Aspen, Snowmass report record summer occupancy while winter reservations remain strong | AspenTimes.com

Aspen, Snowmass report record summer occupancy while winter reservations remain strong

Staff report

Western mountain resorts in seven states experienced a fifth consecutive summer lodging record, according to data released Tuesday.

Denver-based DestiMetrics, a firm that tracks mountain resort economics, reported Tuesday that occupancy was up 6.6 percent for the six months from May to October compared with the same period last summer and led to a very strong 14.6 percent increase in revenue. Increases in occupancy were reported in all six months.

"We've grown accustomed to announcing summer records for the past few years, and the momentum has remained strong and steady for quite some time," said Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics. "It has certainly become clear that nearly all the players in the mountain travel industry have found that reliable sweet spot that will help drive their destination resorts toward true, year-round mountain tourism, and based on all the indicators and trends we are tracking, we expect it to continue."

The trend proved true locally with Aspen and Snowmass both posting their strongest summers ever recorded, according to Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass.

In his October executive summary, Tomcich reports that Aspen's overall paid occupancy was 60.5 percent, up 6.9 percent over last year.

Snowmass's paid occupancy was 45.2 percent, up 4.9 percent over last year.

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In other tourism news, Tomcich reported that the overall completion rate for commercial air service at the Aspen airport was 99.6 percent for the past five months. Out of 1,901 scheduled flights in and out of Aspen, 1,893 were completed as scheduled, he wrote in his summary.

"This is by far the longest stretch of commercial service at this level of reliability that I have witnessed in my 21 years here," Tomcich wrote.

Despite no snow and poor snowmaking conditions throughout Colorado, and the fact that there aren't World Cup races in Aspen this month due to the World Cup Finals being held here in March, November paid lodging occupancies in Aspen and Snowmass are pacing slightly ahead of last year.

Tomcich reports that advanced bookings for the winter also look strong. Neither the election results or "this unusually prolonged Indian Summer" seem to be affecting winter reservations, he said.

Tomcich remains positive about the weather and reminded others to do the same:

"This is going to be my 28th winter in Colorado, and the weather we are experiencing right now is virtually identical to my first winter here — 1989/90," he wrote, adding that December snow turned out to be plentiful. "Many of you will recall the amazing winter of 2007/08. It started out much the same way. My point being is that the weather does and always will change, and it's important that we all remain positive and confident of that indisputable fact with everyone we are speaking with."

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