Machine Learning in Internet Search Query Selection for Tourism Forecasting

Xin Li, Hengyun Li, Bing Pan, Rob Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Prior studies have shown that Internet search query data have great potential to improve tourism forecasting. As such, selecting the most relevant information from large amounts of search query data is crucial to enhancing forecasting accuracy and reducing overfitting; however, such feature selection methods have not been considered in the tourism forecasting literature. This study employs four machine learning–based feature selection methods to extract useful search query data and construct relevant econometric models. We examined the proposed methods based on monthly forecasting of tourist arrivals in Beijing, China, along with weekly forecasting of hotel occupancy in the city of Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Our findings indicate that the forecasting model with the selected search keywords outperformed the benchmark ARMAX model without feature selection in forecasting tourism demand and hotel occupancy. Therefore, machine learning methods can identify the most useful search query data to significantly improve forecasting accuracy in tourism and hospitality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1231
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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