Park City ski season lodging numbers projected to drop as much as 66%
The Park City Chamber/Bureau on Monday outlined lodging projections for the core months of the ski season showing occupancy is expected to drop sharply in the December-to-March period, another grim reading on the winter and one that was released just days before the scheduled start of the ski season.
The Chamber/Bureau projections, compiled by a firm called Inntopia, show occupancy is projected to reach a high of 25% in December before cratering even further in the first three months of 2021.
The projections, crafted on Oct. 31, are:
• occupancy of 25% in December, down 18% from the projections made a year ago for the 2019-2020 ski season
• occupancy of 15% in January, down 66% from the projections made a year ago for the 2019-2020 ski season
• occupancy of 17% in February, down 59% from the projections made a year ago for the 2019-2020 ski season
• occupancy of 12% in March, down 51% from the projections made a year ago for the 2019-2020 ski season
The average daily rates, another important industry metric, are projected to be largely flat, even with the weak occupancy expectations. The Chamber/Bureau attributed the relative strength of the average daily rates to bookings of larger, more expensive units and properties remaining firm on pricing.
The Inntopia projections are based on a survey of 18 properties seen as providing a representation of the lodging industry, including hotels and firms that manage condominiums. The survey does not include properties rented by individual owners or rented through services like Airbnb.
There are wide-ranging concerns in Park City about the ski season amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus and the associated economic havoc. The spread of the illness forced an early end to the most recent ski season and the mountain resorts have created operational plans for the upcoming winter to comply with health guidelines and account for social distancing.
The Chamber/Bureau said it is difficult to gauge whether the occupancy projections will be accurate predictors of the actual numbers. It said the projections for the summer of 2020 also were weak before the actual numbers beat the forecasts. The Chamber/Bureau also said people are booking lodging much closer to their arrival date during the pandemic, meaning the numbers could rise as the ski season progresses with vacationers weighing their options based on the health situation.
The data from the Chamber/Bureau follows shortly after the Park City Area Lodging Association publicized a forecast showing an anticipated steep decline. The association said the occupancy of Park City-area traditional hotels is projected to drop by 20% from the previous ski season. Rates could decline between 10% and 12%, the association said. There have also been reports of reservation cancellations.
Lodging numbers are critical to a wide swath of Park City’s resort-driven economy since people staying in hotels or other categories of rented units typically also spend on meals, entertainment and recreation.
Various business sectors in Park City are preparing for what is expected to be a difficult ski season with the spread of the sickness continuing at the outset of winter. The coronavirus-forced shutdowns in the spring occurred toward the end of the 2019-2020 ski season, limiting the economic damage in that season. It seems likely the entire 2020-2021 ski season will unfold amid the pandemic, though.
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PCMR reservation system left some out in the cold, but resort says more spots will be available as terrain opens
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