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Accommodation Survey: November 2012
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  17 January 2013
Data quality

Period-specific information
This section contains data information that has changed since the last release.

General information
This section contains information that does not change between releases.

Period-specific information

Response rates

Response rates by accommodation type for October 2012
Accommodation type Establishments responding to questions on guest nights, guest arrivals, and stay unit nights Proportion of guest-night estimate from actual data Proportion of origin-of-guest estimate from actual data
Hotels 81 89 77
Motels 83 85 71
Backpackers 77 82 71
Holiday parks 79 83 76
Total 82 86 74
Response rates for Canterbury for October 2012
Total 80 84 72
Source: Statistics NZ

When businesses do not answer questions in the Accommodation Survey, Statistics NZ estimates the missing information based on data from similar establishments in the same or similar regions.

See Accuracy of the data, or contact Statistics NZ, for more information. 

General information

Data source

We collect data from accommodation providers or their representatives each month, mostly via a postal survey.


The Accommodation Survey covers most short-term commercial accommodation in New Zealand. The accommodation types included are:

  • hotels
  • motels
  • backpacker accommodation
  • holiday parks.

The following are excluded:

  • hosted accommodation (such as ‘bed & breakfast’ establishments) 
  • marine vessels (such as cruise ships)
  • private dwellings
  • tramping huts 
  • event-specific accommodation (such as temporary campervan parks).

The target population for this survey is all 'geographic units' (called 'establishments' in this publication) that are classified as short-term (less than one month) commercial accommodation providers operating in New Zealand.

The target population is taken from ANZSIC06 (Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006) class 4400 (accommodation), and the part of class 4520 (pubs, taverns, and bars) that also provides accommodation.

We survey all short-term commercial accommodation-providing geographic units belonging to an economically significant business. Businesses are generally counted as economically significant if they are GST-registered and have a turnover of at least $30,000 per year.

Accuracy of the data

Survey errors

This survey aims for 100 percent coverage of the accommodation businesses in New Zealand (a full census). However, in practice, an overall response rate of between 76 and 80 percent is usually achieved. Statistics NZ estimates values for the remaining units based on the characteristics of similar establishments in the same or similar regions. This introduces unknown errors into the estimates, and users of the data should bear this in mind. The size of these unknown errors is difficult to quantify.

Other errors include respondent error, and errors in coverage, classification, and processing. While every effort is made to minimise these errors, they will still occur. It is not possible to quantify their effect. 

Consistency with other periods

Survey changes

In the October 2007 survey month:

  • domestic and international guest night statistics became available monthly instead of quarterly
  • statistics for origin of guests by country were available for the last time.

In the September 2009 survey month:

  • the 'hosted' accommodation group was removed from the survey
  • regional boundaries were updated.

Results for earlier months were reworked to incorporate these changes, which allows continued comparison across all survey months.

Two accommodation types were renamed:

  • 'backpackers/hostels' was renamed 'backpackers'
  • 'caravan parks/camping grounds' was renamed 'holiday parks'.

These changes are the result of a joint review conducted by Statistics NZ and the former Ministry of Tourism, which aimed to balance the need for high-quality information against the need to reduce respondent load.

Interpreting the data

Classification of accommodation type

The predominant capacity provided by a business determines the accommodation type. For instance, if it provides both motel and camping ground accommodation, but the majority of its stay units are motel rooms, then it would be classified as a motel. We used the New Zealand Accommodation Classification, broadly defined below:

  • hotels: includes both hotels and resorts
  • motels: includes motor inns, apartments, and motels
  • backpackers: includes hostels
  • holiday parks: includes caravan parks and camping grounds.

For more information, contact

Trend estimates

For any series, the survey estimates can be broken down into three components: trend, seasonal, and irregular. While seasonally adjusted series have had the seasonal component removed, the trend series have had both the seasonal and the irregular components removed. Trend estimates reveal the underlying direction of movement in a series, and are likely to indicate turning points more accurately than seasonally adjusted estimates.

The accommodation trend series are calculated using the X-12-ARIMA seasonal adjustment package. They are based on optimal moving averages of the seasonally adjusted series, with an adjustment for outlying values. The X-12-ARIMA package is an updated version of X-11-ARIMA, developed by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The trend estimates towards the end of the series incorporate new data as it becomes available, and can therefore change as more observations are added to the series. Revisions can be particularly large if an observation is treated as an outlier in one month, but is found to be part of the underlying trend as further observations are added to the series. All trend estimates are subject to revisions each month, but normally only the last two or three estimates are likely to be substantially altered.

Differences between trend estimates and month-on-month comparisons

Trend estimates reveal the underlying direction of the movement in a series. In contrast, comparisons between one month and the same month in the previous year(s) do not take account of data recorded in between these periods, and are subject to one-off fluctuations. Reasons for fluctuations include changes in the timing of holidays, international crises, and large sporting and cultural events.

Seasonally adjusted estimates

The X-12-ARIMA package has been used to produce the seasonally adjusted estimates referred to in the 'Commentary' text. Seasonal adjustment aims to eliminate the impact of regular seasonal events. These may be due to climatic effects (such as more guests staying in camping grounds during the summer) or calendar effects (such as holidays). This makes the data for adjacent months more comparable. All seasonally adjusted figures are subject to revision each month.

Seasonal adjustment in Statistics New Zealand has more information.


Statistics NZ produces national and regional statistics from a monthly survey of accommodation businesses. We do not release information about individuals or individual businesses.

More information

See Information about the Accommodation Survey.


While all care and diligence has been used in processing, analysing, and extracting data and information in this publication, Statistics NZ gives no warranty it is error-free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use directly, or indirectly, of the information in this publication.


Our information releases are delivered electronically by third parties. Delivery may be delayed by circumstances outside our control. Statistics NZ does not accept responsibility for any such delay.

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