Western mountain destinations post record-breaking bookings for March | SkyHiNews.com

Western mountain destinations post record-breaking bookings for March

Sky-Hi News staff report
Winter Park Resort is seen from the gondola in this newspaper file photo. As the 2020-21 ski season winds down, data is showing a gradual comeback for lodging properties at Western mountain destinations.
Sky-Hi News file photo

Predictions that the U.S. is poised for a roaring comeback once the pandemic subsides could be aided by the most recent report produced by a company that measures booking rates at Western mountain destinations.

Boosted by a ramp-up in COVID-19 vaccinations and falling case rates, the company has found that lodging at Western mountain destinations is clawing back going into the last two months of the winter season.

According to the most recent Mountain Market Briefing from DestiMetrics, the business intelligence division of Inntopia, heightened vaccinations and falling infections have encouraged an deluge of short-term bookings for the remaining weeks of the ski and snowboard season.

The 2020-21 ski season has been a struggle for many lodging properties, but bookings made in February for arrivals in March set an all-time record this year.

The aggregated results include data covering occupancy, daily rates and revenues through Feb. 28. Along with other Colorado ski towns, Winter Park has a number of properties funneling data into the firm’s totals.

The surge in late bookings will certainly come as a welcome sign for local lodging properties, but the company cautioned that any spike is unlikely to make up losses experienced earlier this winter.

“While the late-season burst is providing a welcome boost to properties, winter results are likely to fall short of the 2019-20 season that was abruptly cut short by the pandemic, and well below the last full winter season of winter 2018-19,” the company’s market briefing reported.

Still, in a year-over-year comparison, bookings made in February for arrival within the month were up a dramatic 129.4% while bookings for arrivals in March were up 31.7% and April up 15.1%.

Though the trend is optimistic for May and June arrivals, analysts expect those to turn around in the coming weeks as consumers shift their vacation planning away from the waning winter season and to the summer, the briefing added.

In a year-over-year comparison, actual occupancy for the month was down 18.1% and the Average Daily Rate was down 8.9%. The decline in occupancy delivered a 25.4% decrease in revenues for the month.

Despite the decreases, the declines were reported to be “less down” than they were in January, signaling the continued gradual comeback at Inntopia’s participating lodging properties.

“Although year-over-year occupancy, rates and revenue remain down sharply compared to last winter, the dramatic decline in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths coupled with good snowfall in many regions helped to drive strong bookings and incremental fill during the past month,” Senior Vice President for Business Operations and Analytics for Inntopia Tom Foley said in a statement.

As western mountain resorts approach the finish line of this year’s ski season, it is with more opportunity and positive momentum than they have had for almost exactly a year, he continued.

However, Foley cautioned that uncertainties concerning the coronavirus variants and spring break travel could imperil the fledgling recovery.

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