In this article it is argued that the formulation of planning policy for tourism in general, and the hotel industry in particular, requires detailed information on the temporal characteristics of visitor flows in relation to the capacity of the industry to accommodate them. In this light, a detailed analysis is performed on weekly fluctuations in visitor flows to hotels in Yorkshire and Humberside, as revealed by daily occupancy returns in 99 hotels over the study period. Clear temporal and spatial patterns are identified and linked with differences in market orientation, between areas, between hotels and between different seasons. Stepwise regression analyses relating occupancy performance to a range of hotel characteristics confirms the importance of market orientation and identifies other correlates of weekly occupancy pattern. Finally, the marketing and planning implications of the results are discussed, and different marketing options for improved occupancy performance are outlined.