Vail Valley: Report shows slow, steady growth in reservations |

Vail Valley: Report shows slow, steady growth in reservations

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO, Colorado

Report: Slow but steady recovery this season

Daily staff report

In the latest data released by the Mountain Travel Research Program, the month of October finished ahead of October 2009 and the upcoming winter season shows continued improvements in both bookings and room rates. However, despite small consistent gains, overall occupancy and rates continue to lag significantly behind patterns established prior to the October 2008 economic meltdown.

“After two years of uncertainty and sluggish growth in the travel industry, it is clear that what we once considered the ‘new normal’ is not so new anymore and is simply becoming, well, just plain normal,” said Ralf Garrison, founder and director of the Mountain Travel Research Program.

Actual occupancy for October 2010 was up 12.9 percent among participating destinations, while average daily rate was up 4.1 percent. Bookings during October for the coming season are trending up for arrivals in every single month, most notably with November up 21.1 percent and the crucial holiday month of December up 13.7 percent.

For the coming season, on-the-books occupancy as of Oct. 31 for November is up 14.6 percent compared to the same period in 2009 while the daily rate for is down 0.7 percent for November. November – April, on-the-books year-over-year occupancy is up 2.7 percent from the same period in 2009-10 while the daily rate is only up 0.1 percent for the same period.

“Many lodging destinations are getting their best deals out early to encourage consumer bookings and it seems to be working,” Garrison said. “Occupancy is up and rates are essentially tracking the same as with last year’s discounts. The pattern suggests an ongoing buyer’s market and that is good news for consumers.”

According to Mountain Travel Research Program analyst Tom Foley, there are several factors at play in the greater economy that may be influencing the gradual upward trend.

“The Dow Jones Industrial average is up 9.6 percent since May, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators posted gains in four of the last five months, travel prices are up 4.4 percent since last summer, and national occupancy rates are up 8.8 percent,” Foley said. “However, the Consumer Confidence Index remains shaky and is only 3.6 percent higher than the summer of 2009; with the high unemployment rate remaining essentially unchanged over the summer, traveling behavior didn’t resume as strongly as we hoped.”

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