Strong accommodation reservations for holidays and in winter

The Westin Riverfront Gondola is slated to open in the next few days. The gondola can take skiers to Beaver Creek.
Courtesy photo

It seems that the Christmas holidays for 2020 were one-off induced by a pandemic.

The holidays – known in the industry as the “holiday season” – have been full at winter resorts almost always. That has changed in 2020, with plenty of vacation availability and wary travelers for much of the rest of the season.

DestiMetrics, a division of Inntopia, has a long history of tracking occupancy and revenue for accommodations in West Mountain resorts. The latest data from the company shows that the high footfall from the summer continues into the winter.

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek general manager Herb Rackliff said the property was full for the heart of the holiday season, adding that “nearly every resort” he knows is in a similar position.

“So many people didn’t have the chance to travel last winter, and they’re making up for it,” Rackliff said.

And, as the average daily rate saw double-digit increases year over year or so, Rackliff quickly noted that the price of everything had gone up in the past year.

Yet these rates are higher and people seem willing to pay.

“Compression” pricing

Mark Herron is the Vice President of Vail Valley at InvitedHome, a luxury home rental company. Herron said the rate increase is the result of “squeeze” in the hosting industry. It means supply and demand. There is currently a lot of demand and a limited supply. This determines the prices, although Herron noted that most hosting companies use “dynamic” pricing models, which means prices go up and down based on demand.

Tom Foley, senior vice president of business processes and analytics for Inntopia, said that of the 290 properties surveyed by DestiMetrics, the average daily rate for the entire month of December was around $ 640 for all properties surveyed. .

People also book rooms further in advance of their travel dates. It is a return to the patterns observed before the pandemic. Winter saw longer lead times between booking and travel, while summer deadlines tended to be quite short.

Wendy Mallas, director of sales and marketing at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, said the property is also experiencing longer delivery times this winter, although a big snowstorm will result in last-minute bookings.

Plus, “a lot of new travelers are booking closer (to travel dates),” Mallas said.

In addition to the desire to travel, Mallas said the return to full occupancy of restaurants and the easing of other restrictions had also boosted travelers’ confidence.

With this increased activity, Foley said many accommodation companies have reverted to their reservation cancellation policies before the pandemic. But, he added, people who have already made reservations tend to be less likely to cancel those reservations.

Full winter resistance

Herron, chairman of the board of directors of the Vail Valley Partnership, noted that occupancy is high at all properties for the holiday season more than a week in advance.

Beyond that, reservations are strong for the rest of the winter.

Herron said there was a lot of pent-up demand, especially since much of the rest of the world is in some form of lockdown linked to the pandemic.

Housing occupancy is good news for the rest of a resort economy, of course. Herron noted that business is on the rise in retail and restaurant businesses in resort areas, with business looking to grow each month.

It even comes with less than ideal snow in much of the West. Foley noted that since ski lift reservations have been dropped this season and these lifts can operate at full capacity, there is also an “anticipated sense” of snow to come.

This sense has filtered into some accommodation properties.

“Sounds awesome,” Rackliff said. “I can’t say enough positive things about winter… I hope we get a lot more snow. “

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