Douze Points...and Rave Reviews: Booking.com Reveals Alternative Eurovision Song Contest 2021 Leaderboard
- Unique leaderboard combines both traveler reviews and latest betting odds - dubbed ‘Tour-O-Vision’
- ‘Tour-O-Vision’ formula would see Italy on top for the third time
- Booking.com teams up with Eurovision Song Contest legends ahead of the 2021 Song Contest to show off their hometowns, ready for when travel can ‘Open Up’
The countdown to the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 is on! After almost two years without this week of unique songs, flamboyant performances and legendary live shows (man in a hamster wheel or flaming piano anyone?), it's more anticipated – and needed – than ever.
The competition is heating up as bookies reveal their odds ahead of the 22nd May Finale – and with all the acts confirmed, speculation as to who will take home the coveted trophy is rife.
Many fans will use online favorites to place their predictions but Booking.com – the Official Travel Partner of Eurovision Song Contest 2021– has an ace up its sleeve when it comes to the leaderboard. Even though the rivalries might be as fierce as the costumes (check out Norway’s sartorial stylings), Europeans actually have a deep-seated love for their fellow Eurovision Song Contest countries thanks to travel.
Booking.com believes that travel preferences have a genuine impact on which country we vote for. Sure, Malta’s entry Je Me Casse may be an instant hit, and Iceland’s entry has genuine charm and great jumpers - but people may instead find themselves leaning towards douze points for their favorite holiday destination, especially if they could travel there for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.
With this in mind, Booking.com has tapped into its unparalleled data insights to reveal how the leaderboard might look if we combined the songs we can’t stop singing (or butchering if we don’t speak the language!) with the places we keep on visiting.
This leaderboard has been created by combining the bookies’ favorites for the 2021 Song Contest with average review scores given by travelers on Booking.com since May 2019, when the last Eurovision Song Contest took place.
According to this alternative leaderboard, Italy would come out on top (being fair, Zitti e buoni is a perfect piece of Euro emo), followed by Greece and Malta. If Booking.com’s formula hits the right notes, the win for Italy would be the third time the country has won.
To continue the celebration of the friendly rivalry that surrounds the Eurovision Song Contest, and to inspire fans’ travel plans when it’s safe to do so, Booking.com has partnered with Eurovision Song Contest legends Duncan James (UK contestant in 2011 with Blue) and ela. (Germany contestant in 2014) to create destination guides of their hometown, showcasing why their city should be top of travelers’ bucket lists. More will be revealed the week of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, so stay tuned.
“While of course we were there to win, participating at Eurovision Song Contest 2011 also signifies being part of the melting pot of cultures and performances which makes the event so unique. This partnership has been a great way to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest and share some of the travel treasures that make London a great travel destination, and of course open a bit of friendly rivalry between me and ela. too. ” - Duncan James
“The Eurovision Song Contest connects people, places and cultures – just like traveling does. That is why I am so excited to show you Berlin and share my inspiration by being part of Booking.com's #FriendsAboveRivals campaign.” - ela.
