Last year’s Rugby World Cup attracted fans from around the globe to visit host Japan, but how did they plan their trip, and what can travel operators learn from their behaviour. A new report takes a detailed look…

Search and travel trends: How rugby fans planned their trips for the World Cup

Travel data co-op ADARA, has released a new report on the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The report analyses the travel behaviours of rugby fans from the major rugby countries (Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay and South Africa) during the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The report shows the impact of Rugby World Cup success on fans from individual countries. For example it found that searches for flights to Japan from the UK were 65 times the September average after England’s semi-final win.

With Japan hosting the Olympics later this year, the report sheds light on how Team GB’s success will impact travel habits.

The report is based on Japan inbound flight searches and booking data during the 2019 Rugby World Cup period (20 September - 2 November), from the major rugby countries.

Significant increase in percentage of travellers visiting from some of the major rugby countries during the competition based on flight bookings

Travellers from the major rugby countries usually account for 5% to 20% of inbound visitors to Japan. However, the percentage jumped to over 30% right before the start of the pool stage on 20 September, and to almost 40% right before the finals on 2 November.

Flight booking period

59.2% of flight bookings were made right before (1 September – 19 September) and during the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Following England and South Africa’s advancements to the finals on 26 and 27 October, search volumes for flights to Tokyo that are in time for the finals spiked dramatically - search volumes for flights from the United Kingdom and South Africa increased 65 times and 73 times the September average respectively.

Trip duration by booking period

Travellers who booked their flights further in advance stayed in Japan for a longer period of time. However, 60.5% of those who booked their flights after the pool stage stayed less than seven days, suggesting that they were only there to watch the Rugby World Cup.

Elite traveller percentage by booking period

Travellers who booked flights further in advance before the pool stage were more likely to be elite travellers.

Those who booked during and after the pool stage were also more likely to be elite travellers as compared to those who booked their flights in August or September, before the pool stage.

Findings similarly indicate a correlation between the higher costs of airfares and the likelihood of travellers being of elite status during the same time periods.

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics right around the corner, ADARA’s role as a data marketing partner for the travel industry will continue to contribute to the advancement of tourism marketing in Japan.

For more information, download the 2019 Rugby World Cup fan travel insights report here.

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