Winter lodging finishes season up nearly 6 percent

The late Easter put a damper on mountain occupancy rates to end the winter, but overall lodging enjoyed a significant increase during the 2010/2011 season. SNEWS takes a closer look at the highlights.
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Final winter season tallies show destination mountain lodging business was up on most fronts based on the recent data released by the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP).

Overall occupancy for the winter season (November 2010 to April 2011) finished up 5.7 percent compared to last season and average lodging rates were up 1.5 percent, closely following early projections and ending as expected. The season started with strong momentum but faded as the season progressed except for strong numbers in March at most destinations. Actual occupancy was up in five of the six months (all but April) while nightly rates were up four of the six months (all but February and April). Thanks in part to a late Easter, April was weaker than in the previous year with occupancy down 2.5 percent. 

“These increases were supported by slow but steady improvements in the overall economy with an appreciative nod to Mother Nature who certainly did her part in most regions,” said Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP. “MTRiP’s lodging results generally track destination guests but are consistent with the skier visit numbers released by the National Ski Area’s Association that recently reported 60.1 million skier/rider visits which were also up from last year and close behind the record of 60.5 million visits in 2007-08.”

The report also provided the most recent data on the upcoming summer season. The month of May is currently up 8.8 percent while on-the-books occupancy for the next six months (May to October) is up 6.6 percent with average nightly rate down 0.3 percent. 

The report pointed out that while summer occupancy is pacing ahead of last year, nightly rates remain flat at this point.

“We are pleased to report that nearly all the metrics are up and looking forward, things are going the right way,” said Garrison. “There remains uncertainty and inconsistency among some indicators and results vary significantly in some cases, but we continue to consider the cup more than half full.”

-- Peter Kray


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