Denver, Aug. 17, 2016—Along with a steady march toward a fifth consecutive record for aggregated lodging occupancy and revenues at western mountain resorts this summer, the destinations participating with the Denver-based DestiMetrics* program are also approaching occupancy figures that rival winter levels as reported in the most recent Mountain Market Briefing distributed earlier today.
“Occupancy rates for summer 2015 reached 92.5 percent of occupancy rates for the winter of 2015/16, indicating nearly identical room utilization between the two seasons,” explained Tom Foley, operations director for DestiMetrics. “As we track occupancy figures that are likely to set another record in the summer of 2016, we’ll look for that gap between summer and winter occupancy to get even closer. But although summer occupancy figures are strong and growing steadily, the Average Daily Rate (ADR) for summer compared to winter is not at the same level. With summer ADR at about 57 percent of winter ADR, the bulk of revenue for mountain resorts continues to come from the winter season,” Foley clarified.
While the summer calendar had only reached the halfway point as of July 31, the booking season is almost entirely complete with 96.8 percent of all revenue booked for summer 2015 now already on-the-books for this summer–with three months to go. In a year-over-year comparison to last year, overall occupancy for the summer is up 7.4 percent and revenues are up a whopping 14.3 percent. The months of May and September are seeing the biggest bump in occupancy while both of those months, along with July, are enjoying the largest increases in revenues.
Figures for the month of July alone made a solid contribution to the summer scorecard with occupancy up five percent and revenues up a dramatic 11.6 percent compared to the same time last year.
“As we watch yet another summer season shape up for the record books, we’re delighted to see that the ‘season of opportunity’ that we first discussed in depth at the ASSEMBLY 2013 is materializing with consistent growth and strength,” reflected Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics. “The summer and shoulder season months have clearly emerged as destination periods in their own right and these mountain resort communities are now positioned as bonafide year-round destinations when not so long ago they were viewed almost solely as ski towns,” he added.
However, the pace of bookings during the month of July for reservations for arrival in all upcoming months actually declined 7.9 percent compared to last July. Part of that dip is attributed to longer lead-times for vacationers who booked their mountain holidays earlier than in recent years, leaving less availability and fewer opportunities for last- minute reservations.
Partial credit for the robust summer lodging activity was also given to the performance of the US domestic economy in July as reported in the Briefing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time high and was up 2.8 percent from June while employers added an impressive 285,000 new job during the month. The Consumer Confidence Index, which has waffled up and down for the past 12 months, was essentially flat, declining a slight 0.1 point and revealing that consumers continue to feel positive about current economic conditions.
“Mountain resort communities have been working hard to grow the summer and fall season and are being rewarded with a much greater level of interest and visits to these communities,” said Garrison. “Their efforts are proving to be very successful and we expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future,” concluded Garrison.
*DestiMetrics tracks resort performance in mountain destinations, compiling forward-looking reservation data on a monthly basis and aggregating and reporting the results to subscribers at participating resorts. Data for western resorts is derived from a sample of approximately 290 property management companies in 19 mountain destination communities, representing approximately 27,500 rooms across Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming and may not reflect the entire mountain destination travel industry. Results may vary significantly among/between resorts and participating properties.