SAM Magazine—Denver, Feb. 16, 2018—Meager snowfall at many western ski resorts through January led to a decline in winter occupancy for the first time in six years, while lodging properties maintained a tenuous hold on revenues, according to Inntopia’s monthly DestiMetrics Market Briefing.
As of Jan. 31, aggregated occupancy for January was down 4.4 percent while average daily rate (ADR) climbed 7.3 percent compared to January 2016. That correlated into a 2.6 percent increase in aggregated revenues year-over-year for January.
Looking ahead, bookings made in January for arrivals from January through June were down 15.4 percent, with bookings for January arrivals plunging 24 percent compared to last year. Aggregated occupancy for November through April is down 3.3 percent. As of Jan. 31, only the shoulder months of November and April were up for the winter season. However, aggregated ADR is up four percent compared to last winter, enabling revenues to eke out a 0.5 percent increase for the season despite declining occupancy.
“Occupancy has moved from being up slightly in November to essentially flat in December to measurably down as of Jan. 31 for the first year-over-year decline in winter season occupancy since 2011-12,” said Tom Foley, vice president of Business Intelligence for Inntopia.
The Briefing emphasized several key points as mountain destinations focus on the second half of the ski season. Notably, ADR gains are smaller than they were 30 days ago, but they are still holding at a level slightly above last year. However, aggregated revenues are moving down more quickly, as occupancy and ADR continue to slip.
“The majority of long-distance destination visitors who book well in advance and spend more money while on vacation have mostly made their plans for the remainder of the season, and we’re not expecting a lot of change in those numbers,” explained Foley. “But there is both opportunity and challenge for the remainder of the season for destinations as they work to attract regional visitors who operate on a shorter booking schedule, respond to snowfall and slope conditions more immediately, and are more competitive to capture.
“What we do know is that weather and economic indicators both still have the chance to influence the outcome of the ski season,” Foley concluded.