Gondolas transport visitors in Breckenridge, Colorado. Photo Credit: Kristen Prahl/Shutterstock
The summer booking pace has slowed at lodging properties in Western mountain destinations, and occupancy levels are expected to decline materially compared to last summer and the pre-pandemic summer of 2019.
According to a report from Inntopia’s DestiMetrics, the booking pace for arrivals from May through October has dropped 40.4% from last year at 17 mountain destinations across Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It’s down 20.6% from 2019.
DestiMetrics data also indicates that on-the-books occupancy at those mountain destinations for the six months from May through October is down 5.6% from 2021. In fact, on-the-books occupancy is down for four of the six months within that time frame, with a 9.3% drop in July and a 16.6% decline in August.
Inntopia senior vice president of business intelligence Tom Foley attributed the summertime slowdown to “high inflation, the rising cost of credit and declining savings” in addition to waning pent-up demand from the pandemic.
“We have been talking about the slower booking pace for months and the decline in occupancy was anticipated as pent-up demand continues to wane — especially compared to last year’s recovery boom,” said Foley. “But those declines compared to a more stable 2019 indicate that the economic fundamentals have shifted enough to impact the bottom line.”
Foley added that room rates at mountain destinations remain at “all-time highs” even though economic pressures may be causing consumers to “retreat from high room rates.”
According to DestiMetrics, the average daily rate (ADR) from May to September across the 17 mountain destinations is up 5.9% from last year, but due to the lower occupancy, revenue is essentially flat (down 0.1%).