Deriving Tourist Mobility Patterns from Check-in Data

Recommendations in complex scenarios require additional knowledge of the domain. Planning a composite travel spanning several countries is a challenging, but encouraging domain for recommender systems, since users are in dire need for assistance: Information in typical publications, such as printed travel guides or personal blogs is often imprecise, biased or outdated.

In this paper we motivate a data-mining approach to improve destination recommender systems with learned travel patterns. Specifically, we propose a methodology to mine trips from location-based social networks to improve recommendations for the duration of stay at a destination. For this we propose a model for combining data from different sources and identify several metrics that are useful to ensure sufficient data quality, i.e., whether a traveler’s check-in behavior is adequate to derive patterns from it.

We demonstrate the utility of our approach using a Foursquare data set from which we extract 23,418 trips in 77 countries. Analyzing these trips, we determine the travel durations per country, how many countries are typically visited in a given time span and which countries are often visited together in a composite trip.

Also, we discuss how this method can be generalized to other recommender systems domains.