Advanced reservations are up at most mountain destinations tracked by the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP).  For the month of May, actual occupancy for mountain lodging was up 5.6 percent with the Average Daily Rate (ADR) up 3.2 percent compared to May 2010.  And despite mixed economic indicators, the booking pace during the month of May for mountain properties also ticked up 2.8 percent compared to last May with increases in June, July, and August.

The data, which includes both historical and forward looking data as of May 31, reported that advanced reservations for June are currently up 6.7 percent.  And, for the upcoming six months (June through November) those occupancy figures are up 12.8 percent compared to the same time period last year.

The summer resort season, often slow out of the gates, is actually looking pretty good in many mountain destinations, reported Ralf Garrison, MTRiP director.  Despite dismal May weather and new and persistent economic concerns, most significantly fuel related costs, were seeing data that indicates that mountain destinations are off to a strong start and exceeding last summers pace.

In recent weeks, the economy slowed or stalled in many sectors.

 Economic recovery experienced a serious ‘check in May as many indicators halted in their tracks or declined-some for the first time in months, explained Tom Foley, MTRiP analyst.

The national unemployment rate increased in May, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined nearly two percent, the Consumer Confidence Index dropped nearly eight percent, and the Consumer Price Index was up slightly.  Despite the perception that these were sudden declines, according to Foley the stall in economic indicators wasnt all that sudden. Of the four prime contributors to the May declines, housing is the primary issue that markets are struggling to cope with.  While most sectors have displayed a slow but steady uptick over the past 18 months, housing has continued to decline sharply, Foley explained.

The positive mountain lodging data is in sharp contrast to current economic news.

The increases in both occupancy and daily rate bodes well for the coming summer and we are looking for this positive momentum to carry into July and August despite recent market down force, predicted Garrison. With plenty of special events scheduled and a leveling of fuel costs, we anticipate that the stay-cation pattern from the last several years will evolve into a close-cation movement driven by local and regional markets. For now, an attractive summer product in mountain resorts is overcoming economic uncertainty, at least in nearby drive markets, Garrison concluded.