January set to be a big month for tourism in Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

January set to be a big month for tourism in Snowmass

Skiers and snowboarders pack the Village Express chairlift, which starts in Snowmass Base Village and takes passengers to to the top of Sam's Knob. Aspen Skiing Co.'s four mountains typically see the most visitors during the Christmas to New Year's Day period.
Aubree Dallas/Snowmass Sun

January is looking to be a busy month for tourism in Snowmass, with occupancy rates tracking well above last year at this time.

“From what we hear from the hotels, that’s mostly international,” said Tourism Director Rose Abello.

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January has the highest percent change for booking, at 23.12% higher than last year. December is 3.74% higher than last year, March is 11.67% higher and February and April are about the same at this juncture.

Abello noted that the numbers from last year are deceiving because of the Viewline and Wildwood renovation. With every hotel open, the number of rooms reported to Destimetrics is about 36,000, but last year the number of rooms was down to 24,000 because Viewline and Wildwood were closed.

“That 30% drop really made our occupancy numbers look higher last year,” she said.

Tourism data was revealed during the business update part of Snowmass Tourism’s Tourism Talk last week at the Collective Snowmass. Snowmass Tourism also gave updates on the airport, holiday activities and marketing.

Peak season at the airport has begun and will continue through Jan. 3. Aspen/Pitkin County Airport will see 35-36 flights each day through this period.

Fly Aspen Snowmass Consultant Bill Tomcich said United, American and Delta airlines have come through in a capacity perspective, adding many more flight options all the way through April.

“The fact that Aspen is connected so well to not only the fastest growing hub, which is Denver, but to other hubs that are going to be growing very quickly in the future, Houston and Chicago, bodes very well for us,” he said.

Peak season at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport will last through Jan. 3.
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Last year, Skywest did not have enough aircraft to fly their full schedule. However, this year Skywest is more prepared than ever before for the coming season, Tomcich said. He added there will be two Skywest mechanics on site at all times, which should help with reliability of the planes. Additionally, the aircraft are not as tightly scheduled as they have been in the past, which gives planes time to catch up before delaying or canceling another flight.

“I’m optimistic we are going to see some significant improvement over what we saw one year ago,” Tomcich said.

In the marketing update, Marketing Director Virginia McNellis said they shifted the way they targeted audiences this year and refined their audiences in order to engage as best they can.

“We’ve seen that the family-focused creative imagery is the most successful and gives us the best return,” she said.

Instead of stopping messaging to their East Coast markets in January, they decided to extend the New York and Miami markets through the winter to build off the success they have had so far.