Vail, Eagle County summer reservations lagging the past two years, but are even with the pace in 2019
Rates are up, but revenue per room is down
- 20%: Summer occupancy reserved by March 31, 2019
- 20%: Summer occupancy reserved by March 31, 2023
- 24%: Summer occupancy reserved by March 31, 2022
- 13%: Decline in revenue per available room Source: Vail Valley Partnership
It’s an old truisim, but ski resort communities are full of snow farmers, depending on the weather for prosperity. Summer is a different story.
The latest data from DestiMetrics, part of the business intelligence division of Inntopia, which collects data from 17 mountain communities, including Vail and Beaver Creek, shows average daily rates are keeping revenues up. But that trend may be on its way out.
March occupancy across the ski resort region declined 3.3% from 2022. But the average daily rate paid for rooms increased by 27%. That led to a revenue decline of just 0.6%.
But rates are way up from March of 2019, the last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the recent report from DestiMetrics, the average daily rate had increased 45.3% from 2019 for lodging properties in the surveyed resorts.
Support Local Journalism
Rates seem to be holding, for now, but revenue per available room has declined from last year.
“It’s going to be a different summer from last summer,” Park Hyatt Beaver Creek General Manager Herb Rackliff said. Rackliff noted that it’s easier this year to travel, including to international destinations, something that applies to both leisure travelers and groups.
“People have plenty of options,” Rackliff said, adding that the valley isn’t going to see the levels of summer business that flooded mountain destinations in 2021 and 2022.
But, Rackliff said guests probably won’t see lower rates due to the inflation of the past couple of years.
At the Four Seasons Resort and Residences in Vail, sales and marketing director Jonathan Reap said rates are holding. But, he added, the hotel for May into mid-June ran a special for Colorado residents. And, he added, rates for this summer remain “strong” but won’t match those seen in 2022. Still, he said “all of my (lodging partners in Vail Village) are happy.”
Rates may have to move to affect the lower level of reservations. Mark Herron, a consultant to the Vail Local Marketing District, said demand is “hit and miss” for properties around the valley.
While the average daily rate for some time was able to cover for fewer heads in beds, Rackliff said rate no longer can cover for declines in revenue per available room. That’s “the trend I’d be most worried about,” he said.
Despite the declines, people are still coming to the Vail Valley.
On the other hand, 2021 and 2022 were outliers in terms of visitation. Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Romer noted that this year’s summer reservations as of March 31 are identical to the same period in 2019.
The decline in reservations isn’t unexpected, Romer said.
“We’re coming off 14 or 16 months of gangbusters growth after the pandemic… that was never sustainable,” Romer said. “We’re back to about where we’d expect to be.”
Romer noted that lodging rates are still increasing, albeit at a slower pace than the double-digit hikes of the past couple of years.
“We’re seeing this across all consumer products … travel is no exception,” Romer said.