How to Calculate Occupancy Rates

In the competitive world of hospitality, understanding and optimising your occupancy rate is central to maximising profit and enhancing operational efficiency. For hotel managers and hospitality professionals, mastering this metric is not just about numbers—it’s about making informed decisions that shape the success of your business. This guide aims to demystify the process of calculating occupancy rates, offering insights tailored to the unique needs of the accommodation sector.

Occupancy Rate Definition

Occupancy rate is a fundamental metric in the hospitality industry that measures the percentage of available rooms or accommodations that are occupied at any given time. Distinguished from average daily rate (ADR), which focuses on average revenue earned per rented room, occupancy rate emphasises utilisation of space—a crucial aspect for revenue management and strategic business planning.

When To Use Occupancy Rate for Accomodation

Occupancy rate is a versatile metric that can be used in various scenarios, including:

  • Assessing performance: One of the primary uses of occupancy rate is to evaluate the performance of your accommodation business. A high occupancy rate indicates that you’re utilising your resources effectively, while a low rate may highlight issues that need addressing.
  • Forecasting demand: By analysing past occupancy rates, you can predict future demand and adjust pricing and marketing strategies accordingly. This is particularly useful for seasonal businesses or those in areas with fluctuating tourism trends.
  • Benchmarking against competitors: Comparing your occupancy rate to that of similar accommodations can give you valuable insights into the competitiveness of your business. If your occupancy rate is lower than others in the industry, it could indicate areas for improvement.

Occupancy Rate Formula

Calculating occupancy rate is a simple formula:

Occupancy Rate = (Number of Occupied Rooms / Total Number of Available Rooms) x 100%

For example, if your hotel has 100 rooms and 80 of them were occupied last night, the calculation would be as follows:

Occupancy Rate = (80/100) x 100% = 80%

It’s important to note that the total number of available rooms can vary depending on factors like room maintenance or renovations. Therefore, it’s recommended to use an average number of available rooms over a period of time for a more accurate calculation.

Types of Accommodation Calculations

  • Hotels Occupancy Rate: Consider the total inventory of rooms minus any out-of-order rooms for maintenance or other reasons.
  • Airbnb Occupancy Rate: Account for the available listing days and booked days, excluding blocked out days by the host.
  • Apartment Rentals Occupancy Rate: For extended stay accommodations, factor in the total number of apartments and the average length of stay.


  • Hotel Example: If a hotel has 100 rooms and 80 are booked tonight, the occupancy rate is 80 out of 100 equals 80%.
  • Airbnb Example: An Airbnb host with a single property available 30 days a month, with 25 days booked, the occupancy rate is 25 out of 30 is 83.33%.


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Factors That Affect Occupancy Rate

Several factors can impact occupancy rate, including:

  • Seasonality: Accommodation businesses in seasonal locations may experience fluctuations in occupancy rate depending on the time of year.
  • Marketing and promotion efforts: Effective marketing and promotions can drive demand and boost occupancy rates.
  • Local events or festivals: Events or festivals in a location can attract visitors and increase demand for accommodations.
  • Economic factors: Economic conditions, such as a recession or boom, can impact travel and ultimately affect occupancy rates.
  • Competitors: As mentioned earlier, comparing your occupancy rate to that of competitors can help identify areas for improvement and inform strategic decisions.

How To Calculate Annual Occupancy Rate

To calculate your annual occupancy rate, you need to have data on the number of occupied rooms for a specific period, typically one year. The formula is as follows:

Annual Occupancy Rate = (Total Number of Occupied Rooms / Total Number of Available Rooms) x 100%

For example, if your hotel had 30,000 occupied rooms in one year and your total inventory is 50,000 rooms, the calculation would be:

Annual Occupancy Rate = (30,000/50,000) x 100% = 60%

You can use this formula to calculate your annual occupancy rate for any type of accommodation including hotels, Airbnb properties, and apartment rentals.

How to Calculate Change in Occupancy Rate

To calculate the change in occupancy rate, you need data from two different periods. The formula is as follows:

Change in Occupancy Rate = ((Occupied Rooms at Time 2 – Occupied Rooms at Time 1) / Occupied Rooms at Time 1) x 100%

For example, if your hotel had an occupancy rate of 70% last year and this year it is 80%, the calculation would be:

Change in Occupancy Rate = ((80-70)/70) x 100% = 14.3%

The result shows a positive change of 14.3% in occupancy rate, indicating an increase in demand or more effective utilisation of resources.

