Holidays setting up to be joyous for Park City’s lodging industry |

Holidays setting up to be joyous for Park City’s lodging industry

Bookings are trending above last year’s numbers

There may not be quite as many people in town on Christmas Day as last year in Park City, but it is still shaping up to be a happy holiday season for the lodging industry.

Bill Malone, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said the latest data from the beginning of the month indicates reservations were lagging slightly behind last year’s pace for Christmas Eve on Saturday, Christmas and the day after the holiday. However, starting Dec. 27, bookings through the first week of January were trending up, outpacing last year’s mark.

“Overall, it’s really good,” Malone said. “It’s really strong for the holidays.”

A number of factors are likely contributing to the strong numbers. For one, the town is capitalizing on the momentum from last season, which saw a record number of skiers visit Utah’s slopes and buoyed Park City’s performance. Malone said people, recalling fond memories from last year, were eager to come back for an early-season vacation. Many booked reservations months ahead of time.

“A lot of it is that,” he said. “The public has such a strong confidence in our product. That ability for people to book these days over the Christmas holiday months in advance, without having seen a snowstorm or a weather forecast, speaks of all the investments the resorts have made in snowmaking over the years. Now, they’re going to be even more pleased because they’re going to get here and there’s lots of natural snow.”

After the holidays, bookings will remain strong. Malone said reservations are tracking ahead of last year throughout the season. That’s a good trend that could be boosted further by the early season’s strong showing. Malone said visitors early in the year go home and spread the word about their vacations, prompting their friends and family to come to town later in the season.

Of course that model only holds true, he said, if the town delivers excellent experiences for the guests.

“Their experiences during the holidays are critical because they go back to their offices after the holidays and talk about their vacations,” he said. “If they got snow, and their ski experience was good, it’s kind of like bragging around the water cooler. It does a lot for the rest of the season. There’s still a lot of business that needs to be booked between now and the rest of the season. It is critical that these people go back with a positive story to tell.”

Malone was optimistic visitors will leave with plenty of great stories to tell. He said that, despite warm temperatures persisting deep into November, there’s been enough snowfall to make the slopes pristine and to allow the resorts to open most of their runs. That, as much as anything, will make it a merry Christmas for people who booked a holiday vacation in Park City.

“I think the snow came at the perfect time,” he said. “The resorts have had plenty of time to get all the grooming done that needs to be done and the people lined up so people are skiing on all the available terrain and riding all the available lifts. I think the timing worked out really, really well for us.”

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