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London June 8 2016
With EURO 2016 kicking off on 10th June, research from digital marketing company Rakuten Marketing reveals how much sports fans are willing to spend to follow their sports heroes around the world, as well as their holiday booking habits.
Sports tourists do not scrimp on ‘match travel’, with the average fan spending £1,227.58 for the privilege of watching their team. Three quarters (75%) admit that they would be willing to spend more on a trip to see a sporting event than they would on a regular holiday. Nearly a third (31%) of those polled would even be willing to spend £500 more.
EURO’s popular but Murray draws the biggest British crowd
For fans planning to travel abroad for their sporting fix, it’s the EURO’s which are the biggest draw this summer, with a third (33%) planning to visit France over the next month. However, not everyone is planning to go so far afield, as Wimbledon is the top choice; over a third (34%) plan to visit the annual event. Scotland is the region most likely to travel to the tennis tournament, no doubt to show support for fellow Scot, Andy Murray.
Nick Fletcher, director of multichannel at Rakuten Marketing says: “Fans are just as likely to travel abroad to see a sporting event as they are to follow their team around the UK. By targeting the right fans with the right event, travel companies can benefit greatly from the passion fans have for their sport of choice. Location targeting, which allows brands to pinpoint tourists in specific places, for example opens huge opportunities to make sales. By serving ads during Wimbledon for instance, surrounding hotels, retailers and restaurants can benefit from the sports tourism boom.”
Location, location, location
Over three quarters of sports fans (83%) admit that location has a major impact on their decision to travel to a sporting event or not. For the World Cup tournaments scheduled to take place in Russia and Qatar in the coming years, where there have been questions around social equality, this is particularly relevant.
Rakuten Marketing’s research also shows that the majority of sports fans start or end their trip with cultural or other traditional holiday activities. Almost three quarters (73%) plan to extend their travel to a match or game in order to sightsee, shop and sunbathe. For sports marketers this presents the opportunity for partnerships with other brands across the hospitality and tourism industries, for example airlines, restaurants and tour operators.
Desktop wins hands down
Sports fans are turning away from travel agents in favour of online holiday booking. In fact, fewer than one in ten (8%) opt to head in-store to book their trip whereas over half (58%) of people book via desktop. Mobile is used by over half (51%) of sports fans to research their trip, highlighting the importance for brands taking advantage of the summer of sport to have a multichannel strategy in place.
Less than savvy sports fans
When it comes to incentives, such as vouchers, air miles and cashback, over a quarter (26%) of fans who use such promotions champion cashback offers. Surprisingly, almost half (46%) of sports holiday bookers do not take advantage of any offers when arranging their trip. Over 55 year olds are the most likely to miss out on these deals, as two thirds (66%) admit to using no form of incentive when booking a trip.
Fletcher continues: “On average, those aged over 45 spend more than the younger age groups following their sports passion. As a result, there is huge opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves and build customer loyalty by taking a brand-led approach as well as upsell cultural excursions and sightseeing to this demographic.”
Despite the amount of money sports enthusiasts spend on going to games, planning the excursion itself is fairly last minute, with over a third (38%) spending less than three months organising their trip. 18-24 year olds are most guilty of leaving things to the last minute with almost half (43%) admitting to planning the trip in this short amount of time.
Over 90% of respondents use WhatsApp groups, email and Facebook messages to arrange their match travel. Fletcher adds: “Our research shows that fans research on mobile, tablet and then often book on desktop. Whilst WhatsApp groups, email and Facebook messages are private and cannot be tracked by analytics tools, if brands understand how customers are behaving on all devices as well as instore, they can work out what media influences fans to book and develop campaigns that will be most effective.”
About Rakuten Marketing
Rakuten Marketing is the global leader in omni-channel marketing. Offering an integrated strategy that combines consumer centric insights with e-commerce expertise, Rakuten Marketing aims to inspire better marketing. Rakuten Marketing’s omni-channel services include Rakuten Affiliate Network (formerly Rakuten LinkShare), the number one ranked affiliate marketing service,; Rakuten Display (formerly MediaForge), enabling one-to-one marketing across devices through precise targeting, custom dynamic creative, and engagement measurement; Rakuten Attribution (formerly DC Storm), measurement and attribution solutions that allow marketers to uncover the true performance of their campaigns with an unbiased, transparent view into each media channel. Rakuten Marketing has recently acquired Manifest Commerce, an automated technology that predicts and tests retailer’s highest-performing products on social ads, for prospecting and retargeting.