Market sizing

Market sizing
Edited on Aug 26, 2021
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 02, 2020

Hello guys. I came across the following market sizing question "estimate the number of hotels in a particular country". I do have a good idea on how to go about it, however my question lies in the potential segmentation of tourists. As you know, you need to find the number of hotels room required (demand side) so you would need to know the number of tourists.

You can have external tourists (international) and internal tourists (local), and within each category, you can further break it into business and leisure. Also a vice-versa segmentation would work. So I am slighly counfused on what segmentation could be best here in this case.

Any help would greatly be appreciated. thanks


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Content Creator
replied on May 03, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


As with every market sizing, there is not only one good answer, but plenty of them!

Some ideas:

  1. As you are proposing, estimating based on tourists, in this case:
    1. National tourists
    2. International tourists
  2. Other option could be to estimate the average number of hotels/hostels per neibourhoods, and then multiply per the total number of them
    • Here you would also need to make some clusters of areas with more or less hotels

On the other hand, I would also consider other options suchs as appartments of Airbnbs, unless the prompt sais specifically not to.

Hope it helps.



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Content Creator
updated an answer on Aug 26, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep


Remember that there's rarely a "best" answer with market sizing. What's important is that you break down the problem the way it makes sense to you. Importantly, break it down so that the assumptions you make are the ones you're most comfortable in.

For example, do you know all the major brands? Great go with that. Do you understand all the segments of that country's population (either age or wealth or job breakdown)? Go with that. Do you know the total market size of the tourism (or hotel) industry? Then break it down that way.

Given the way you've broken it down, maybe think about how you can break down the groups to figure out # of stays per year. I.e. x % of the population travels for business routinely (so, 4 days a week, 52 weeks a year). Another x % travels occasionally for business (work trips), so x weeks a year. And a final x % travels for vacation (x weeks a year). Then, given occupancy rates are normally around 80-90%, figure out how many nights (rooms) that represents, and the average # of rooms per hotel!

Take a look here for additional practice!


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Anonymous replied on May 03, 2020

Hi there,

As long as you have the right logic right, there could be more than one way to arrive at an answer. In this particular example you mentioned, either sequence can work, be it geo first then business vs leisure or the other way round.

Don't over think it. :)



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RUBEN replied on May 03, 2020
Junior Strategy Consultant, London - Looking for New Opportunities


I suggest to undertand well what the interviewer is expecting from you. Some of them they just see it as a little game and would be happy to see you making up some numbers on the supply side. For example, you know there must be more than 100 hotels in London. Is it reasonable to assume there might be 1000? Once you get that number, you can assume an average maximum capacity and get a quick answer.

If you have to offer a more developed answer, try to be creative and create bottlenecks. For example, in the case of London you could calculate how many passengers per day land on London´s airports. Assume there is only one runaway which only half of the time is used for landings. Do it yourself and calculate a number of passengers landing on London per day.

Then, to improve a little bit your numbers you can say that 1 out of 1,000 of the remaining population of the UK will have to travel to London. When you get all your numbers you can say that the average number of days that people stay in a hotel is 5. With all that data you can give a reasonable answer that it is not too complicated.

Do not forget to show them how "smart" you are. Mention AirBnbs, trains, ships, etc.., but get a reasonable number as fast as possible!


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Content Creator
replied on May 26, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience


I like your outlined appraoch

1. International Visitors - easiest to estimate tourists and then apply a % cut to get business

2. Domestic Travelers - same thing, easiest to estimate total travel and say 75% tourism and 25% business (or whatever number makes sense given the country)

The process to estimate can be either things you have read or things you know about the country. Any reasonable guess that has clear logic will be fine here.

In order to get to hotel rooms - you would have to make some assumptions. For example

  • Tourist occupancy - 2 to 4 per room (depending on family size) so pick a reasonable number
  • Business - safe to assume 1 per room on avg
  • Duration of stay
  • Time periods (e.g., business travelers prefer Mon-Thu and vacationers Fri-Sun)
  • Alternatives such as Airbnb if you want to make it complicated

Demand side works best for these types of market sizing question - supply side only works well if supply side is constrained. Here there is no reason for hotel supply to be constrained in any way

All the best,


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Clara gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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