Destination Visits Strong, and Getting Stronger

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SAM Magazine—Breckenridge, Colo., April 16, 2014—Occupancy and revenue remained on an upward trend at destination resorts through March, according to Denver-based DestiMetrics. Results varied with the weather for the three major regions covered in the firm’s monthly report. But strong summer reservations across all three regions foretell another record summer for mountain resort destinations.

DestiMetrics data are derived from a sample of approximately 300 property management companies in 31 mountain destination communities across six western and six eastern states plus one Canadian province (Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Massachusetts and Quebec).

For the season as a whole, Western resorts (Rocky Mountain region and Far West combined) showed an aggregated 4.5 percent increase in occupancy compared to last season, and a 10.6 percent increase in revenue. Participating Eastern resorts posted an aggregated 3 percent increase in occupancy and a 3.8 percent gain in revenue. April visitation is not expected to significantly alter those figures.

Not that everyone shared in the overall bounty. “There were wide variances in occupancy between the three areas that are best explained by the weather anomalies that affected the different regions and destinations,” said Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics. “Warm and dry conditions in the Far West created negative momentum for most of the season, while bitter cold temperatures and intense snowstorms delivered challenges as well as benefits to many of our participating resorts in the East. In the Rockies, consistent snowfall throughout the season had a positive impact on visitation.”

DestiMetrics’ forward-looking indicators show positive momentum for summer. Increased emphasis on summer activities and events at mountain destinations is expected to drive increases in occupancy and revenue. Bookings as of March 31 show western resorts posting a 12.8 percent gain in revenues compared to last summer (May through October). Gains in the East are more pronounced, with bookings up 20.5 percent compared to summer 2013.

“As we leave winter behind and look forward, we see continued economic strength and know that summer is less weather-dependent than winter,” says Garrison. “Mountain destinations that shift into summer operations with a robust lineup of summer activities and special events have the opportunity to diversify their economic base that can add operational revenue to their bottom line while attracting new guests to their destinations,” he concluded.