Experimental statistics Booking accommodations on online platforms


Booking data from the online platforms of Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group and TripAdvisor are available for statistical evaluations for the first time.


Transaction data from platform operators are a new digital data source with the potential to extend the range of data offered by official statistics and to bridge data gaps. Accessing these data can not only help supplement existing (short-term economic) statistics but also show new economic developments such as the strongly growing collaborative economy. Data from platform operators are generally available in a digital form. If they are available earlier and more frequently than official statistical data, this will generally allow the statistical offices to improve timeliness and accuracy of existing statistics without burdening respondents.

Data availability

There is currently no general legal regulation at European or national level to access transaction data of platform operators. The European Commission therefore concluded a groundbreaking agreement in March 2020 with four accommodation platform operators - Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group and TripAdvisor - regarding the joint use of data. The agreement allows Eurostat and the statistical institutes of the Member States to evaluate and publish data on the use of accommodations for tourism.

Initial stituation of official tourism statistics

In official tourism statistics, figures are released on arrivals, overnight stays and capacities for hotels and holiday accommodation establishments with 10 or more beds and camping grounds with 10 or more camping pitches. The statistics have so far not provided detailed information on the segment of accommodation establishments with less than 10 bed places or camping pitches.

Data basis

The platform operators’ data provided by Eurostat are aggregated across the four platforms, refer to the years 2018 and 2019 and provide information on bookings (booked accommodations and overnight stays) of accommodations of NACE category 55.2. This refers to holiday dwellings, holiday homes or rooms, with little or no service offered, that is, many of the accommodations are let by private landlords. Hotels (NACE 55.1) and camping grounds (NACE 55.3) do not fall in this category and are therefore not contained in the data.

The booking data presented in this article provide information especially on the demand for accommodation in establishments with less than 10 beds. The reason is that 95% of the data relating to 2019 refer to establishments with less than 10 beds. This means that most of the data refer to establishments below the cut-off threshold of official tourism statistics. Data are available at national, regional and city level on the number of bookings, booked overnight stays and nights spents by visitors in 2019 as well as comparisons with 2018. Nights spent by visitors are comparable with overnight stays in official tourism statistics. “Bookings” and “booked overnight stays” are not covered in this form by official statistics. .

First results

1. All-German results

In 2019, the number of bookings in tourist accommodation establishments registered by the four platform operators was 4,604,000. That is an average of 12,614 bookings per day, 23.8% more than a year earlier. A total 63% of the bookings were made by visitors residing in Germany, and 37% by visitors residing abroad (see Figure 1).


Figure 1

The accommodations were booked for 16,543,000 nights in 2019. Accommodations were booked for an average 3.6 overnight stays. 38% of the overnight stays were booked by visitors residing abroad, and 62% by visitors residing in Germany (see Figure 2).


Figure 2

The number of nights spent by visitors was 39,957,000 in 2019. This is 18.4% more than a year earlier. On average, there were 109,471 nights spent by visitors per day. 62.6% of the nights were spent by visitors residing in Germany (+24.9%) and 37.4% by visitors residing abroad (+8.8%).

2. Results in the Länder

The Länder with most bookings in the accommodations offered by the four platform operators in 2019 were Bayern, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Baden-Württemberg. Most overnight stays were counted in Bayern, Berlin and Nordrhein-Westfalen. The average stay (4.7 nights) was longest in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (see Table 1). Most nights spent by visitors were recorded in Bayern, Berlin, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Baden-Württemberg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (59.8% of all nights spent by visitors in Germany). Visitors residing in Germany travelled mainly to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Bayern, Niedersachsen and Schleswig-Holstein. Visitors residing abroad booked mainly in Berlin, Bayern, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Baden-Württemberg.

Table 1: Bookings, overnight stays, average length of stay and nights spent by visitors, 2019
in total Germany and in the Länder
LänderNumber of bookings of accommodationsNumber of overnight stays bookedAverage length of stay (nights/accommodation)Nights spent by visitors
Germany4 604 00016 543 0003,639 957 000
Bayern771 0002 664 0003,56 314 000
Nordrhein-Westfalen609 0001 979 0003,24 482 000
Baden-Württemberg530 0001 842 0003,54 300 000
Berlin495 0002 026 0004,14 536 000
Niedersachsen380 0001 436 0003,83 689 000
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern318 0001 503 0004,74 268 000
Schleswig-Holstein290 0001 242 0004,33 285 000
Sachsen261 000781 0003,01 886 000
Hessen240 000779 0003,21 648 000
Rheinland-Pfalz200 000675 0003,41 718 000
Hamburg176 000533 0003,01 119 000
Brandenburg102 000355 0003,5967 000
Thüringen85 000246 0002,9600 000
Sachsen-Anhalt84 000262 0003,1682 000
Bremen42 000139 0003,3291 000
Saarland23 00081 0003,5172 000

3. Results in selected cities

The occupation data also provide information on bookings in cities of particular importance for tourism. The cities with the highest numbers of bookings in 2019 are Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Düsseldorf. The cities where most visitors residing in Germany booked an accommodation are Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich and Cologne. The cities most popular among visitors from abroad were Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg and Düsseldorf. Tourists (leisure and business travellers) stayed longest in Duisburg (average 4.8 nights per stay) and shortest in Erfurt (2.4 nights).

The cities with the highest numbers of overnight stays were Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne and Düsseldorf. These five cities account for 24.1% of all overnight stays in Germany. The numbers of nights spent by visitors, too, were highest in these cities. Travellers residing in Germany accounted for the largest share of all nights spent by visitors in Rostock (88.9%). In Berlin, travellers residing abroad accounted for the largest proportion of the nights spent by visitors (76.9%).

4. Nights spent by visitors by country of origin

Most overnight stays in domestic accommodations offered by the four platforms in 2019 were booked by travellers from Germany (62.6%), followed by travellers from the Netherlands (4.0%), the USA (3.7%), the United Kingdom (2.8%), France (2.6%) and Spain (1.8%) (see Figure 3).


Figure 3


The results show that transaction data from platform operators regarding accommodation have the potential to supplement official tourism statistics as they cover especially small accommodation establishments with under 10 beds.

Official tourism statistics for 2019 show a total 48,075,684 nights spent by visitors in holiday and other short-stay accommodation (NACE 55.2) with 10 or more beds. The transaction data from the four platform operators for 2019 show 39,957,000 nights spent by visitors in comparable holiday dwellings, holiday homes or rooms, irrespective of the accommodation size. However, in the transaction data from the four platform operators only 4% of the stays refer to larger units with 10 or more beds. It can therefore be concluded that just under 38.2 million nights spent by visitors in that category are not contained in official tourism statistics. It would thus be possible to add 38.2 million nights spent by visitors to official tourism statistics, regarding holiday and other short-stay accommodation, which would correspond to an extension by roughly 80%.

It should also be noted that the transaction data used come from just four platforms. It can be assumed that they do not cover the entire sector of accommodation with less than 10 beds per unit. To obtain a more precise picture of reality, more data from other platforms and also from traditional agencies must be available, which, however, is currently not the case.


The platform data can be a good complement to official statistics already today. However, permanent integration of such data into official statistics will require settling not only methodological issues but also questions of data receipt. It would be preferable if the data were available earlier than - or at least at the same time as - the official monthly data. Also, data supply from the platforms currently depends on agreements that have been concluded with the platform operators and are not based on a binding legal regulation. Integrating the data into official tourism statistics will require that permanent data access is put on a legal basis.


More information on the topic of accommodation and food service activities, tourism from official statistics