Business Monday: April 2021 wasn’t cruel to Aspen’s tourism like in 2020
Early numbers for summer 2021 are rebounding as well
April 2020 was about as brutal as it gets for tourism in Aspen, so it figured there would be rise in visitor bookings this month with more relaxed travel and health restrictions.
An update on travel released last week showed local lodging occupancy rates in April, as of March 31, to have increased 7,317.2% over April last year.
“No, that is not a typo,” said Aspen Skiing Co.’s summary of the latest occupancy report released by DestiMetrics, a division of the Inntopia firm that examines lodging and tourism trends in the mountain West.
The numbers returned to earth when talking actual booking rates. This April started with a 24.8% occupancy rate, compared with 0.3% at the beginning of April 2020 and 34.3% when April 2019 kicked off, the report said.
“While we don’t expect to hit a new record high, we should be proud to end the ski season on such a positive note,” the Skico summary said.
Last year at this time, ski areas had been closed since March 15 due to a public health order from Gov. Jared Polis. That resulted in March 2020 closing the books with a 34.4% occupancy rate, compared with the 79.9% clip in March 2019.
March 2021 also showed a turned around from 2020, with combined occupancy between Aspen and Snowmass Village standing at 64.3%, an 88% increase over last year. Aspen accounted for a 66% reservations rate; Snowmass stood at 62.1%, the report said.
“Domestic spring break travelers contributed significantly to our March visitation as well as the World Championships, World Cup and Grand Prix events,” the report noted.
For the summer months, Aspen and Snowmass have a 20.5% occupancy so far, which is ahead of last year’s pace of 14.1% at this time.
“July is posting the best occupancy at 31.7%,” the report said. “To give some perspective against 2019, we had 26% occupancy on the books by the end of March 2019 for summer 2019. Based on summer demand for both group and leisure, we are anticipating this to continue to pick up rapidly.”
This offseason and summer’s commercial flight schedule also has come to fruition. Here’s what it looks like:
• April 13 through May 5 — two American Airlines flights daily between Aspen a Dallas-Fort Worth; and four United flights daily between Aspen and Denver
• May 6 through May 16 — one American flight daily from DFW, and four daily United flights from Denver
• May 17 through May 23 — Aspen-Pitkin County Airport closed for runway rehabilitation
• May 24 through June 2 — One American flight daily from DFW with extra flights May 27 to 31 from DFW, Chicago and Los Angeles; four daily United flights between Denver as well as six May 24
• June 3 through Sept. 7 — American will offer five flight daily flights between Aspen and DFW, two daily each from Chicago and Los Angeles, and one daily from Phoenix, plus a new Saturday flight from Austin, Texas; United will have Denver service seven times a day along with two daily flights from Los Angeles and Houston, and one daily from Chicago and San Francisco
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One of downtown Aspen’s oldest restaurants and a local’s favorite will close for good on Nov. 5, according to social media posts.