Industry shocked as accommodation survey cancelled

Data will no longer be collected for the monthly Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM), known more commonly as the Accommodation Survey.

The monthly survey carried out by Stats NZ is an essential measure of guest volumes and movements, guest night numbers, capacity, and occupancy rates.

Stats NZ carried out the survey on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Stats NZ had begun using a new methodology to calculate this data.

Stats NZ wanted to charge MBIE more for their services to carry out the Accommodation Survey and collect other data.

MBIE was not prepared to pay the increased rate, and as a result, the Commercial Accommodation Monitor data will stop being collected in September.

“We understand that some groups may be disappointed by the loss of these surveys because they provide important market updates on their particular sectors,” said Denise McGregor, deputy government statistician, Stats NZ.

“But the world is changing rapidly. For example, the accommodation sector has been the advent of the sharing economy with online holiday-home providers such as Airbnb and BookaBach, which are not represented in the Accommodation Survey.”

Understandably, the industry is concerned with the sudden loss.

Holiday Parks New Zealand chief executive Fergus Brown said they were devastated. One-third of New Zealand’s commercial accommodation capacity is in the form of holiday parks, and now the sector won’t be able to measure its contribution to the New Zealand economy.

Brown said HPNZ’s 300 member parks were hugely disappointed by the loss of data.

“The Accommodation Survey information allows holiday parks to benchmark their performance against other similar parks and regions, and against other types of accommodation. There are no other official sources for this type of information,” said Brown.

“We cannot afford to be left without any measure of the sector’s performance. On behalf of all HPNZ members, I am calling on Stats NZ and MBIE to reverse this short-sighted decision.”

Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts agreed with Brown and said that while the CAM is not a perfect data resource, it has long been essential to measure visitor volumes and movements.

“CAM is an imperfect data set, and TIA has been calling for improvements for many years,” said Roberts.

“TIA has repeatedly sought assurances that the existing CAM will remain until a new and improved model has been tested and implemented.

“It is astonishing that a dispute between two government departments over who should pay has led to the demise of this key insight source.”

Roberts also highlighted the irony of the survey being pulled just as the Government released its New Zealand Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy, which includes the tentpole priority to provide better data and insight to support the industry.

“This decision flies in the face of that objective. Information is vital so we can track how tourism is contributing to communities across New Zealand. MBIE and Stats NZ must find a way to ensure the Commercial Accommodation Monitor continues until a suitable replacement is in place.”