South Lake Tahoe hotels, motels report strong bookings for holidays |

South Lake Tahoe hotels, motels report strong bookings for holidays

Annie Flanzraich

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Local lodging is booking up in preparation for the holidays in South Lake Tahoe, and proprietors thank the white gold on top of Tahoe’s mountains and on its streets.

Already Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Harveys Resort and Casino are at 100 percent occupancy beginning Saturday through Jan. 2, said spokesman John Packer.

“It’s great news due to the snow,” he said.

MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa is looking at an occupancy upwards of 90 percent from Christmas to New Years, spokesman Mike Donovan said.

“We’ve seen bookings pick up,” Donovan said. “I think the snow definitely helps. Whenever you have a market like Lake Tahoe it’s a big snow destination.”

Other hotels and motels around the Stateline area are seeing occupancy levels at about 75 percent for Christmas, said Jerry Bindel, South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association president.

“The folks down at the Stateline area and those with the real close location to the gondola were out of the gates a little stronger than other parts of town,” Bindel said.

Those resorts could hit 100 percent occupancy for New Years Eve as people begin to book rooms closer to their arrival dates, Bindel said.

“This latest snowfall has really helped peak the interest,” Bindel said. “People are very careful about how they spend their money and do not want to come up here if there are not good conditions.”

Lodging in other parts of South Lake Tahoe near Ski Run Boulevard and Highway 50 are about at about 50 to 60 percent occupancy for Christmas and pushing full occupancy for New Years as well, Bindel said.

Reservations for mountain lodging properties as of Nov. 30 through the end of the season revealed the second month of growth compared to last year according to a monthly report compiled by the Mountain Travel Research Program.

The information for the study comes from a sample of 201 property management companies in 15 mountain destination communities, representing 22,000 rooms across Colorado, Utah, California, and British Columbia.

The organization reports that overall occupancy rose but still remains behind last year at this time and lodging rates have declined.

December reservations are currently down 3.7 percent compared to last December and December rates are down 9.1 percent compared to December 2008, according to the report.

While advance bookings for arrival in January and February led the positive pace in prior months, the trend appears to be spreading across each of the advance booking months (December to April) and is supported by the short-lead bookings that improved November occupancy.

“We just have to keep getting the word out that there is really great snow and early snow,” said Carol Chaplin, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority executive director.

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