SAM Magazine—Denver, Feb. 20, 2020—Despite widely-reported exceptional skiing and riding, lodging occupancy is slipping year-over-year at many Western resorts, according to the most recent Market Briefing released by DestiMetrics from Inntopia. However, rates continue to creep up, allowing lodging properties to maintain healthy revenue results.
The Briefing is based on data from 300 lodging properties in 18 western mountain communities through Jan. 31.
For the month of January, occupancy was down 1.8 percent compared to last January, while the average daily rate (ADR) was up 2.5 percent for the month. Overall, lodging properties eked out a 0.7 percent increase in revenues for the month.
The booking pace in January showed similar results. Bookings made for arrivals in the months of January through June were down a slight 0.7 percent compared to last year at this time. Bookings were down for arrivals in January and March, but up for arrivals in April and June.
January’s results are consistent with the full winter picture. Actual occupancy and reservations for November through April are down a slight 0.9 percent compared to last winter. Occupancy declines are being posted for every winter month except April, which is up a dramatic 20.2 percent. In contrast, aggregated ADR for the winter is up a healthy 3.9 percent, with gains in every winter month and strong gains in the crucial months of December, January and February. Properties are on pace for a 3 percent gain in winter revenues.
“We are seeing several dichotomies emerge ... when we look beyond just the lodging performance to other key measurements for mountain communities, such as retail sales and revenues,” said Tom Foley, senior vice president of business operations and analytics for Inntopia. Despite an apparent increase in total resort visitation (fueled in part by growth in by-owner rentals), "retail sales show early signs of slowing,” Foley noted.
In all, the indicators suggest a solid season. “Economic and snow conditions at western resorts are fantastic this year, and with the Easter holiday landing when many resorts are still open, it is quite likely that with that surge of late-season visitors, this will be another record year for revenue,” Foley said. “Although we have some concerns about the trend of sliding occupancy and what it may signal, for now, there is much to be celebrated in mountain communities this season.”