Breckenridge lodging looks for a brighter holiday season |

Breckenridge lodging looks for a brighter holiday season

Caddie Nath
summit daily news

July through September were some of the best months on record for the Breckenridge lodging industry. Now companies are hoping the trend keeps up through the winter.

Occupancy expectations as mid-November were positive for December’s start to peak season, and business owners said they are “cautiously optimistic” for the coming season.

“As a collective, I am sure lodging hopes to see the same type growth through this winter,” president of the Breckenridge Lodging Association Toby Babich stated in a recent email. “Currently, the outlook is mixed, with December, March and April down to 2010 occupancy numbers. Overall, there is a relief that decline and stagnation seem to have subsided and long-term growth may exist on the horizon.”

Occupancy numbers are expected to be strong during the Dew Tour, which coincides with the ski resort’s 50th anniversary Dec. 16. Occupancy rates should get close to 80 percent that weekend. The week of and the week after Christmas are both pacing ahead of the same time last year.

Though businesses in Breckenridge can’t count on a record-breaking snowfall this year to compete with last winter, December and the winter season as a whole are still pacing slightly ahead of last year for lodging numbers and the average daily rate of rooms is also up 7 percent from 2010, according to data released by the Breckenridge Resort Chamber.

“Many of Breckenridge’s long-standing events are gaining notoriety with skiers and non-skiers,” BRC spokeswoman Rachel Zerowin stated in an email. “The variety of activities on and off the slopes allows Breckenridge to have a very broad appeal. This can help us attract people who aren’t so passionate about skiing and groups of mixed interests.”

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The growing interest in Breckenridge events may have been a contributing factor in the positive trends seen so far this year. Oktoberfest weekend showed improvement in bookings from last year, despite rain and chilly weather on the Saturday of the event.

Sales taxes from lodging as well as accommodations taxes have both showed strong gains this year. Accommodations tax collections are more than 8 percent ahead of 2010 year-to-date.

Nationwide, as well as in Breckenridge, signs are that the positive trend for lodging could continue through the winter.

Across the western U.S. bookings in mountain resort communities for November through April are up more than 10 percent from the same time last year and the average daily room rate has also climbed 3.5 percent, according to data from the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP).

“Although consumers remain concerned about jobs, earnings and the overall recovery of the economy, skiers and snowboarders appear particularly willing to invest in recreation and discretionary travel to mountain destinations,” MTRiP operations director Tom Foley stated.

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