Report: Overnight visits down, revenue up at US mountain resorts last summer
A combination of lower occupancy and higher rates that started in winter for overnight visits at mountain resorts has continued through the summer months, industry data showed.
Lodging figures released on Friday, Sept. 15, revealed occupancy was down 0.5 percent for May through August of 2017 when compared with May through August of 2016. That marked the first summer seasonal decrease in six years, the monthly DestiMetrics Market Briefing report found.
Dragging down the visitor figure was a weak August, in which occupancy was down 1.2 percent when compared with August 2016.
Conversely, total revenue among participating mountain resorts in eight western states was up 7.5 percent from the same period a year ago. The increase in revenue was the result of higher, average daily room rates in the western states, which consist of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
“There has been a fundamental shift in lodging performance patterns that was slow to emerge coming out of mid-winter, but is now firmly established,” said Ralf Garrison, an adviser to Innotopia for DestiMetrics, in a statement.
Innotopia, a Vermont-based business intelligence company, acquired DestiMetrics earlier this year.
“The is the first summer since 2009 that we’ve seen industry wide year-over-year declines in occupancy although strong gains in rate have kept revenues well above previous year’s figures,” he added.
The report also hints at a soft winter season, as bookings made in August for the six-month period of August 2017 to January 2018 were down 10.6 percent when compared with the same six-month period last year.
Further muddling the outlook were bookings for key months of December 2017 and January 2018, which were down 16.7 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively, when compared with the same months a year earlier.
“There are several potential forces that may be contributing to the sluggish occupancy in recent months, led by increases in room rate but other variables such as available inventory compared to previous years may also be playing a role,” said Tom Foley, vice president of business intelligence for Innotopia, in a statement.
“And, looking ahead, the catastrophic damage from Hurricane Harvey, particularly in the Houston area which is home to many destination skiers and snowboarders for Colorado and Utah resorts, may also impact mountain travel in those destinations this winter. However, it is unlikely that Harvey played a role in the August booking pace numbers.”