Celebrating Semana Santa: Travel Trends in Latin America & Beyond

March 29, 2016

Most schools and business in Mexico, for instance, close for the two weeks around Easter and many take advantage of this time off to travel.

In our Q4 2015 Global Travel Insights report, we looked forward to travel for Semana Santa and now we’re here to give you an updated look at the travel trends for the event, noting what origin markets traveled where, when, and what impact last-minute travelers had on the holiday.

Lots of long-haul for Easter

For our Semana Santa overview, we focused our efforts on the top four origin markets: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. We began by looking at their favorite destination cities. The differences between Q4 and Q1 are noteworthy. The top positions for each origin market remain the same. But, there’s a bit of fluctuation in the rest of the destinations.

Brazil, for instance, instead of heading to Lisbon, Portugal for second highest destination, ended up staying local and traveling to Sao Paolo in larger numbers. Since our more recent data includes last-minute travel, it makes sense to see a local destination rise in the ranks because people often don’t plan last minute long-haul trips. Additionally, the weaker Brazilian real, especially in comparison to the euro and US dollar, might explain the shift toward domestic travel over international.

Blog_SantaSemana_Chart_A

Further, Miami taking the top spot is due, in part, to the large volume of flights between LATAM and Miami. There are also very large Brazilian, Argentinean, and Colombian populations in Miami. For many, Semana Santa is a holiday meant for the family and therefore head off to visit friends and relatives.

Searches Peak Uniquely for Each Origin

For the top four origin markets, the time to look for Semana Santa flights is overwhelming in February. In fact, 44% of Semana Santa flights in Colombia are searched then, for example. More interestingly, if you look at each country, they display their own unique trends and peaks:

  • November is a big search month for Argentina and Brazil, but not the same for Mexico or Colombia. This could be do to the fact that it’s early summer in Argentina and Brazil, but the middle of the school year in Mexico and Colombia.
  • Colombia is the most last minute of the group, with their spikes occurring in the later months.
  • Mexico has the earliest planners—their planning peaks in December and January, which can be a function of Mexican airlines offering sales at that time. The other origin markets plan a little more last-minute, hence why their planning peaks really start in February, one month before the festivities.

Blog_SantaSemana_Chart_B

Party Size and Departure Dates

When it comes to party size, single travelers reigned supreme:

  • For Brazil and Colombia, 75% of searches for Semana Santa travel were for parties of one. It was nearly 70% for Argentina and Mexico. These large percentages might be due to people searching for solo travel initially, though ultimately booking for larger parties.
  • Only 9% of travel from Argentina was for parties of 3 or more.

As well as traveling solo, many people are looking to take their trips around the same time. With Easter falling on March 27 this year, most people look to depart on March 16. The second highest day for departures is March 23 and April 1 as the third.

Travel Trend Takeaways

Travel around Semana Santa is unique, there’s no doubt about that. Because the holiday is so long—2 weeks—and so widely celebrated, it’s easy for Latin American travelers to plan long-haul trips. What we learn from this event and the travel trends around it, is the importance of first understanding, and then treating each market different.

If, for example, you were a hotelier in New York City trying to target Latin American travelers during Semana Santa, it’s important that you understand the different timeline for Colombian travelers in comparison with Mexican travelers. Within these two markets, we see different times for searching, different preference in party sizes and variance in departure dates. If you serve ads at the same time with the same message to both markets, you’re not going to have the most effective or influential campaign.

Further, noting that early planners in Argentina are looking for New York as a destination (hence why the appeared so high in our Q4 look), but not as a last-minute destination, can help you plan your campaigns in a more time-sensitive manner. The smarter the campaigns, the more likely you’ll convert. For more information on how Sojern can help you craft smart, data-driven campaigns, connect with us!

And no matter where you’re traveling to this Semana Santa: Felices Pascuas!


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About Andrés Franklin

Andrés is responsible for leading Sojern’s commercial business activities in Latin America, including cross-vertical advertising sales and the development of new partnerships. Andrés has almost 14 years of experience in multilingual business environments and extensive management experience in both corporate and entrepreneurial environments, with primary focus on digital media.

Andrés Franklin About the author

Andrés is responsible for leading Sojern’s commercial business activities in Latin America, including cross-vertical advertising sales and the development of new partnerships. Andrés has almost 14 years of experience in multilingual business environments and extensive management experience in both corporate and entrepreneurial environments, with primary focus on digital media.