Do you have a favorite Walt Disney World resort? One that you visit over and over again? Mine is Animal Kingdom Lodge. I don’t care if it’s Jambo or Kidani. We rent points and stay at whichever one has the best deal or availability. I know a lot of people that have other favorite resorts too. Those that once you go, you know it’s the place for you and you just want to keep going back. We’ve been looking at lots of ways to figure out which resorts are great over the past few weeks. I think this is an interesting lens to look through. Ignoring satisfaction scores and price and view and all of those numbers that data folk like myself love, which resorts to visitors go back to? Which resorts have the most return business? Because if a lot of other people are willing to stay somewhere twice in a row, maybe I will too.
Explain the Math!
Each time a TouringPlans user submits a post-visit survey, we capture their user id (just a number) along with the survey results. By looking across the history of all surveys we’ve received, and tying those to a specific user, I can figure out the order of visits they’ve taken. I can then pair up any visit with the one immediately following it – if one exists.
We could go really crazy and find the most popular paths for folks that have something like 5 … or 28 … different submitted surveys. But to make things easy for a first pass, I’m going to treat each pair of visits as independent from any others. So if you’ve taken 4 trips and submitted 4 surveys, your first and second visits are a pair. Your second and third visits are a pair. And your third and fourth visits are a pair. There are pros and cons to this approach, but it’s a good starting point.
Once I have all of this data, I can ask/answer a few questions:
- If I stay at Resort X, what is the chance that my next visit will also be at Resort X?
- If I stay at Resort X, does that make me more likely to visit Resort Y next?
- If I stay at Resort X, does that make me less likely to visit Resort Y next?
We’ll explore all of these through conditional probabilities. (Google that if you want. Or throw it in a conversation to impress your friends.) But basically it means “Knowing that I’ve done something specific (step 1), how does that impact my chances of doing something else (step 2), compared to the base case of not knowing what step 1 was?” For example, 14.5% of all “second visits” are at Pop Century. How does that number change, up or down, if I know something about the “first visit”? Will it go down if my first visit was at a DVC resort? Will it go up if I stayed at Pop Century for my first visit?
As always, this comes with asterisks. We only know about TouringPlans users, not the general WDW-visiting population. And we only know about visits where surveys were submitted. So there is the possibility that someone visited a resort in between the “pair” that I’m analyzing.
Which Resorts Have the Most Repeat Visitors?
- In this graph: orange = value, purple = moderate, gold = deluxe, and blue = DVC.
- SO much to unpack here. Pop Century has the highest repeat rate of any resort. If you stay at Pop Century, there’s a 42% chance your next stay will also be at Pop Century. Holy moly! LOTS of repeat visitors there. At the very least we can say that Pop Century doesn’t seem to be scaring people away.
- My AKL-loving heart is broken. Maybe I just have rare taste. Jambo and Kidani easily secure the bottom two spots here, with only 12 and 15% repeat visit rates. So if 10 people stay at Jambo, during the next visit only one of them will stay there again. Oh well, more rooms for me.
- No matter what you can, or want to, pay for a room, there are resorts that have high and low repeat rates. I’ll admit that I expected DVC resorts to take all of the top spots. Because of the way that home resorts work, people are essentially encouraged to book at their home resort over and over. But only BoardWalk Villas makes it into the top 4 of repeat visiting out of the DVC crowd.
- All-Star Sports is also surprising to me. It could be the competition crowd fueling that repeat rate. Over half of the repeat pairs were both in the same month, but different years. So either folks there have a very set visiting cadence where they like visiting the same week or month ever year, or they’re returning for a competition that follows a regular schedule.
If I Stay at Resort X, Where Will I Stay Next?
No need for a fancy graphic here. The vast majority of the time, where you stay for this visit is the most likely candidate for where you stay your second visit. Even at Jambo, with its pitiful 12% revisit rate. No other resort takes more than 12% of Jambo visitors, so it’s still the “most likely”.
- The only exception is Value resorts. No matter which value resort you choose (All-Star Movies/Music/Sports, Art of Animation, or Pop Century), you are most likely to end up at Pop Century for your next visit. 25-30% of All-Star visitors end up at Pop Century on their next stay. 23% of AOA visitors end up at Pop Century on their next stay. It seems to be the clear winner for those that want to stay at a value resort.
If I Stay at Resort X, Am I More Likely to Stay at Resort Y?
- For each resort, I pulled the resort that sees the biggest bump in chance to stay there for the second stay. This isn’t the same thing as being most likely for a second stay. It still might not be the most likely, but it sees the biggest percentage increase. You’re statistically more likely to stay there than you otherwise would be.
The vast majority of the time, the resort with the biggest positive bump is the resort you’re staying at now. For example, if you stay at the Swan, on you’re next visit you’re 25 times more likely to stay at the Swan than the average WDW visitor.
- The only two resorts that saw the biggest positive bump at a different resort both seemed to push people positively to the Treehouses at Saratoga Springs. Weird, right? If you stay at Jambo for your first stay, you’re 5 time more likely to book a Treehouse for your next trip than the average visitor. And if you stay at the Polynesian Villas for your first stay, you’re over 8 times more likely to book a Treehouse for your next trip.
If I Stay at Resort X, Am I Less Likely to Stay at Resort Y?
- Similar to the positive bump, I pulled the resort that sees the biggest negative push in chance to stay there for the second stay. Sort of a “if you stayed here, you definitely aren’t going to want to stay there” type of analysis. You’re statistically less likely to stay there than you otherwise would be.
The most negative correlation is found if you stay at Boulder Ridge. On your second stay, you’d be 10 times less likely to stay at Pop Century than the average visitor. So there you go, Pop Century has a weakness. Interestingly, the only other resort that had the largest negative correlation with Pop was Copper Creek. If you stay at Copper Creek, you’d be 7 times less likely to stay at Pop Century on your second stay compared to the average visitor.
- The next-largest negative correlation is found if you stay at Kidani. Then you’re 8 times less likely to stay at Beach Club Resort on your next stay.
What Does This Mean For You?
- If you’re looking for a resort that people are likely to revisit, Pop Century is overall your best bet. For moderates, check out the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. Looking into the Contemporary for a deluxe resort or BowardWalk Villas for DVC.
- If your stay is at a value resort, you’re always going to be most likely to stay at Pop Century for your next visit. It makes sense – it has convenient transportation and nicer rooms than other value resorts.
- The only way you’re significantly less likely to stay at Pop Century than the average visitor is if you stay at Boulder Ridge or Copper Creek.
Did any of the results this week interest or surprise you? What’s your favorite resort to visit again and again? Let us know in the comments!