Unexpected love (songs)
As part of the research, Booking.com also uncovered some expected rivalries as well as some not-so-likely voting friendships. We might already anticipate based on historic voting patterns that certain countries will likely vote for their neighbors during the contest, but when it comes to travel it gets more surprising than a Buck’s Fizz velcro skirt:
- While on average Croatia awards the most points over the border to Serbia, when it comes to travel it's Italy that's scoring high with Croatian travelers
- Good neighbors are good friends when it comes to Spain and Portugal, with the former historically receiving the most votes from its pal. But those votes don’t translate into Portuguese travel plans, with rivals France, UK and Italy the top nationalities visiting
- Over the years, Italy on average received the most points from Albania, and is also in fact the top destination for Albanian travelers
- However, its high scores are unrequited, as Italy has awarded the most points to Ukraine
- Israel on average received the most points from France, and the French are also the second highest nationality booking trips to Israel
- Its rival for Israel’s points though is Russia, with Israel on average awarding them the most points
- Cyprus has never had a victory since joining the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981, but off-stage it remains a firm favorite place to visit for its rival countries UK, Russia and Israel
- Despite planning to be a one hit wonder when joining in 2015, Australia has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest five times since and, of those entries, been in the top ten four times. Offstage it’s the UK singing Australia’s praises as the top visiting nationality down under
Big five are big on travel
It’s not just a guaranteed place in the final which bonds the big five (UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain) and current champs the Netherlands – they’re also pretty connected when it comes to travel:
- The UK might pose no threat to the leaderboard as the worst scoring of the big five in the past decade, but it's still popular with its singing rivals, with German travelers the most likely to cross the (Katrina and the) waves
- When tallying total scores, Italy is the most successful of the six not to win in the last decade. But its rich heritage wins over travelers, with Rome endorsed for its history
- Despite missing four out of the last 10 years of Eurovision Song Contest competitions, this year’s host and 2019’s winner the Netherlands rank second in terms of its total Eurovision Song Contest score over the decade when pitted against the Big Five. And off-stage the Netherlands is popular with the Big Five too, with 4 out of its top five visiting nationalities also its Eurovision Song Contest rivals (Germany, UK, France and Italy)
Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com, added: “At the heart of the Eurovision Song Contest is a competition and fierce rivalry. But it's also an opportunity for the participating countries to unite and celebrate the joy of music and performance. Particularly this year, after so much separation due to travel restrictions, it’s inspiring to think of millions of fans coming together - through screens and smartphones across the world - for this celebration of unity and inclusion.
“While onstage we are all vying for those douze points, our travel data shows that we are far more friends than rivals as we’re keen to explore and experience those very same destinations we’re up against. With a mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, at Booking.com we’re excited about the opportunity future travel presents to discover the amazing diversity the world has to offer, when it’s safe to do so.”
*Tour-O-Vision leaderboard is created by using a "Booking.com Vote"which replaces traditional Eurovision Song Contest voting with a review ranking. The Booking.com Vote leverages the volume and average rating of all verified traveller reviews left between 14 May 2019 and 21 April 2021 which is then translated into the corresponding amount of points on the Eurovision Song Contest scale. The Booking.com Vote is then combined with an odds-based prediction of point distribution using the jury vote score using the Bookmakers rankings**
**Bookies predictions based on an aggregate of 18 bookmakers betting odds compiled by Eurovision World as of 21 April 2021 (https://eurovisionworld.com/odds/eurovision)
Founded in 1996 in Amsterdam, Booking.com has grown from a small Dutch startup to one of the world’s leading digital travel companies. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. By investing in the technology that helps take the friction out of travel, Booking.com seamlessly connects millions of travelers with memorable experiences, a range of transportation options and incredible places to stay - from homes to hotels and much more. As one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for both established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes, Booking.com enables properties all over the world to reach a global audience and grow their businesses. Booking.com is available in 44 languages and offers more than 28 million total reported accommodation listings, including more than 6.5 million listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, Booking.com makes it easy and backs it all up with 24/7 customer support.
About the Eurovision Song Contest
The Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest live music event. It is organized annually by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the world’s foremost alliance of public service media (PSM).
The competition, in which participating Member broadcasters of the EBU send a new song to represent their nation, takes place annually in the country that won the previous edition.
The event is produced by the EBU together with the broadcaster which sent the winning song.
39 countries will take part in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam following the Netherlands win with the song “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence in 2019.
The Eurovision Song Contest has taken place every year since 1956 except in 2020 when the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 27 countries have won the competition at least once.
The 2019 competition reached over 180 million TV viewers in over 40 markets and millions more online.
About the European Broadcasting Union
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is the world’s foremost alliance of public service media (PSM). Our mission is to make PSM indispensable.
We represent 115 media organizations in 56 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and have an additional 33 Associates in Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas.
Our Members operate nearly 2,000 television and radio channels alongside numerous online platforms. Together, they reach audiences of more than one billion people around the world, broadcasting in almost 160 languages.
We strive to secure a sustainable future for public service media, provide our Members with world-class content from news to sports and music, and build on our founding ethos of solidarity and co-operation to create a centre for learning and sharing.
Our subsidiary, Eurovision Services, aims to be the first-choice media services provider, offering new, better and different ways to simply, efficiently and seamlessly access and deliver content and services.
We have offices in Brussels, Rome, Dubai, Moscow, New York, Washington DC, Singapore, Madrid and Beijing. Our headquarters are in Geneva.
Discover more about the EBU at www.ebu.ch