Avon prepares for busier than normal July and August
According to lodging and occupancy data, the town is going to experience a ‘pretty busy’ summer as it preps for a full calendar of events
If hotel occupancy and bookings are any indication, this summer is going to be busy for the town of Avon.
At a Business Outlook Meeting on Wednesday, May 26, local business owners met with town staff to discuss the town’s projects and projections for the summer. Part of this meeting included a presentation from Katie Barnes, the business intelligence and marketing cloud account manager at Inntopia DestiMetrics, on the summer travel outlook for the town.
Breaking down lodging and booking data from seven of Avon’s lodging properties and comparing it against nearly 20 nearby mountain destinations — including Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen and more — Barnes predicted a “pretty busy season” for Avon.
According to Barnes, summer occupancy rates between the months of May and October is pacing 67% ahead of last summer in Avon, which is expected due to the hold that COVID-19 had on the valley at this time last year. However, in comparison to 2019, on average, summer occupancy in Avon is down 9% from the same time two years ago.
That is with the exception of July and August. According to Barnes, this year’s occupancy pacing is outperforming two years ago in July and August, for both paid and unpaid stays, which includes owner stays and comped stays.
“Starting July 1, things are going like gangbusters, at every destination,” she said.
Occupancy rates are up 12% in July and up 27% in August when compared against the number of bookings at this same time in May 2019.
In Avon, this is good news, as the summer will see the return of a full summer of special events, including the highly-anticipated Salute to the USA performance July 3. According to Danita Dempsey, cultural, arts and special events manager for the town of Avon, all plans for this are underway and the band for the July 3 event will be announced in the first few weeks of June.
Other events throughout the summer, Dempsey hopes, will bring an influx of visitors in the rest of the months. This includes the return of SunsetLIVE! and AvonLIVE! concerts, a new Summer’s End event over Labor Day weekend, new and returning arts festivals and more.
While evaluating occupancy for the shoulder seasons — specifically the months of May and October — booking is still down from 2019, but Avon is actually one of the best-performing mountain destinations during the two months. There is still, however, “room to grow,” in these months, according to Barnes.
In terms of what lodging accommodations are charging for rates, the average daily rate is up 17% from what it was at the same time in 2019. “(Last year) we didn’t see a lot of discounting, which in the long run is a pretty good thing, because once properties start discounting, and we saw this in 2008, it takes months and months and months to get your rates back to where it was,” Barnes said. “In 2008, it took 62 months to get rates back to pre-recession levels.”
There is some indication that these bookings will continue to go up. Last year, due strictly to the pandemic, visitors were waiting until much closer to vacation dates to book travel and lodging. This year, it remains to be seen if this trend will continue, even as vaccines roll out and public health orders have lifted.
“The more confident people get in traveling, the further out that they book,” Barnes said.
Reporter Ali Longwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.