Park City holiday lodging numbers off sharply from 2019
Chamber/Bureau sees a ‘solid performance’ given the circumstances
The day-by-day lodging occupancy projections in the Park City area during the crucial holiday stretch show numbers approaching 70%, off sharply from the same time in 2019 but not appearing to be devastating under the circumstances.
The report is based on a survey of 16 properties that represent a range of traditional lodging options like economy hotels, luxury hotels and short-term vacation rentals. The numbers, released by the Park City Chamber/Bureau, were compiled on Dec. 15, meaning bookings or cancellations since then are not included. The 2019 projections were compiled on Dec. 15 of that year.
According to the report, the occupancy projections by date are:
• 58% on Dec. 26, as compared to a 92% projection in 2019
• 62% on Dec. 27, as compared to a 93% projection in 2019
• 65% on Dec. 28, as compared to a 92% projection in 2019
• 67% on Dec. 29 as compared to a 90% projection in 2019
• 69% on Dec. 30 as compared to a 86% projection in 2019
• 68% on Dec. 31 as compared to a 80% projection in 2019
• 61% on Jan. 1 as compared to a 71% projection in 2019
There is typically movement in the numbers by date on a year-over-year basis depending on which day Christmas and New Year’s fall. The actual numbers in 2019 tracked closely with the projections that year.
Lodging options like properties rented by individual owners or rented through services like Airbnb are not included in the report.
The stretch between Christmas and New Year’s is typically one of the busiest times of the ski season, but the continued spread of the novel coronavirus is expected to sharply cut into tourism numbers. The holidays are seen as the first stretch of the winter when the impact will be clear since early-season skiers and snowboarders are more likely to hail from Utah than from outside the state like Christmas-to-New Year’s visitors.
The lodging numbers are a barometer for the wider Park City economy since the visitors typically also spend money at the mountain resorts and in other sectors like retail, restaurant and transportation.
Jennifer Wesselhoff, the president and CEO of the Chamber/Bureau, said in responses to a Park Record inquiry about the projections that “we are excited and grateful to have the robust business levels that we do have this holiday season.”
“We can observe on our roads and on Main Street this week that Park City is doing brisk business — and that is great news for our local merchants and restaurants. We are not attempting to beat or even match last year’s holiday numbers, given the current health crisis and restrictions on travel both domestically and internationally,” she said.
She added: “I never thought I would say that we’re happy to be 20-25% down, but given the dire situation for many cities around the world, I’d say that these numbers represent a solid performance and an acceptable number of visitors to keep our economy rolling and our businesses open.”
Wesselhoff acknowledged there were not as many new bookings as the Chamber/Bureau had wanted as the holidays approached. That, she said, “is most likely because the limited amount of snow, the capacities at the ski resorts and the current covid situation” in the U.S.
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The Park City Police Department last week and early this week received several reports of parties, a common complaint to the agency during busy times of the ski season. The cases did not appear to be serious, but they seem to show an uptick in activity in the community.