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Trends Can Facebook’s “were here” metric be used to predict hotel occupancy?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

Over the years Facebook has tried a few approaches to quantify foot traffic to physical locations. One such number is what’s referred to as a page’s “were here count” (also known as “check-ins” in Facebook’s API). A combination of various flags that suggest visits to this company’s real-world presence, we wanted to see how this number compared with broad trends in occupancy. Here’s what we found.

The Goods
To find our answer we looked at average daily check-ins for 10,000 U.S. hotels between August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016. The most consistent curve to act as a comparison appeared to be days of the week, so we then grouped these averages by day and plotted the results below.

checkins-vs-occupancy

The hotels in our sample averaged approximately 13 new check-ins per day with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday coming in above average. Monday through Thursday all fell below that line. Daily check-ins peaked at just under 20 for Saturdays.

What This Means
At a glance, this appears to be a semi-accurate indicator as many hotels do, in fact, see an uptick in weekend occupancy. The initial exception being that because check-ins can happen on either side of a night, Sunday stays high in this chart when occupancy dips significantly.

But STR’s research suggests that “upscale chains, which tend to be located in Suburban locations, displayed high occupancy Monday through Thursday and a significant drop off on the weekends.”

What’s interesting about this indicator is that no matter what subset we looked at – luxury hotels, downtown hotels, airport hotels, resort hotels, hotels with conference facilities – the trend nearly identical. What this suggests to us is that check-ins may predict occupancy, but likely only for general-population weekend guests rather than weekday, business, or upscale travelers.

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