Disclaimer: The author of this post is not a Football fan. He discovered 4 days back that offside is not a camping trip the Football team go to for team building exercises. He is, however, a data analyst, and the amount of good data waiting to be analysed in the wake of the World Cup made his spidey senses tingle!
As a Test cricket fan, I was raised to enjoy sports that lasted 5 days, with breaks for 'lunch' and (I kid you not)... 'tea'. Unlike the Test cricket championship however, the Football world cup does not last 24 months. It barely lasts a single month!
And yet, Russia is spending €12.1 Billion for a bunch of men in shorts running after (tripping over?) a ball! Let's face it, the beautiful game is among the best promoters of tourism money can buy, with fans from every corner of earth. (Metaphorically. We at FindHotel do not endorse the flat earth society)
And rightly so. As our data shows, Russia has seen a rise in hotel bookings by a magnitude of 11x within 4 months!
People from all over the world, but mainly from UK, Germany, France started searching for hotels in Russia starting as early as December 2017! The interest kept rising and peaked in March, 3 months before the tournament began.
As a great unifier, the tournament saw bookings not just from around the world, but also from a variety of budgets. While our most expensive booking stood at a whopping €23,203 for spending 7 days in Moscow (by a devoted fan from Nigeria), we did see a fan from United Kingdom get to spend 2 nights in Moscow for just €13.36.
By offering the best deals and discounts on hotels, we were proud to help football fans save a total of €177,778, with one of the luckier fans saving as much as €3,616 on their stay. (Finally booking a stay worth ~€8.5k, a whopping 30% savings)
Once the tournament began, I noticed people all over Amsterdam pausing whatever they were doing to "rejoice in the beautiful game" (K'naan anyone?). Which was more impressive considering the Netherlands had not qualified to begin with! So I did the only logical thing a data analyst could do from this observation. I mocked all our Dutch colleagues. It was wonderful. Once tired, I took a look at how serious our neighbours were about their World Cup games.
First up, the current world champions. (sniggers)
Germany began their campaign with a loss against Mexico, and then scraped through against Sweden in injury time. Next up was the "easy game" against South Korea. (sniggers some more)
As expected, not only were the Germans too distracted during the game, the excitement meant fewer Germans had the mental bandwidth to look at the best hotel deals all day. After the game however, it seems they really needed a vacation, as the hotel bookings surged. Understandable to say the least.
As a supporter of Germany up until this point, I did not think the sadism in me could take over to then mock my German friends. But I am nothing if not consistent. (For those curious, India has qualified a grand total of 1 time for the WC Finals (1950), thanks to withdrawal from all our opponents. And then we refused to play. Yes, I am salty. Yes, the mocking is my coping mechanism. Yes, India is quite good at cricket.)
With our neighbours to the east not living up to their potential, I chose the logical path of switching loyalties to our neighbours to the south.
After remaining undefeated through to the quarter-finals, Belgium was about to face its biggest challenge in Brazil. Unlike Germany though, the trend we notice for hotel bookings from Belgium seem to imply that as a country, everyone decided to do everything an hour early, just so they can enjoy the game together.
And enjoy they did! (With 6 Brazilian colleagues, as you can imagine, this victory holds a very special place in my heart!)
Further south, the French had similar ideas as the Belgians, when they faced Argentina in the round of 16. Having finished their hotel booking duties before the match, the country seemed to be celebrating the victory through till much after the final whistle was blown.
Across the channel, the Brits had a weird behaviour on the day of the quarter-final win over Sweden. The Scottish and Northern Irish did not really care about "it coming home", resulting in a not-so noticeable drop in hotel searches during the match hour. After the match however, searches for hotels in Russia rocketed, as more Brits wanted to personally bring "it" home.
As we gear in for the final 4 games, here's hoping the team you support wins! (Unless it is France. Or England. Or Croatia. Anyone but those 3.)