Summer spending at the country’s western mountain resorts set its fifth consecutive record in August as higher room rates continued to offset lower season-to-date occupancy, according to Denver-based DestiMetrics’s Mountain Briefing.
The summary includes hundreds of participating lodging properties at dozens of resorts in six states and stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Far West region.
As of August 31, aggregated occupancy for the six-month summer period from May through October was up 7.3 percent, while revenues enjoyed a striking 14.7 percent increase compared to the same time last year.
“As the summer winds down, the impressive momentum of the past several years hasn’t slowed down at all and the season is ending strongly with sustained increases in both occupancy and rates,” reported Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics. “A fifth consecutive summer record is virtually certain across most mountain destinations in the West.”
Although room nights booked for the summer of 2016 have not reached the total room nights recorded during last summer, room revenue has already surpassed last summer’s total amount due to higher rates. With 60 more days of bookings and actual occupancy remaining until the end of October, room night occupancy is also expected to top last year’s final tally.
Bookings for the upcoming 2015/16 winter season are still in their infancy, but as of August 31 the aggregated data among participating destinations revealed that compared to the same time last year, on-the-books occupancy through February 2017 is up 10.9 percent. Double-digit gains in occupancy are being reported in the four winter months currently being tracked (November through February) although the average daily rate for that time period is essentially unchanged compared to the winter of 2015. Through August 31, approximately 28 percent of all room nights booked for last season have already been booked for the upcoming season.
Economic indicators were also credited with keeping the summer booking pace moving, as the Consumer Confidence Index jumped up 4.6 percent during August to close at 101.1 points — the first time it has moved over the 100-point mark since September 2015. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was essentially flat in August, with a slight 0.15 percent decrease, but remained close to record highs. In the employment sector, the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent, with employers adding 151,00 new jobs during August.
“Recent reservation patterns in mountain destinations reflect the more confident consumer, and this mood has been a major contributor to this summer’s expected record,” observed Tom Foley, operations director for DestiMetrics. “Financial markets are close to record levels despite global and domestic volatility and an uncertain political environment at home. We expect that short-term indicators will remain strong with continued healthy job creation and the higher consumer confidence and spending that come with that,” he continued.
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.