Unsupervised hierarchical clustering approach for tourism market segmentation based on crowdsourced mobile phone data


Understanding tourism related behavior and traveling patterns is an essential element of transportation system planning and tourism management at tourism destinations. Traditionally, tourism market segmentation is conducted to recognize tourist’s profiles for which personalized services can be provided. Today, the availability of wearable sensors, such as smartphones, holds the potential to tackle data collection problems of paper-based surveys and deliver relevant mobility data in a timely and cost-effective way. In this paper, we develop and implement a hierarchical clustering approach for smartphone geo-localized data to detect meaningful tourism related market segments. For these segments, we provide detailed insights into their characteristics and related mobility behavior. The applicability of the proposed approach is demonstrated on a use case in the Province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. We collected data from 1505 users during five months using the Zeeland app. The proposed approach resulted in two major clusters and four sub-clusters which we were able to interpret based on their spatio-temporal patterns and the recurrence of their visiting patterns to the region.