Vail area lodging sees strong summer growth |

Vail area lodging sees strong summer growth

Bookings also strong for early winter, Christmas holidays

The Sebastian hotel in Vail is fully booked every weekend, and group business is growing.
The Sebastian Vail/Special to the Daily

Looking at lodging data this summer compared with 2020 isn’t exactly fair. But summer lodging numbers are strong compared with even 2019. And a Christmas boom may be coming.

DestiMetrics, the business intelligence division of Inntopia, gathers data from 18 resort areas throughout the Mountain West, including Vail and Beaver Creek.

The region-wide numbers show strength in summer numbers, as well as significant increases in average daily rate and overall revenue.

The summer numbers are good for resort economies, but may foreshadow a strong Christmas holiday season.

According to DestiMetrics, early winter already-reserved rooms as of June 30 have increased more than 25% from the same period in 2019, the year before the pandemic hit.

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While reservations are up, the number of available rooms has declined. The DestiMetrics report notes that “as property owners have increased usage of their units or even moved into them full-time, the number of available units for transient rentals is starting to decline.” That decline is 5.1% compared with summer of 2019.

John Walters, director of sales at The Sebastian hotel in Vail, said that property is sold out most weekends this summer. In addition, the hotel is seeing “a lot” of group business, mostly small corporate gatherings.

“We’ve been quite busy” with those groups, Walters said.

Greater demand means rates are up, Walters said.

Overall, The Sebastian is busy enough that there’s little time to compare notes with other lodges in town, Walters added.

The Vail Valley Partnership uses data from DestiMetrics and its own booking engine to track local lodging business.

Chris Romer, the regional chamber’s president and CEO, said the Vail Valley has actually been surpassing regional numbers.

“We’re outpacing the industry on occupancy and (daily rate),” Romer said. “We’re generally capturing more market share than our competitors.”

Romer said the increase in rate is a good thing for the local economy. People booking rooms are “high value” visitors, who generally have more to spend on mountain vacations, he said.

Of course, a busy valley also highlights the local employee shortage.

“Staffing is a challenge,” Walters said, praising the hotel’s staff. “We’re doing our best … but it’s definitely a struggle.”

By the numbers

131.4%: Increase in occupancy from June, 2020 to June, 2021

45.4%: Increase in average daily rate for the same period

1.4%: Decline in June, 2021 occupancy compared to June, 2019

29.6%: Increase in average daily rate from June, 2019, to June 2021

Source: Destimetrics review of 18 mountain resort areas

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