Latest report shows Breckenridge occupancy nights in August fell 6% compared with 2020 |

Latest report shows Breckenridge occupancy nights in August fell 6% compared with 2020

Report a collaboration between Breckenridge Tourism Office, lodging companies and Inntopia

Gravity Haus in Breckenridge is pictured on Thursday, May 14, 2020. Though the property’s occupancy rates were flat year over year in August, the company reported a strong month due to small business and advance bookings.
Liz Copan/For the Summit Daily News

To keep up with latest tourism trends and predict what operations will look like in the future, the Breckenridge Tourism Office, Inntopia and various lodging companies collaborate to produce occupancy reports. According to the latest report — which is for August — room nights fell below August 2020 by about 6%.

Bill Wishowski, director of operations for the Breckenridge Tourism Office, said he has a few guesses for why these numbers dipped compared with last year.

“The thing that we found in August was that the volume of last-minute bookings that took place in 2021 did not match up what happened in 2020 and 2019,” he said. “That’s why occupancy as a percentage was less this year than say maybe last year or even in 2019. That was something that the industry saw as a whole, too.”

Wishowski said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by this dip, especially considering the difference in travel trends last year compared with this year.

“(It’s) not too surprising if you consider a couple of environments: Last year at this time, things were opening up, fall was going on — it was a gorgeous fall — so things were opening up and people were starting to travel,” he said. “There was a lot of pent-up demand. So the future was bright in a sense. This year now with the delta variant, it threw some waves in, so it slowed down the booking process to some degree, and then I think it impacted some of the groups that might have been booking last minute.”

Not only that, but Wishowski noted that people were still working remotely and kids were learning virtually. This year is largely different as more people return to work in the office and kids are back attending school in person.

Matt Windt, executive vice president of marketing and communications for Gravity Haus, said that though occupancy was roughly flat year over year for August, the company still reported a strong month, largely due to the return of small group business and guest bookings further out in advance. Windt said in an email that this resulted in a “healthy” average daily rate increase for the property.

Similar trends are happening at The Lodge at Breckenridge, too. According to General Manager Rhonda Wilson, the lodging property’s occupancy was slightly down in August, but, overall, the property has exceeded its budgeted revenue every month this summer by about $60,000. The property has exceeded its revenue compared with last year by about $1 million so far.

Wilson attributes this to the property’s strong average daily rate, which she said is sitting $65 higher than what the business budgeted for and $70 higher than last year’s rates. Not only that, but the company’s wedding business is playing a big factor, too.

“We’re small,” Wilson said. “We’re a lot different than some of the bigger properties in Breckenridge because they have a lot more inventory to roll through. Plus we have all of weddings. Our weddings keep us busy.”

These experiences are slightly different than what Breckenridge Grand Vacation is experiencing. Vice President of Marketing Ginny Vietti said in a voicemail that the company felt like summer went “very well,” and that its occupancy and timeshares was up “significantly” year over year.

As for who is visiting the county, Wishowski said the report called out tourists from Texas, Kansas, Florida, Missouri and Illinois, and noted that there seems to be more diversity in which states tourists are coming from. Lilyanna Salinas, front desk manager at The Lodge at Breckenridge, said she especially noticed the Texas visitors and that it makes sense why the community saw more tourists from this particular state.

“They were one of the few states that lifted restrictions right away, so we saw a lot of occupancy coming from (that state),” she said. “California has been a big one recently that I’ve noticed as well and then locals and down in Denver, too.”

As the summer season winds down to a close, lodging properties are now looking ahead to the winter season. Wilson said last-minute bookings for The Lodge at Breckenridge were “not great” last year but that this coming December is shaping up well. Wishowski noted that he was hopeful it would also be a good winter season, especially considering that Breckenridge performed well overall.

Wishowski shared that he did have some concerns that the delta variant could impact the winter season and that COVID-19 can “make things change on a dime.”

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