Destimetrics - Snow, Rates Drive Bookings At Western Resorts

A strong wave of mid-November snowfall from the Sierras to the Rockies gave winter bookings a boost at western mountain resorts. According to the DestiMetrics monthly Market Briefing, bookings made during the month of November for arrivals from November through April rose 12.8 percent compared to the same period last year. 

The DestiMetrics Market Briefing, part of the Business Intelligence division of Inntopia, tracks lodging performance from approximately 290 property management companies in 20 mountain destination communities in Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

Healthy snowfall triggered an immediate response, as bookings made during November for November arrival were up nearly 50 percent compared to the year-ago period. That activity led a 14.5 percent increase in actual occupancy for November. Combined with a 1.9 percent increase in the average daily rate (ADR), revenues gained 16.6 percent year-over-year.

Aside from the snow, said Tom Foley, senior vice president for the Business Intelligence division of Inntopia, some minor decreases in the ADR for some periods during the winter may also have played a role in the increase in bookings.

Most winter months benefitted from the November bookings surge. As of Nov. 30, aggregated occupancy for November through April is up 4.4 percent compared to last year. Two months continue to lag; December is down a slight 1.6 percent, April is down 11.1 percent. Those two months are also showing notable decreases in ADR, as lodging properties reduce rates to attract guests. As a result, December revenues are down 5 percent, with April down 15.5 percent. ADR in January and March are essentially flat. In sum, the data add up to a 3 percent revenue increase for the season.

The Briefing contains a caution on rates. It notes that modest rate reductions are playing a more significant role this year than in recent years. Rate sensitivity was first reported in December 2017 and January 2018, and is showing up again at the start of this year as more rate adjustments are being made.

“The 150-day rate trend from November through March is clearly downward," Foley said.

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