Mountain Destinations in West Continue Summer Rebound

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SAM Magazine-Denver, July 19, 2011-In the most recent data compiled by the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP),* analysts found that despite current economic uncertainties, lodging occupancy in western mountain destinations continues to rise while nightly room and lodging rates remain flat, according to the most recent data compiled by the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP).

June occupancies rose 10.5 percent compared to 2010, while the average daily rate (ADR) inched up 1.6 percent. For the first six months of 2011, occupancy was up 4.7 percent while ADR was up 1.4 percent compared to 2010.

MTRiP data are derived from a sample of 265 property management companies in 15 mountain destination communities across Colorado, Utah, California, and Oregon.

"Despite ongoing turmoil in the broader market and more negative than positive economic news, we're still seeing that mountain vacations this summer are a good match for consumers," said Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP.

Data on the remainder of the summer also suggests occupancy growth will continue. As of June 30, on-the-books occupancy for July was up 9.5 percent, with ADR basically flat-up a scant 0.4 percent.

MTRiP data also indicate this trend will continue through the fall. Currently, on-the-books occupancy for July-December is up 7.2 percent from the same period in 2010, while ADR mirrors the trend of the past six months, a 1.3 percent increase.

Garrison cited good marketing tactics, a wide range of mountain-specific special events, and great value among the explanations for increases in mountain lodging in the midst of a still-struggling economy.

"Occupancy continues to increase over last year, in some cases now reaching or exceeding pre-recession levels, as marketers successfully attract travelers with discounted rates and value-add propositions," Garrison said. "On the whole, we anticipate the remainder of the summer to deliver more of the same, led by the established mountain destinations that are within a 'one tank trip' from urban locations," he added.