PhD students present their findings from TripAdvisor reviews to the analytics team at Universal

February 2, 2018


After almost a year of research, graduate students Wenqui Wei and Shaorui Zhou presented their analysis and findings from TripAdvisor reviews to Justin Gressel, Channel Analytics Manager, and his team at Universal Studios.

“It’s great practice for me to apply the knowledge I get from class and acquire new ideas from the discussions with the Universal team,” Master’s student Shaorui Zhou said. “It also gave me an opportunity to think about Universal’s demands and how I can better present my results.”

Led by Dr. Daniel Fesenmaier, the students analyzed a year’s worth of data from TripAdvisor to determine the effect of positive and negative reviews and to see how that correlates to ticket sales. The students also compared the park’s performance to other theme parks in the area, such as Disney and SeaWorld.

“Universal can better understand their customer in the statistical point of view from our analysis,” Zhou stated. “Some important findings such as the seasonality, the preference of different trip types and the change of rating could help Universal understand how their visitors perceive the park and how they should adapt in the future.”

After the research was presented, Justin led Dr. Craig Schmitt and the visiting group of graduate students around part of Universal Studios for lunch.

“The Universal Project is critical in my master's study,” Master’s student Wenqi Wei. “It was so exciting to take over the project and see it through to completion. The project was an interesting, analytics-focused project. The spatial analysis enabled me to observe theme park visitors' satisfaction globally and the content analysis provided an in-depth look into the guest experience. It was a wonderful trip as we had the chance to understand how one of the best tourism companies operate and how they deal with the challenges from the big data era.”