As revenue climbs in resort towns, experts urge caution
December 26, 2017
TRUCKEE, Calif. – A lack of snowfall in November did little to dampen the enthusiasm of visitors, who turned out in strong numbers at Western mountain resorts, industry data showed.
Lodging figures released Monday, Dec. 18, revealed occupancy was up 7.1 percent last month, when compared with the same period last year. At the same time, revenue was up 11.4 percent.
The data measures occupancy and revenue among 20 participating destination communities in eight Western states, which consist of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
Inntopia, a Vermont-based business intelligence company, which acquired DestiMetrics earlier this year, released the results in its monthly DestiMetrics Market Briefing.
The uptick in occupancy was welcomed news for the lodging industry.
"Considering that last month's data showed a year-over-year decline in occupancy compared to the previous year, the booking trends through Nov. 30 are definitely good news," said Tom Foley, vice president of business intelligence for Inntopia, in a statement.
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But the positive data was also tempered by a warning that similar snowfall totals in January would be bad news for lodging establishments.
"However, the key to a successful season depends largely on how December fares. Since there isn't a pre-Christmas school break this year, much of that business is shifting to the first week of January and if the snowfall fails to materialize, we can expect a reversal of this month's gains," Foley said.
The DestiMetrics Briefing also showed that occupancy for the full winter period — November through April — was up 2.8 percent with an increase in five of the six months. December marked the only decline.
November and April showed the largest gains while January, February, and March were up slightly although basically flat when compared with the same periods last year, the report found.
Also, when compared with last winter, the average daily rate was up 4.1 percent. That translated to an aggregated revenue surge of 7.1 percent for the season.
Bookings made in November for arrivals in the month were also up 23.2 percent, while bookings made for the six-month winter period were up 15.8 percent when compared with the same period last year.
"The establishment of a strong booking base early in the season and a shift to occupancy gains from the last month's declines, provides an insurance policy against potential weather or economic challenges later in the season," Foley said.
"However, all this data was collected through Nov. 30, and in the past two weeks trends may have started shifting based on both snowfall and the holiday schedule this year, so we are encouraging our participating lodging properties to monitor their booking patterns closely and make adjustments as needed."