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Can Google search results predict hotel occupancy rates?

  Posted in Hotel Insights  Last updated 30/11/2023

Google and STR have recently joined forces to share findings on how accommodation searches in New York and London correspond to hotel demand and occupancy data for those markets.

The search data focused on New York and London due to their similarity in travel trends. Both are global hubs that attract large amounts of international leisure and business travellers every year – both lead their respective regions in hotel performance and supply.

Hotel Statistics: London vs. New York

The data for both cities compares very strongly, making them a perfect candidate for the study. Here are 10 key figures for each

  1. There’s a total of 129,000 hotel rooms in London and 115,000 in New York
  2. There were 37 million total hotel room bookings for London, and more than 35 million total bookings for New York in 2016
  3. Both markets have been achieving occupancy levels above 80% for the last seven years
  4. New York’s demand increased by 5.8% in 2016, even with strong supply growth. This pushed occupancy beyond 80% for the year
  5. In 2016 Google searches for accommodation in New York grew by 7.3%. Towards the end of the year there was a further notable increase in the volume of searches for the city that never sleeps
  6. Demand and supply in London both grew in 2016 by 1.8% and 2.7% respectively
  7. Google searches in relation to accommodation in London grew relatively slowly in 2016 at 0.8%
  8. New York and London both achieved occupancy levels above 80% in 2016. The occupancy for New York (85.9%) was generally driven by a substantial number of nights when occupancy exceeded 90%, while London (81.3%) achieved consistent performance between 80-90%
  9. 52% of New York’s total weekend nights had occupancy levels higher than 90% versus 38% for total weekday nights
  10. In London, weekend occupancy was slightly higher (83.2%) than weekdays (80.6%)

Both NY and London have seen occupancy levels above 80% for the last 7 years

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So can Google predict occupancy levels?

Based on the data analysed, a positive correlation was found, as well as a statistically significant relationship, between Google search data and hotel demand measured by STR for both London and New York.

The report was able to conclude that higher Google search volumes can be associated with higher STR demand levels.

The data unearthed in this report is highly valuable for hotels.

Using it, hotels can assess interest in a particular destination and see how booking patterns evolve. With both Google search intelligence and demand trends, hotels can make smart decisions derived from accurate data, especially in regards to price planning.

As most hoteliers know, seasonality plays a big role and having access to the latest data is vital to ensure occupancy levels are as high as they can be. Understanding how low and high demand periods play out allows hotels to hone in on specific time to raise or lower rates.

How can hotels take advantage of the occupancy rates data?

Both Google and STR can provide insights that hotels can use to stay ahead of the game.

Google’s research into ‘micro-moments’ lets hoteliers know exactly what travel bookers want and when they need it, while STR’s benchmarking data shows hotels how they stack up to their competitors. It allows you to understand why certain trends are happening at your hotel.

If your occupancy or revenue is down, is it because your strategies aren’t as effective as they could be? Or are all your competitors suffering the same fate and it’s simply an industry-wide trend? This is significant knowledge for the sake of your revenue management.

In the current travel industry, data is becoming more and more important for hotels to tap into. Travellers are evolving into more complex customers and require more analysis than they used to if you want to capture their booking.

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By Shine Colcol

Shine is the SEO and Content Manager of SiteMinder, the only software platform that unlocks the full revenue potential of hotels. With 5+ years of experience in content strategy, Shine has produced informational content across various industry topics, mostly about operations management and continuous improvement. She aims to share well-researched articles for hoteliers to discover how to optimize their time and increase room revenue.


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