Tips for Accurate Occupancy Rate Calculations

To guarantee the precision of your occupancy rate calculations, it is crucial to adhere to a few best practices:

  • Regularly update your data to gain real-time insights. This involves not just a periodic review but ensuring that your data reflects the most current status of bookings and availability.
  • Avoid common pitfalls like miscalculating the number of available rooms or neglecting to adjust for seasonal variations, which can significantly impact your occupancy rates. For instance, failing to account for a high-demand season could lead to underestimating your actual occupancy potential.
  • Utilise software tools specifically designed for hospitality management to streamline the data collection and analysis process. Implementing hotel management software can automate and simplify tasks, reducing the chances of human error and allowing for more accurate and efficient occupancy rate calculations. These tools often come with features tailored for the hospitality industry, such as booking engines, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and revenue management systems, all of which can contribute to a more accurate assessment of your occupancy rates.

Tips for Increasing Occupancy Rates

Now you’ve figured out how to calculate and use occupancy rate, here are some tips to help you increase it:

  • Offer competitive pricing: Conduct market research to determine the average rates in your area and adjust your pricing accordingly.
  • Utilise online booking platforms: In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence and utilising booking platforms can greatly increase visibility and bookings.
  • Implement effective marketing strategies: Use targeted marketing initiatives to reach your ideal audience and drive demand for your accommodations.
  • Enhance guest experience: Providing top-notch service and amenities can lead to positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations, ultimately increasing demand for your accommodations.
  • Offer promotions and packages: Special deals and packages can attract guests and boost occupancy rates during slower periods.

If you’d like to learn more in-depth knowledge about occupancy rates, you might enjoy reading our article Boosting Hotel Occupancy Rates: A Comprehensive Guide.

Using Occupancy Rates for Business Planning

Strategically, understanding and analysing occupancy rates can be a linchpin for guiding several crucial business decisions for hospitality businesses. Here’s how:

Pricing Decisions

By closely monitoring occupancy rates, hotels can strategically adjust their pricing during peak and off-peak seasons. This not only helps in optimising occupancy levels but also in maximising revenue.

For instance, increasing prices during high demand periods while offering discounts or promotions during slower times can attract a larger volume of guests.

Marketing Campaigns

Occupancy trends provide invaluable insights that can shape targeted marketing campaigns. By identifying when occupancy rates are typically lower, hotels can craft specialised marketing efforts aimed at specific markets or demographics to boost bookings.

This could include targeted social media advertising, email marketing campaigns focusing on special offers, or partnering with local attractions for unique packages.

Staffing Adjustments

Aligning staffing needs with occupancy levels is crucial for operational efficiency. During periods of high occupancy, additional staff may be needed to maintain the quality of guest experience, from front desk operations to housekeeping and maintenance.

Conversely, during off-peak times, reducing staff or hours can help minimise labour costs without sacrificing service quality. This careful balancing act ensures that the property operates efficiently, providing the best possible experience to guests while also managing costs.

Example of Occupancy Rate Used For Business Planning

For example, a boutique hotel may find that during the summer months, occupancy rates soar due to tourist influx, necessitating the need for extra staff to handle the increased workload. This could involve hiring seasonal workers or increasing the hours of current employees to ensure that guests receive prompt and attentive service.

On the flip side, during the winter months, when occupancy rates typically dip, the same property might scale back its staffing, focusing on essential services and maintenance tasks, thereby reducing operational costs without compromising on quality.

This strategic approach to managing occupancy rates, through pricing, marketing, and staffing, is especially critical for small or independent properties. These businesses often operate with tighter budgets and less room for error, making the effective management of resources imperative for sustained success and growth.

In Conclusion

Mastering the calculation and application of occupancy rates enables hotel managers and hospitality professionals to steer their businesses toward greater profitability and sustainability. We encourage our readers to apply the insights shared in this guide to enhance their business model and invite feedback on strategies that have worked for you. Together, we can redefine success in the hospitality industry.

This deep-dive into occupancy rate calculation and its impact on hotel business planning is just the beginning. For those keen to explore further, there are numerous resources and tools available designed to simplify and enhance this crucial process. Engage with us in the comments, share your experiences, and let’s continue to learn and grow together in this dynamic industry.

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About the author

Kendra, the Marketing Content Manager at Preno, brings her expertise in Marketing and Communications to help hoteliers stay ahead of the curve. With a deep passion for the industry, she is committed to providing valuable insights and strategies for success.

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