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SAM Magazine—Denver, Sept.18, 2012—Summer occupancy at 16 western mountain resort destinations was higher than the previous two years, with increases in both occupancy and nightly revenue, according to the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP). August marked the fourth straight month of year-over-year occupancy increases. Early indications suggest this trend will continue through the fall and perhaps into the winter as well.

The MTRiP data are drawn from a sample of approximately 260 property management companies in 16 mountain destination communities across Colorado, Utah, California and Oregon.

Occupancy for August was up 5.4 percent, and the average daily rate (ADR) climbed 6.1 percent, compared to August 2011. As of Aug. 31, advance reservations for September were following a similar trend, with reservations up 5 percent. Lodging rates are down one percent from last September.

“This summer’s destination reservation activity is a continuation of a multi-year trend of ever-increasing occupancies in most mountain destinations,” said Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP. “And when we look back at the past six months, we saw increased occupancy in every month but March and April with increases in rate in all six months: good news for our mountain destinations.”

Advanced reservations for the coming winter are similarly optimistic. Based on MTRiP data collected through Aug. 31, year-over-year reservations for September through February 2013 are up 5.6 percent compared to the same period last year, with every month showing increases except December. ADR is down very slightly—0.3 percent for the period.

One cautionary economic development, MTRiP said, is rising gasoline prices, which could impact travel plans this coming winter.