Early snowfall sparks early season bookings
WINTER PARK — Anticipation for the upcoming winter season is building as evidenced through the bookings at local reservation companies.
“As a community, we are looking at about 12.7 percent ahead of last year’s reservations for the upcoming six months in occupancy,” said Sue Neumann, director of the call center for Winter Park Central Reservations.
“It’s a good indicator that it is looking pretty good and it is still early.”
With early snows fueling the reservations and a good snow outlook being reported in the Farmers Almanac, reservations should continue to come, according to Neumann.
“Every time it snows, the phones start ringing,” she said.
The central reservations department for Winter Park handles around 18 to 20 percent of all of the bookings for the area. Other reservation companies have been reporting much the same activity with some saying their properties are already nearly full for the end of December, a time of very high traffic as visitors flood the local towns during the holidays.
Winter Park Lodging Company is one of the companies that reported being nearly full for the holidays, with only a few properties left to be filled.
Destination West at Beaver Village also reported pacing ahead of last year’s reservations from the same time last year.
“We seem to be looking pretty good,” said Renee Cook, assistant manager at Pinnacle Lodge. “As of now they are not looking as good as last year but a lot of people don’t make reservations until the day before.”
“We are looking forward to a good winter,” she said.
Another factor that Neumann says could be affecting reservations was an uptick in reservations during the spring of this year.
“We had a good spring, which usually launches us into a good advance booking for this year,” Neumann said.
Last year’s reservations were coming in a little slow around this time of year, she said, due to a lackluster snow year in 2011.
Another factor that could be helping to draw in more reservations is an increase in marketing efforts from the resort and lodging companies.
“The community as a whole is working really well together to extend our marketing reach,” she said.
Many of the lodging companies are cooperating to create a more extensive and far reaching marketing program, including Winter Park Resort, which recently unveiled its new marketing campaign.
“We have a lot of energy going,” Neumann said. “And cooperative energy is always a big thing for everyone involved.”
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334
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