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SAM Magazine—Winter Park, Colo., Sept. 15, 2022—Ongoing growth and strength in daily room rates continued to defy expectations at Western mountain destinations in August, while the booking pace reversed eight consecutive months of declines and exceeded the pace set in both August 2019 and 2021, according to the monthly report from DestiMetrics, part of the business intelligence division of Inntopia. DestimetricsHNWeb

The combination of strong rates and an uptick in bookings has bolstered the destinations’ chances for a strong end-of-summer finish and laid a good foundation for the upcoming winter ski season. The latest aggregated results for 17 mountain destinations in seven Western states includes data through Aug. 31. 

For the month of August itself, occupancy was down five percent this summer compared to last August. But the average daily rate (ADR) was up five percent, and revenues were essentially flat. For the full summer, May through October, occupancy and reservations were down a modest 5.3 percent compared to summer 2021, as of Aug. 31. September was projected to be the only month showing an increase. ADR is up 4.6 percent, while revenues declined 0.9 percent.

“Aggregated revenues for summer 2022 will completely dwarf the pre-pandemic summer record of 2019, although they will be understandably lower than the dramatic reopening surge in 2021,” said Tom Foley, senior vice president of business intelligence for Inntopia.

The turnaround in the pace of bookings is an encouraging sign. “Although the booking pace gains versus 2019 are modest at just 4.9 percent, finally seeing a reversal of the negative trend that we’ve been tracking since January is considered a big positive change," Foley said. “Perhaps the most encouraging indicator is that occupancy is looking relatively flat for the coming winter, even as room rates continue to climb, and at this early stage, the current revenue numbers look impressive for lodging properties.”

As of Aug. 31, reservations for November 2022 through February 2023 were down a slight 0.8 percent compared to this time last year, an improvement from just a month earlier. November and December are currently down compared to last year, but January and February are showing healthy increases. And once again, ADR rose markedly, up 13.6 percent compared to last year at this time. 

While inflation and rising interest rates could dampen some aspects of the economy, consumers' “purchasing plans are up and vacation intentions have reached an eight-month high that will likely support the ongoing record-high room rates,” Foley predicted.