Several South Shore hotels are experiencing an increase in room reservations earlier in the season.
“The length of stay has lengthened, as has the lead time to make reservations,” TahoeChamber CEO B Gorman said.
Hotel reservations for the summer season rose for many businesses, she said, and the trend, in general, seems to be carrying over into the fall and winter seasons.
Pete MacRoberts, general manager of Holiday Inn Express, said he is expecting a very busy ski season.
“It’s picked up quite a bit earlier,” he said Thursday. “We didn’t expect to get that until the snow started to fall.”
The increase could be contributed to the lack of snow over the last two years, MacRoberts said, and the assumption that this year will yield better ski weather.
“With everything going on,” he said, “people are going to take that time to go skiing this year.”
However, it could also be caused by what appears to be an increase in international travel to the Lake Tahoe area, MacRoberts said. Holiday Inn Express has already seen more out-of-country reservations compared to the last few years.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “They’re booking now instead of waiting for the last minute.”
MacRoberts added that reservations at his hotel are back to where they were before the recession.
“We’re looking like we’re back to 2007 levels,” he said, “where that was the last good year.”
Gorman said signs of early hotel reservations are good for the local economy because they help keep room rates up. The higher the room rate, the more money that gets funneled into the city’s general fund through taxes.
But not all businesses are experiencing the same sort of increase this fall.
Rich Bodine, director of sales at Inn by the Lake, said summer reservations at the hotel increased significantly this year. In fact, the amount of reservations made in May for July was up 45 percent from the previous year.
“Over the summer that was definitely the case,” he said, “People were booking well in advance.”
However, winter reservations have remained relatively flat so far, Bodine said. And he doesn’t expect them to pick up until South Shore gets some snow.
“I think people are really trying to see what the ski conditions are,” he said.
The hotels may see differences in the number of reservations now, but both anticipate this summer’s bigger turnout to continue next year, they said.
And for Holiday Inn Express, those reservations are already coming in, Bodine said.
“Reservations are going way into next fall,” he said.