the customer journey.


About the Scale: -5 to +5
Clarabridge’s Effort metric provides insight into how easy or difficult
a person describes an experience.

Date of Data Pull: 6/22/2020 7:31AM
Source: TripAdvisor, API Connectors
Current Volume: 1,494
Date Range: March 12, 2020 to June 22, 2020



The average effort score across airline reviews, -1.23, shows individuals experiencing difficulty in their travel experiences from March to late June. To understand the shift in effort, below shows a trend in effort from January 1, 2020 to June 22, 2020.


Figure 1: Trend in Effort Year to Date

Figure 1: Above shows the decline in ease of travel year to date across TripAdvisor reviews.

Ease of travel decreases over time compared to pre-COVID experiences. Clarabridge models categorize the topics of conversation in which TripAdvisor users express difficult experiences.


Figure 2: Topics Discussed by Effort

Figure 2: Above shows the top topics discussed within TripAdvisor reviews driving hard effort.

Social and physical distancing, a new part of the travel experience, drives difficulty for customers as they try to fly. One of the top friction points within social distancing includes the enforcement of protocols and mismatches between official communications and the in-person experience. Social distancing overlaps with crew attitude and communication, creating difficulty for nervous consumers (as analyzed throughout the social pulse series).

When customer expectation is unmet, it creates a negative experience. In the aftermath of COVID disruptions, an unmet expectation can directly impact an individual’s ability to feel at ease, creating a sense of concern and difficulty across their journey. As seen with social distancing, customers want to experience follow-through on communicated policies. Understanding effort provides key information for companies navigating experience changes and maintaining customer loyalty. Effort is a leading indicator of customer loyalty that translates directly to revenue (I’ll add a cross-link to a webinar we did on this topic). Looking at this in the context of online airline reviews within the last 30 days, customers who would recommend their airline expressed easy effort compared to those who would not recommend and expressing a high level of effort.

Figure 3: Would Recommend by Effort in the Last 30 Days

Figure 3: Above shows effort by whether or not an individual would recommend the airline over the past thirty days. Individuals that would recommend expressed easy experiences while those that would not recommend expressed difficult experiences.

Creating an effortless experience amidst new protocols directlybenefits companies. Consumers search and contribute to social platforms, including online rating sites such as TripAdvisor and social media channels such as Twitter, to set their expectations and rant or rave about their experiences. Companies that measure and trend the effort expressed by customers using online review and social media data will reap the benefits of having early indicators of loyalty or churn risk.

A pandemic is never a reason to stop piano practice, a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor continues piano lessons via FaceTime.

What’s Next

As summer continues, we will look at attitudes of Americans regarding vacationing. I will begin to further explore how to analyze Twitter and online review data together to create a more holistic picture of a summer travel experience as companies roll out new policies. Together, we will begin to understand what makes an easy experience in this new summer travel landscape.


Learn More:
View the Complete Social Pulse Series

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Nicole Martin is currently a consultant at Clarabridge. Prior to Clarabridge, Nicole received her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from The George Washington University. During her time at GW, Nicole wrote her graduate paper on sexuality, sexual behavior, and mental health. In addition, Nicole taught as a Graduate Assistant for the Biostatistics Department at The George Washington University. During her time at Clarabridge, Nicole has worked with healthcare accounts to enrich their analytic capabilities, created customer journey maps for property and casualty insurance companies, and continued to support innovation for clients across various industry verticals.

Social Pulse series title image
About The Social Pulse Series

Clarabridge has embarked on an independent research project to actively analyze the “emotional pulse” of social media users worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort’s main goal is to assess how people are feeling using Clarabridge’s Natural Language Understanding to glean insights from millions of unstructured data records. We hope to inform the public, provide insights to the scientific community and educate Clarabridge customers. The analyses in this series leverages Twitter data collected beginning March 12th using keywords such as “coronavirus,” “covid19”, and “covid-19” from Twitter. We continue to refine data collection and models as the situation evolves.

The Social Pulse Series Archive 
Clarabridge COVID-19 Command Center 

Questions about Coronavirus? Check out the following:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Directory of Local Health Departments