Enabling active visitor management: local, short-term occupancy prediction at a touristic point of interest

Jessica Bollenbach, Stefan Neubig, Andreas Hein, Robert Keller, Helmut Krcmar

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelBegutachtung


After the temporary shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, the rapid recovery and resumed growth of the tourism sectors accelerates unsustainable tourism, resulting in local (over-)crowding, environmental damage, increased emissions, and diminished tourism acceptance. Addressing these challenges requires an active visitor management system at points of interest (POI), which requires local and timely POI-specific occupancy predictions to predict and mitigate crowding. Therefore, we present a new approach to measure visitor movement at an open-spaced, and freely accessible POI and evaluate the prediction performance of multiple occupancy and visitor count machine learning prediction models. We analyze multiple case combinations regarding spatial granularity, time granularity, and prediction time horizons. With an analysis of the SHAP values we determine the influence of the most important features on the prediction and extract transferable knowledge for similar regions lacking visitor movement data. The results underline that POI-specific prediction is achievable with a moderate relation for occupancy prediction and a strong relation for visitor count prediction. Across all cases, XGBoost and Random Forest outperform other models, with prediction accuracy increasing as the prediction time horizon shortens. For effective active visitor management, combining multiple models with different spatial aggregations and prediction time horizons provides the best information basis to identify appropriate steering measures. This innovative application of digital technologies facilitates information exchange between destination management organizations and tourists, promoting sustainable destination development and enhancing tourism experience.

FachzeitschriftInformation Technology and Tourism
PublikationsstatusAngenommen/Im Druck - 2024


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