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.

Around fivefold increase in overnight stays at hotels in September

Updated: 8 October 2021

Based on first reports on overnight stays in September, the preliminary estimate of overnight stays in hotels were 341,700 (95% confidence interval 329,300-354,000), thereof 63,100 Icelandic (95% CI 55,700-70,600) and 278,500 foreign overnight stays (95% CI 266,500-290,600).

Compared with 63,600 overnight stays in September 2020, there was around fivefold increase this year. Based on these initial estimates Icelandic overnights increased by 134%, from 47.100 last year. Foreign overnight stays increased significantly between years, they were 16.400 last year. It should be noted that last year there were stricter border measures due to Covid-19 than there are today. For further comparison, there were 434,200 overnight stays in September 2019, thereof 396,700 by nondomestic tourists.

Based on the same estimates, bed occupancy rates in September 2021 were approximately 51.5% (95% CI 49.6%-53.3%) compared with 12.3% in the same month last year and 61.3% in 2019.

The temporary estimate for overnight stays in August 2021 was 413,300 (95% CI 399,300-427,300). The final number of overnight stays in that month was 439,100, or somewhat higher than the preliminary assessment.

Hotels are currently going through a period of sudden change in hotel room supply, leading to a considerable increase in uncertainty in the initial estimates of overnight stays. These figures should therefore be taken with extra caution until the final number of overnight stays in hotels is published at the end of October.


Temporary estimates of overnight stays in hotels 211008(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