Mountain occupancy is up |

Mountain occupancy is up

Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado – Although several weeks still remain in the 2010-11 ski season before the final lodging figures can be tallied, the most recent results released by the Mountain Travel Research Program indicate that collectively, destination mountain resorts in the western U.S. will be up 6 percent in lodging occupancy for the winter season (November through April, as of March 31) with the average daily rate projected to be up 1 percent. For the month of March, actual occupancy was up 7.9 percent in 2011 compared to March 2010.

With only a handful of destination resorts still open, mountain properties turn their focus to summer business. As of March 31, bookings for April 2011 were down 4.2 percent compared to April 2010 while bookings for the next six months (April-September) are slightly better – currently up 3.1 percent. The report also noted that the average daily rate for the next six months is currently down 3.5 percent.

“While we are not back to ‘the good old days’ of pre-recession bookings and pricing, there has certainly been an uptick in sophistication and reaction among both consumers and resort operators and that bodes well for the future,” said Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP. “Like the old adage, we saw quite a bit of ‘when there’s a will, there’s a way’ this season. Now as we start looking towards summer, we anticipate that mountain resorts will target their marketing efforts toward regional drive markets since current economic and travel related fuel costs will have less impact on local visitors than long distance travelers,” he concluded.

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