Western U.S. mountain destinations are moving toward record lodging sales based on booking patterns and economic indicators for the 2014-15 winter season, according to the most recent data released by DestiMetrics.*
As of Jan. 31, 97 percent of all revenues received last season have already been collected or are on-the-books between now and the end of the season, according to DestiMetrics latest monthly report. At the current pace, the final tally is expected to put revenues more than 10 percent ahead of last year and 4.6 percent above the pre-recession record established in the 2007-08 season.
As of Jan. 31, aggregated results for the 19 participating resorts in six western states showed an 8.7 percent increase in occupancy compared to the same time last year with Rocky Mountain destinations (Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming) showing an eight percent increase, while the Far West resorts in California, Nevada, and Oregon, have seen a 15.2 percent increase in occupancy compared to the same time last year.
Corresponding revenues have been even stronger with the Rockies up 14 percent while the Far West is reporting a 15.6 percent boost.
“Even though there are still nearly three months of the winter season remaining, destination guest visitation can be anticipated through season’s end based on analysis of advanced booking patterns that are trending well above the past few years,” reported Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics. “Our end-of-season projections show that while seasonal occupancy still lags behind the 07-08 pre-recession record by 0.4 percent, lodging rates are expected to be up significantly enough to generate the overall increase of 4.6 percent in revenues to a new aggregated all-time high.”
Skier visits on track for average year: Garrison noted that higher lodging revenues don't necessarily translate to higher skier visitation.
“While the improving economy is benefitting all regions and areas, weather conditions, snowfall and related snowmaking add variability on a regional and local level. The impact of weather on destination visitation is modest compared to the impact it has on daily lift ticket sales which tend to correlate more directly with weather. However, according to ski association executives polled at last month’s Assembly, skier visits appear to be on track for an average year in the range of 57 million visits,” he summarized.
The January booking pace lends further support to the positive season-end projections. Short-term bookings with reservations made in January for arrival in the same month were up 7.9 percent compared to the same time last year while longer-term bookings made in January for arrival through the end of the season were up a robust 10.8 percent.
“Positive ‘snow equity’ from last season and a brisk early season booking pace has been sustained through January, despite some erratic weather patterns,” observed Garrison.
“The economy also made some significant steps forward in both job creation and consumer confidence and if the weather patterns continue delivering steady doses of snow on a regular basis, we’re confident this upward trajectory in mountain bookings will continue and deliver an overall all-time record for revenue in the 2014-15 season,” concluded Foley.
*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.