Actual occupancy as well as reservations for the coming six months increased in January, according to most-recent data released by the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP).

As of Jan. 31, actual occupancy among participating resorts was up an aggregated 9.5 percent compared to last January, with the Average Daily Rate up 6.5 percent from January 2012.

The booking pace–the number of reservations taken in January for arrivals at resorts in January through June-was up 33 percent. February is currently up 14.5 percent compared to the same month last year while the ADR is up 3.2 percent. Aggregated on-the-books occupancy for the next six months is up 7.9 percent with increases measured in February, March, May, June and July.

The season-to-date figures had been marginally positive going into December but had yet to demonstrate the kind of momentum needed to deliver a good season for mountain resorts, said MTRiP director Ralf Garrison. But an improving economy and decent snow in many parts of the country combined to drive the pace of reservations taken in January to become the strongest weve seen in quite some time. Although there is still ground to be made up, the timing of Easter and school breaks is very favorable leaving only April pacing behind.

MTRiP’s data is derived from a sample of approximately 260 property management companies in 16 mountain destination communities, representing 24,000 rooms across Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, and Oregon.
With this dramatic increase in occupancy and reservations creating a crescendo of momentum, we anticipate solid destination performance for the season and very possibly, the best overall outcome since the winter of 2007-08, said Garrison.