The Online Occupancy Survey

Date published: 07 February 2023

What is the online Occupancy Survey?

Tourism Statistics within the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) is responsible for carrying out the Occupancy Survey in Northern Ireland. The monthly Occupancy Survey provides information on the occupancy rates and rooms and beds sold in Northern Ireland.


Establishments are asked to record the following in the questionnaire:

  • Number of bedrooms available in your establishment
  • Number of bedspaces available in your establishment
  • Monthly total number of bedrooms occupied
  • Monthly total number of guests staying in the establishment
  • Monthly total number of guests by area of residency (Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Great Britain, Europe, USA & Canada, Rest of the World)
  • Monthly total number of guests checking in as new arrivals
  • Monthly total number of new arrivals by area of residency (Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Great Britain, Europe, USA & Canada, Rest of the World)

In previous years the survey was based on postal and email returns. In an effort to reduce the burden on respondents and make the survey more environmentally and user friendly, the survey moved to an online methodology from 2023.

What are the benefits of the Occupancy Survey?

The survey informs how the accommodation sector is performing throughout the year in Northern Ireland. It assists in identifying key trends in the tourism sector. This helps various policy makers (within the Department for Economy, Tourism Northern Ireland and others) in their decision making.

Why/How has my establishment been selected?

To offer tourist accommodation in Northern Ireland, you must have a certificate from Tourism Northern Ireland (TNI) - TNI refers to this as certification. It is illegal to offer tourist accommodation in NI without a certificate from TNI. The list of certified accommodation from TNI is known as the ‘stock’. At the beginning of the year, all hotels and a random sample of Guest Houses, B&Bs, and Guest Accommodation in Northern Ireland is drawn from the stock. Those selected are invited to participate in the survey.

How are results published?

The information you provide will not be disclosed on an individual basis. Results are published monthly and annually. For more information on the Occupancy Survey results visit Hotel occupancy survey

In May 2017 after assessment by the Office for Statistics Regulation the annual hotel publication was awarded National Statistics accreditation. National Statistics status means that official statistics meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.