Mountain resort reservation trends point to strong summer |

Mountain resort reservation trends point to strong summer

Mountain resort reservation trends point to strong summer

Despite monsoonal rains in some regions, severe drought in other areas and geo-political volatility, performance and revenues among lodging properties at 19 mountain destinations in six mountain states are continuing their strong, multi-month pace.

According to Denver-based DestiMetrics, a resort travel organization that tracks reservation and occupancy at participating resorts, as of June 30, summer occupancy for May through October was up an aggregated 6.8 percent compared to last summer, with revenue up 12.5 percent. The figures are based on existing bookings for the six-month period.

Actual occupancy for June was up 4.8 percent with revenues up 8.1 percent compared to June 2014.

While data is reported in aggregate for the Far West and Rocky Mountain regions, there are considerable differences between the two.

Although the Far West resorts continue to deal with drought, as of June 30 they reported a 10-percent gain in occupancy and 11-percent increase in revenue compared to last summer.

Rocky Mountain resorts have the opposite situation with unusually rainy weather but posted a 6.2 percent gain in occupancy and a 12.9 percent in revenue.

“With much of the summer’s reservation activity now quantified, we anticipate a continuation of current trends and a strong finish for summer of 2015,” said Ralf Garrison, DestiMetrics director. “It is likely that this summer will be another one for the record books in many mountain resort communities.”

Keystone health policy conference talks access to medical homes

According to a new report released July 29 in Keystone at the annual Colorado Health Symposium, more than two million Coloradans — 40 percent of the state’s population — are now connected to a medical home.

With a medical home, the patient sits at the center, and doctors are part of a care team that works collaboratively through co-location, referrals or technology.

Every medical home model is different, but each strives to offer patients access to comprehensive and integrated primary care, which could include behavioral health, oral health, nutrition and lifestyle assistance, referrals to specialty care, and connections to community groups that offer food aid, transportation and other vital non-medical help.

Many experts view the model of health-care delivery as one of the most promising ways to improve quality while lowering costs, the report said.

“This is the first time a comprehensive overview of medical homes has been completed in Colorado,” said Sara Schmitt, director of community health policy at the Colorado Health Institute, who led the research. “CHI’s research finds that medical homes are playing an important role in transforming health care across the state.”

Nearly 200 medical practices in the state are officially recognized as patient-centered medical homes by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, compared with just 17 practices in 2012. The number of Colorado health care providers working in certified medical homes has climbed to 1,252 from 57 in 2012.

However, Colorado ranks 26th out of 50 states for adults and 19th for seniors with access to medical homes. And, it’s just 35th in providing medical homes for children. Children from low-income families, as well as black and Hispanic children, are even less likely to have medical homes.

Polis introduces bill to provide new way to finance college

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced a bill with Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) that would help provide more affordable student loan options.

The Investing in Student Success Act of 2015 provides the legal certainty for an innovative type of funding mechanism, called Income Share Agreements (ISAs), that can help students more easily finance a college degree while including important consumer protections.

Under an ISA, a student receives private funds in exchange for agreeing to pay an affordable percentage of his or her income for a set period of time after school. Unlike a loan, an ISA has no principal or interest; instead, an ISA bases a student’s payments on income, and funders recoup their money only when students are successful.

“A college degree is one of the best investments a student can make,” Polis said. “Unfortunately, many students are burdened with record levels of debt because of it, often forcing them to delay other important investments in their future, like saving for retirement or purchasing a home.”

A small group of companies and nonprofits have attempted to offer ISAs but have struggled to grow because of legal and regulatory uncertainty. The Polis-Young bill would provide a framework to support these loan options.

“Many fear that student loan debt will be the next bubble to burst, yet not enough is being done to address the affordability problem,” Young said. “This bill is the culmination of a years-long effort working with universities like Purdue on a real market-driven solution that’s not only good for students but good for American taxpayers whose tax-dollars aren’t involved and at risk.”

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