Experimental statistics

Overnight stays in hotels


Statistics Iceland publishes statistics on overnight stays in hotels on a monthly basis, approximately 30 days after the end of each month, at which point data has been received from about 90% of hotels. Due to users' interest in getting information in a more timely manner, it was decided to use data from hotels that consistently submit immediately after the end of each month to get an initial assessment of each month's final numbers for bed occupancy rates and overnight stays in hotels.

Recently, the Icelandic tourism industry has gone through major changes in a short time. Such rapid changes underscore the need for timely statistics, but also pose problems for statistical processing. These preliminary estimates need to be interpreted with that in mind.


About 20% of hotels consistently submit data in the first few days after the end of each month. A study was carried out to see whether this data was useful for an initial assessment of bed occupancy rates and the number of overnight stays in hotels. Since these hotels are not randomly selected, the data are broken down by region and weighted to correct for this non-random selection.

For this subset of hotels with consistently early returns, data on bed occupancy rates and the number of overnight stays spanning the last few years were compared to the final results for each month. It turned out that bed occupancy and the number of overnight stays in hotels could be estimated every month with a 95% confidence limit.


This method makes it possible to estimate the bed occupancy and the number of overnight stays in hotels shortly after the end of each month, and the plan is to publish this plan within 10 days from the end of the month. It is our hope that this publication of more timely initial estimates will help indicate the latest developments in accommodation.

69% decrease in overnight stays in hotels in March, 107% increase for Icelanders

Updated: 13 April 2021

Based on first reports on overnight stays in March, the preliminary estimate of overnight stays in hotels is 54,400 (95% confidence interval 48,500-60,300), thereof 41,800 Icelandic (95% CI 36,500-47,100) and 12,600 foreign overnight stays (95% CI 10,200-15,100).

Compared with 174,500 overnight stays in March 2020, there was an estimated 69% reduction in March this year. Based on these initial estimates, there was a 92% decrease in foreign overnight stays compared with March 2020, while on the other hand, Icelandic overnight stays increased by 107%.

Based on the same estimates, bed occupancy rates in March 2021 were approximately 11.4% (95% CI 10.1%-12.7%) compared with 25.1% in March 2020.

In mid-March last year, the first assembly ban was imposed and the flow of tourists to the country decreased significantly.

The temporary estimate for overnight stays in February 2021 was 46,800 (95% CI 42,500-51,100). The final number of overnight stays was 41,900, which was slightly below the 95% confidence limits.


Temporary estimates of overnight stays in hotels 210413 (xlsx)


Metadata for statistics on overnight stays: Accommodation, guests and overnight stays

Methodological description: Fast estimates of proportions and occupancy number of hotels (pdf)

Use of these experimental statistics is free. Please quote the source.
For further information please contact gistiskyrslur@hagstofa.is, tel. +354 528 1000