Summer lodging numbers up slightly | VailDaily.com

Summer lodging numbers up slightly

VAIL — Despite a handful of potential speed bumps, Vail's summer lodging business has been bustling.

The most recent data from DestiMetrics, a Denver-based analysis and consulting firm, show Vail's summer lodging business growing from 2014. In June, the town's lodges and condos were running right at 50 percent occupancy, a good number for the summer and a marginal increase from 2014. More important to bottom lines, though, the average daily rate increased by 7 percent across the lodges participating in the survey.

Compared to other mountain resorts, Vail's increase in June reservations is slightly lower, while the daily rate increase is significantly higher — the rate increase elsewhere is 3.2 percent.

The July numbers for Vail looked strong as well, with an expected increase in occupancy of about 3 percent and a 6.8 percent increase in average daily rate.

Reservations for August were down marginally — 1.5 percent — and September's "on the books" reservations are up more than 17 percent from 2014.

Through September, those numbers are more or less equivalent with other mountain resorts, although reservations take a fairly steep drop in October and November compared to 2014. On the other hand, those drops come during what may be the lowest-occupancy months on Vail's lodging calendar. A drop from 6.6 percent reserved occupancy in October of 2014 to 5.4 percent in October of this year is an 18.6 percent decline.

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SUMMER BUSINESS

But summer business is doing well.

At the Four Seasons in Vail, sales and marketing director Scott Gubrud said that hotel's numbers are right in line with the town-wide average numbers.

While single room bookings remain strong, Gubrud said rentals of suites and condos at the Four Seasons is stronger than it was in 2014.

"We've had one guest booked for 30 days, and another for 45," Gubrud said.

Now, about those speed bumps.

At The Sebastian hotel, sales and marketing director Annie Lynch said that lodge's numbers are also right in line with the averages.

The difference, Lynch said, is a slight drop in group business this summer. Despite that decrease, Lynch said The Sebastian's July is running about even with 2014, with stronger reservations in August.

WEATHER

Like winter, weather plays a role in reservations. In the summer, though, booking rooms here often depends on weather elsewhere.

Vail Valley Partnership President Chris Romer said passenger numbers are strong for summer flights from Dallas and Houston. Both those cities are always hot in the summer, but this season is notably warmer than usual.

On the other hand, most of the valley's summer business is from the Front Range. There, the weather has been relatively mild this summer.

"Denver hasn't had one day of 100 degrees this summer," Lynch said.

Talking with another sales and marketing person in town, Lynch said the two were joking that what Vail's lodging business really needs is a week of 100-degree days to drive visitors up to the mountains.

As is usually the case, weekends are generally busy, with fewer people in town during the middle of the weeks. That's where group business comes into play.

DEMAND SEEMS TO BE UP

Gubrud said the Four Seasons is still picking up some group business for this summer — which can range from business groups to clubs to family reunions and weddings.

In addition, he said, September and October reservations are starting to show up on the books.

Romer wrote that he's optimistic that some relatively new events in September at both Vail and Beaver Creek will attract more visitors. And Lynch said September bookings are strong at the Sebastian.

The bottom line, Lynch said, is that demand seems to be up, and that is driving rates.

"The economy is better, so people are feeling better about (spending)," Lynch said. "We have between 13,000 and 15,000 people moving into (the Denver area) every year. That's great for us to attract new guests."

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

By the numbers

3.6 percent: Increase in Vail lodging occupancy in June.

7 percent: Increase in Vail lodging average daily rate.

17.2 percent: Increase in reserved rooms for September.

2.9 percent: Increase from 2014 in Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels traffic in June.

Sources: DestiMetrics, Colorado Department of Transportation