Overall summer occupancy rates climb at western mountain destinations | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Overall summer occupancy rates climb at western mountain destinations

Kelsie Longerbeam & Wyatt Haupt Jr.
klongerbeam@sierrasun.com | whaupt@sierrasun.com

The view from below at Sugar Bowl Resort at Donner Summit, which offers plenty of skiing terrain.

Summer occupancy rates at western mountain destinations rebounded amid an uptick in bookings at resorts in September, an industry report showed.

Lodging figures released on Monday, Oct. 18, found occupancy edged up 0.1 percent for the April through October period, when compared with the same period in 2016. At the same time, revenue climbed 7.2 percent. The April through October period encompasses the summer season, as tracked by the monthly DestiMetrics Market Briefing report. Innotopia, a Vermont-based business intelligence community, acquired DestiMetrics earlier this year.

"Summer occupancy recovered in September driven by strong bookings, and the net result is that a summer season that seemed likely to miss a seventh consecutive occupancy record is now almost certainly going to finish with a positive gain thanks to October growth," said Tom Foley, vice president of Business Intelligence for Inntopia, in a statement.

"Although the increase in occupancy is very slight with gains in May, September, and October and declines in June, July and August, the Average Daily Rate continued to increase resulting in revenue increases for all six months."

For the month of September, occupancy was up 1.4 percent when compared with the same period last year. At the same time, revenue increased 7.3 percent at western mountain destinations, which are located in eight states — California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

On the downside, aggregated winter occupancy for the November through March period was down 1.1 percent, when compared with the same period a year earlier. Revenue was up 4.1 percent in the same period.

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"The trend of nearly flat occupancy and year-over-year increases in rate that emerged last winter and carried through the summer appears to be continuing into the upcoming winter," Foley said.

"Lodging properties are pursuing their revenue goals with rate increases with the expectation that higher rates will offset lower occupancy figures. In an industry that depends on the new visitation and growth for long-term sustainability, it will be interesting to monitor the effectiveness of this strategy but it is certainly working for them in this robust economy."

Economic indicators, which are often cited as an explanation for rising rates, also remained strong and stable for the month of September. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.1 percent for the fourth consecutive all-time monthly close, despite record-setting damage from storms in late August and September. The Dow was up 22.4 percent when compared with the same period last year.

"Despite the huge impact of hurricanes on several U.S. regions this autumn, consumer's assessment of current conditions remains favorable and their expectations are that the economy will continue to grow for the short term," Foley said.

Economic stability and consumer confidence has served the mountain destinations very well for the past several years and preliminary indicators of the coming winter suggest the trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

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