Mountain lodging may set summer record
DENVER — Hot temperatures throughout the western United States, increasing activities and special events at mountain resorts and a steadily recovering economy are the principle factors cited by Denver-based DestiMetrics (formerly the Mountain Travel Research Program) for continued growth in summer occupancy among participating mountain resorts.
The most recent report revealed that as of June 30, actual occupancy for the month of June was up 3.9 percent compared to last June and was accompanied by a 9.9 percent increase in revenue. And, despite a 1 percent decrease in the booking pace (total number of reservations made in June for the next six months), projected occupancy for July is up 4.5 percent compared to July 2012 and overall occupancy on-the-books for June through December is currently up an aggregated 7.3 percent. Lodging revenue is projected to be up 14 percent for the period.
“The significant increases we are seeing in both occupancy and room rates in June coupled with the fact that reservations for July and August are still running ahead of last summer indicate at the current pace we will see a second consecutive record-breaking summer for lodging at mountain resorts this year,” said Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics. “Although the slight decrease in reservations taken during the last part of June was something of a surprise, we are speculating that the widespread news coverage about western wildfires may have dissuaded some potential visitors from booking for several weeks.”
The economy continues to influence travel behavior. The most positive news was the strong increase in the Consumer Confidence Index, up 9.6 percent to 81.4 points — its highest level since January 2008. Also described as positive was the unemployment rate remaining unchanged at 7.6 percent. And, although crude oil prices crept up 1.6 percent, the typical annual summer increase in fuel prices didn’t materialize in a significant way at either the pump or in airline ticket prices, although that has been changing in the past two weeks.
“Our research is showing us that despite this very long economic recovery, the mountain travel industry has great strength at the core,” said Tom Foley, DestiMetrics operations director. “Lodging rates have dropped only five times in the past 36 months and most of those decreases were during shoulder or mud season. However, as mountain destinations continue to grow in summer visitation, rates will continue to climb as demand for lodging begins to exceed current capacity,” he concluded.
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