Hotel Revenue Management

Google shares data which shows link between its searches and hotel demand

Ever wished you could dig out your crystal ball and predict what the demand will be for your hotel for any given period? Would knowing how many bookings you could expect in a particular timeframe make your hotel marketing, operations and staffing that much easier? Well, a new study suggests that this could actually be possible and not a work of fantasy, as Google shares data which shows a definitive, clear link between searches carried out by its users and hotel demand. Curious? Read on…

The study

Google joined forces with STR to conduct a research study which examines the correlation between searches for accommodation and actual hotel bookings. The study sought to determine whether or not a relationship between the two existed and if searches performed on Google could be used as an indicator for hotel occupancy rates.

The results make for interesting reading and could help operations teams to get more from their hotel revenue management software and better understand and predict peaks and troughs in booking figures.

hotel searches and demand

The markets

In order to determine whether there was, in fact, a link between Google searches for accommodation and hotel occupancy rates, two major global markets were identified; London and New York.

London and New York perform similarly when it comes to travel trends. Both cities are business and leisure destinations and both are at the head of hotel supply and performance in the United Kingdom and the United States of America respectively.

• There are 115,000 hotel rooms in New York, compared with 129,000 hotel rooms in London • Demand for hotel rooms in London grew by 1.8% in 2016 • Supply of hotel rooms in London grew by 2.7% in 2016 • Demand for hotel rooms in New York increased by 5.8% in the same period • Occupancy of hotel rooms in New York reached 80% in 2016 • Correspondingly, Google data shows that the volume of searches it handled for accommodation in New York (with all related phrases such as hotel in New York) grew by 7.3% in 2016, with further spikes at the end of the year • Search volume for all related London accommodation and London hotel searches grew more modestly, at 0.8% • In both cities, occupancy levels were above 80%, with 90% occupancy rates recorded on a number of occasions in New York.

The date from Google showed that a statistically significant relationship does exist between Google search volume and hotel demand. There was a proven link between an increase in search volumes in Google and corresponding higher demand for hotel accommodation.

How to take advantage of this data and hotel revenue management software

Hoteliers can take heart from the link between search and demand. Monitoring Google search trends can help with forecasting and give a deeper insight into trends at any given property. Knowing that demand is high can also be used to set rates and benchmark against competitor performance.

The link between the two also underlines how important search marketing and data analytics are to hotel marketers. With search driving demand, not being present in the Google results pages could be catastrophic.