Resort lodging: Low snowfall slows occupancy, revenue in December
Western mountain resorts struggled through December with below average snowfall and shifting school breaks, which together are being blamed for a dip in occupancy and revenues for the month.
According to the most recent data from Inntopia, aggregated occupancy rates at western resorts for December were down 4.4 percent compared to December 2016. At the same time, the average daily rate gained only 1 percent. As a result, revenues declined 3.5 percent in December compared to December 2016.
“We’re seeing occupancy declines in many mountain destinations that weren’t there 30 days ago,” said Tom Foley, vice president of Business Intelligence for Inntopia. “Some of the December occupancy declines were anticipated, as there was no school break in the week preceding Christmas this year due to the holiday falling on a Monday.”
Still the lack of snowfall heightened the challenge, and Foley credited “a strong and loyal consumer base coupled with favorable economic conditions” for helping lodging properties maintain their rates while concerns remain for the months ahead.
Looking at the full winter season from November through April, as of Dec. 31 occupancy is down 0.6 percent, but with a 4.6 percent increase in the average daily rate, revenues are still up 4.3 percent compared to last winter.
“We’ve been tracking the lack of snowfall across much of the West with some anxiety, expecting occupancy, daily rates, and revenues to take a hit as we move into the peak season,” confided Foley. “And while we’ve seen a dip in occupancy figures, room rates have slipped only slightly from last month and we’re still seeing some revenue gains even in a challenging snow year.”
Foley noted that much of the season has yet to come, “and the pent-up demand means a single big snowfall can reverse the trends we’re seeing now at any given destination,” he said.
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