An unfortunate lack of snowfall for the Tahoe ski resorts during January has led to a drop off in bookings for the remainder of the ski season, but snow that’s fallen, expected snow and Presidents Day weekend has helped pick up the slack.
This downturn was reported by Inntopia in its monthly DestiMetrics market briefing. As of Jan. 31, aggregated occupancy for January was down 4.4 percent, while Average Daily Rate (ADR) climbed 7.3 percent compared to January 2016. Despite the drop in occupancy, the increased rates allowed a 2.6 percent increase in aggregate revenues. Bookings made in January for arrivals from January through June are down 15.4 percent with the biggest decline coming in bookings for January arrivals — plunging 24 percent compared to bookings made last year.
“Occupancy has moved from being up slightly in November to essentially flat in December to measurably down as of Jan. 31 for the first year-over-year decline in winter season occupancy since 2011-12,” said Tom Foley, vice president of Business Intelligence for Inntopia. “And while some much-needed snowfall has arrived at many destinations since this data was collected, and some whiplash swings on Wall Street have changed the narrative in recent days, we’re concentrating on January performance in this report.”
Despite these claims, Tahoe ski resorts are staying positive regarding bookings and snow.
“The Village at Squaw Valley lodging bookings remain quite healthy, with sold out back to back weekends this holiday period and strong midweek reservations,” said Squaw Valley Public Relations Director Liesl Hepburn. “We ended up with a foot of new snow from these last two storms, more than expected, and very cold temperatures have been beneficial for continuous snowmaking.”
DestiMetrics reports aggregated occupancy for November through April is down 3.3 percent with decreases in four of the six months. As of Jan. 31, only the shoulder months of November and April were up for the winter season. However, aggregated ADR is up 4 percent compared to last winter, enabling revenues, despite the lower occupancy, to get away with a 0.5 percent increase in revenues for the season.
As the snow has begun arriving at some western destinations, thankfully including Tahoe, economic indicators show continued strength despite the inconsistent shifts on Wall Street.
Once again, during the month of January, the Dow Jones Industrial Average continued its meteoric rise by gaining more than 1,430 points in a single month for a 5.8 percent increase, and setting an all-time Index high of 26,149.39 points for the largest monthly point gain on record. After a moderate dip last month, the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) bounced back to post a 2.7 percent gain and the seventh consecutive month above the 120-point threshold and confirming strong consumer confidence.
Employers added 200,00 new jobs in January, keeping the unemployment rate at 4.1 percent. This growth extends the unbroken streak of positive job creation that started in October 2010. Employee wages increased slightly during the month but are still lagging well behind pre-recession levels.
As more snow is being predicted on and off for the upcoming weeks, hopefully this upward tick in bookings will continue on into the remainder of spring ski season.
DestiMetrics, part of the Business Intelligence platform for Stowe-based Inntopia, tracks lodging performance in resort destinations. It compiles forward-looking reservation data each month and provides individualized and aggregated results to subscribers at participating resorts.