Breckenridge has reported its best year ever with key tourism indicators up in 2013 from 2007, which was previously its strongest year.
Denver-based DestiMetrics, which provides destination resort lodging data, recently released numbers reporting 2013 lodging occupancy in Breckenridge was 2 percent up from 2007, and the 2013 average daily room rate (ADR) was up 9.5 percent over 2007.
The company collects data from non-hotel lodging outlets, such as property management companies and vacation rental units, so destinations are able to get a more complete overview of lodging activity, meaning a better understanding of related impacts on tourism.
Rachel Zerowin, spokeswoman for the town’s marketing organization GoBreck, said the takeaway looking at five years of this data is how the market is recovering since the recession.
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Zerowin attributed much of the success to visitors having longer length of stays. She said weekdays, especially surrounding events, were the most noticeable contributor to increased stays. GoBreck is looking ahead to a five-year marketing plan in the future, she said.
“The economy at any time could still dictate otherwise, but we want to continue on this track,” she said. “We are cautiously optimistic.”
International travelers rose for the past two winter seasons as well. Summer and fall events contributed to gains in tax collections, as well as occupancy. According to the report, the USA Pro Challenge, which began in 2011, helped drive August retail tax collections up 38 percent over 2010.
When the recession hit, Zerowin said they had to just focus on marketing holidays. Now, there has been progression since the economy crashed, she said, and the marketing plan has shifted back toward those longer stays and “need” periods, slow times such as mudseason around October.
“Back then we were planning quarter to quarter,” she said. “It’s been an evolution of marketing plans. Then, it became seasonal again, and now it’s annual planning.”
The winter occupancy for the 2013-14 season in Breckenridge is up 13 percent year-over-year, and the ADR is up 1 percent.
“Our continued improvement is especially notable since our business levels didn’t fall as far as some during the economic downturn,” said GoBreck vice president Bill Wishowski in a prepared statement. “We’re feeling good about the upcoming summer and right now, stars and snow are aligning. We’ve got heightened awareness of winter sports thanks to the Olympics, plus major snowfall here in Breckenridge.”
Early season snow, large group travel and the opening of Peak 6 set high expectations for this season, Zerowin said, which Breckenridge seems to be on track to meet. January bookings this year alone were up 14 percent over 2013.
For all of 2013, Breckenridge occupancy was up 8.8 percent over 2012, while the Colorado as a whole was up 6.7 percent. Breckenridge is doing well compared to other Colorado resorts, and even more so with the Western group of resorts as a whole.
“You look at other Western resorts, those destinations are not really getting snow,” Zerowin said. “In the snapshot of this winter, when we look at the Colorado comparative set, they are the other ones also getting snow.”
She said one goal looking toward the future is to address the daily occupancy numbers, and lay those out over the seasons to see exactly where the slow periods are, and focus on those.
“Those need periods, we want to think about a bigger plan and strategies to fill those,” she said. “Knowing where things are now and the outlook, what can we do that will be most beneficial?”