We live in an increasingly digital and data-driven world, and public bodies such as the Hungarian Tourism Agency (HTA) cannot overlook this. These two aspects are combined on HTA’s new website, igyutazunk.hu, creating a webpage that provides experts and the general public with useful information and spectacular visualizations about Hungarian tourism.
One of the most valuable assets of the world today is data, so it is not profitable in the long term to formulate strategies based on intuitions. The HTA noticed this and started working with data from the National Tourism Data Supply Centre (NTDSC), search engine trends, mobile data, credit card data, the National Tax and Customs Administration’s (NTCA) online cash register data, and airport data. This enables HTA to receive and analyze information from 45,000 accommodation establishments on where guests are coming from and how many days they are staying. So, they can create targeted campaigns, and make good sales decisions as it becomes more unlikely that they make wrong choices.
Igyutazunk.hu aims to inform and educate the players of the tourism sector digitally, which became possible through extensive data collection. The new webpage provides useful, detailed analyses of tourist regions and major cities, and real-time check-ins and check-outs at hotels can also be monitored. These steps are essential to keep the sector competitive and will change the strategic thinking of decision-makers radically over the next decade. It is no secret that HTA’s goal is to make Hungary the most popular tourist destination in Eastern Europe. The application of big data is of paramount importance to achieve this objective.
The webpage dedicates separate sections to the tourism performance of Hungarian cities, the destinations of foreign visitors, real-time tourism data, and top lists. Monthly and weekly reports are available for those who wish to study tourism trends in more depth. Zsófia Jakab, HTA’s Deputy Director General for Marketing and Communications, highlighted that „the HTA is working together with Hungarian tourism service providers and professional associations to ensure the necessary conditions for the digital transformation in all areas of the sector and to prepare stakeholders for the challenges of the online world. She added that from the beginning, they have considered it important „to provide helpful information from the data the NTDSC receives, and to share it as widely as possible, keeping the press and the public fully informed. This aim guided the creation of the new igyutazunk.hu tourist information portal.”
The data-driven strategy of the Hungarian Tourism Agency and its collaboration with the Hungarian Central Statistical Office enables it to provide a comprehensive service that is unique in Europe by producing outstanding forecasts and impact assessments. Although the HTA published data previously too, no single platform existed before where the press, professionals, and the public could all find what they were looking for.
HTA works with anonymized, aggregated datasets to protect people’s personal data. It sometimes makes the work more difficult, but HTA’s experts can still make logical estimates from which they can draw long-term trends. The data processing also goes through many checks and cleaning processes, which slows down the procedure but gives a much clearer picture of the tourist industry’s situation.
When the Russo-Ukrainian war broke out, several countries’ tourism agencies initiated discussions, but most countries had only estimates of the decline in tourism after 1-2 days of the beginning of the invasion. This example illustrates well why accurate, real-time data, what the HTA has, is crucial. When tourism started to grow again, HTA was able to monitor it closely.
The continuously developing and refreshing website is now available on the igyutazunk.hu domain for free. We can browse the real-time tourist traffic, see where domestic guests came from in the previous week under the “Ide utazunk”(We travel here) tab, check the number of overnight stays and spending data regarding international tourists in the previous week under „Vendégeink külföldről” (Guests from abroad), and find recommendations based on Hungary’s official tourism website, visithungary.com under the „Merre induljak?” (Where to go?) tab.
Illustration: Réka Pisla | Hype&Hyper