Summer predictions looking good for Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL – The Mountain Travel Research Project’s economic predictions for the upcoming summer in Vail are better than they’ve been, although it’s too early to tell if the town will bounce back significantly from last summer.
Ralf Garrison, the director of MTRiP, told the Vail Town Council on Tuesday that economic indicators are looking better, but it’s too early to celebrate.
The town is doing better than the mountain resort industry as a whole in terms of summer lodging occupancy. Vail is showing a 14 percent increase in occupancy this summer, while the industry is showing a 1 percent increase, Garrison said.
Vail is able to do that because it has held its lodging rates relatively flat, while the industry has tried to raise rates.
Most recoveries are built on the return of occupancy, which shows there’s demand, Garrison said.
“We are getting the return on demand but not enough that we can be bold and start raising prices significantly,” Garrison said.
Garrison cautioned Vail leaders to keep an eye on the fact that new supply is coming on board, so the town can’t focus only on demand and think things are looking up when demand seems to increase.
“You’d like to have a lot more demand,” Garrison said.
Consumers are no longer in shock, but they’re still thrifty, he said. They want the “right offer,” he said.
“What’s probably noteworthy is that consumers, for the most part, haven’t felt any significant relief,” Garrison said.
The predictions for the summer are based on bookings for the summer months as of April 30. Summer guests tend not to book as far in advance as winter guests, so the data is what Garrison calls “thin.”
The data in the past, however, has ended up with a plus or minus 3 percent accuracy based on the final numbers, Garrison said, so it’s a good indication things could improve this summer.
“It’s the best news we’ve seen in one and a half years,” Garrison said.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at lglendenning@
vaildaily.com or 970-748-2983.