At the halfway point of summer, lodging properties from 17 participating western mountain resorts are on pace for this summer to be the busiest ever, according to the most recent data released by Denver-based DestiMetrics.
The data compiled by DestiMetrics is derived from a sample of approximately 260 property management companies in 17 mountain destination communities, representing 24,000 rooms across Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada and Oregon, a company news release stated.
Although the data is not all encompassing of the mountain destination travel industry, overall summer occupancy for May through October among participating lodges shows bookings are up 7 percent compared to last year.
For the month of July, actual occupancy was up 5 percent and revenue was up 9.8 percent compared to July 2012. Those increases are attributed to the 4th of July holiday falling on a Thursday, a busy calendar of special events and base area activities at most resorts, as well as record-breaking heat across the western U.S., the release stated.
On-the-books occupancy for August is currently tracking up 4.7 percent compared to last year, with revenue estimated to increase 10.3 percent if current trends continue.
“Current summer business bookings have already reached 85 percent of last summer’s final total and with additional bookings yet to come, we can project a 10 (percent) to 12 percent increase in summer revenue,” said Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics, in the release. “While results vary widely among destinations, many resorts have now surpassed their pre-recession performance levels and are on track for their best ever summer.
“There are a variety of probable reasons for this robust summer, among them continued strength in the economy, growing consumer confidence, and a maturing summer market with more attractions that serve as magnets to attract destination guests.”
Although winter bookings are just beginning and the numbers are small, the forecast for the next six months for mountain destinations looks promising, according to the release. As of July 31, on-the-books arrivals for August through January 2014 are up 11.2 percent compared to the same time last year.
The monthly DestiMetrics briefing also highlights economic indicators that may have an impact on the mountain travel industry, including trends of the past month and projections about potential financial shifts that could shape the economy and discretionary travel spending.
A positive indicator for July was the nearly 4 percent rebound of the Dow Jones Industrial Average following June’s losses, the release stated. The Consumer Confidence Index dipped 2.2 percent from June, but remained above 80 points for the second consecutive month, and for only the second time since February 2008.
However, a slight increase in the Consumer Price Index and a dramatic increase in crude oil prices, up 9.6 percent, were cited as negative markers for the economic recovery. In addition, there was a slight decrease in the unemployment rate, down from 7.6 percent to 7.4 percent, but the modest drop is being attributed to a decrease in job seekers rather than an increase in new jobs, the release stated.
“Recent hints from the Federal Reserve that they may be rolling back monthly securities investments have sparked some fears of inflation and higher interest rates, which may represent a roadblock to continued momentum,” said Tom Foley, director of operations for DestiMetrics, in the release. “But with financial markets continuing to leap forward and confidence moving towards a consumer-driven marketplace, it’s possible that the right defense is in place.
“If Washington’s lawmakers negotiate a clean resolution to debt ceiling and budget issues in September, this positive momentum should continue.”