Do we know how the current weather, if it’s sunny or rainy, can affect us when making travel plans? As the important Easter holiday in Spain, Semana Santa, approaches the Spanish companies Destinia and digitalmeteo carried out a study to analyze the behaviour of tourists at the precise moment the travel booking is made, to answer this question.
- digitalmeteo and Destinia join forces in the creation of an innovative study demonstrating that rain is the most influential factor when it comes to selecting a holiday destination: the probability a sun and surf location is chosen triples if it is raining at the time the booking is made.
- The study crosses Big Data and machine learning to anticipate travel preferences given the meteorology of the respective city at the precise moment of the booking.
- The study proves that weather has a direct impact on the tourism industry where, in the near future, personalized travel packages can be suggested, something yet to be offered in the industry.
The principal finding of the study is that the weather directly influences travel bookings, not only in the destination choice, however also in the traveller’s motivations given their point of origin. Actually the four most popular beach destinations chosen by travellers in a scenario without rain triple in probability of being selected if it is raining at the time the booking is being made.
To carry out the study, Destinia, one of the largest online travel agencies in Spain, provided a database of 55,000 Easter holiday bookings made by Spanish travellers over the past five years, while digitalmeteo provided the technology, a combination of Big Data and machine learning, to create a tool to predict travel tendencies based on the data provided.
The study focuses on four representative cities in Spain: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville. The findings show the probability that a potential traveller will book a destination in function of the context in which they are momentarily within: place of origin, time in advance of planned travel, if travelling with a family or not, rain level and temperature. Neither booking price, nor gender were taken into consideration for the study.
The project by digitalmeteo and Destinia delves into the fact that the weather not only impacts tourism at the destination location, however it also influences a determining prior phase, which is the selection and purchase of the trip. Therefore, the study demonstrates that the atmospheric environment is a powerful predictor, with direct application within the tourism industry.
“The collaborative study provides insights into an even earlier step of the travel experience to better understand our customers and advances what we are all interested in: personalization. To be capable of offering, in a very near future, destinations that are the most interesting to our travellers, not only due to price or previous preferences, however also in function of other variables such as weather, which could become an extremely influential factor in the booking decision”, notes Beatriz Oficialdegui, Director of Marketing at Destinia.
“Our objective is to provide Destinia with technology capable of analyzing the provided information to detect common traveller behaviour patterns to predict their preferences and offer them the product that has the greatest probability of being booked. In doing so, in addition to increased sales, we improve the user experience, facilitating the purchase”, assures Emilio Rey, CEO of digitalmeteo.
Whether rain or shine, Benidorm is the top destination!
The data shows that temperature is a less important factor influencing booking decisions for the Easter holiday than rain. When hardly a variation in the results could be seen while selecting extreme temperatures, the study was based in function of the average temperature recorded over the last five years in the selected origin city during the weeks prior to Easter week. Considering the temperature and rainfall – rain is considered a precipitation of 2mm/hour – at the moment the booking was made from six different cities of origin, the results demonstrate clear tendencies. Benidorm is the top positioned destination in every atmospheric environment and for every point of origin analyzed.
Travel by family profiles that book from Madrid for Easter week tend toward the province of Alicante and the probability of booking increases with greater levels of rain: going from 15% at 15 days prior to departure without rainfall in Madrid to 41% if the booking is made while it’s raining. And just three days prior to Easter Sunday, the probability of booking increases from 8% to 35% if it is raining in the city of origin at the time the booking is made.
The Levante Coast is also the most popular destination for Valencia locals when it rains, given the probability of selection for families goes from 30% if it is not raining to 60% as the Easter holiday approaches. At the top of the list are destinations such as Peniscola, Benidorm and Denia. For travellers without children, visiting Madrid is a viable option if it is raining when the booking is made.
Those from Barcelona are the travellers who stay closest to home –destinations within Catalonia– independent of whether or not it is raining in the city at the time of travel booking. At three days prior to Easter week, travellers with children prefer the province of Gerona (28%) if it is not raining and the province of Tarragona (30%) if it is raining.
Tourists from Seville who travel without children, choose destinations such as neighbouring Portugal (17%) if it rains while booking, however on the contrary if it is sunny, they select the province of Malaga (Torremolinos or Fuengirola).
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