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July pacing at record level for Aspen, Snowmass lodging industry

Staff report

June wasn’t exactly famine, but July will definitely be feast for the Aspen-Snowmass Village lodging industry.

July is pacing toward a record month for both Aspen and Snowmass Village based on the reservations on the books as of June 30, according to a report by Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, a central bookings agency for the resorts.

Aspen properties were pacing 16 percent ahead of last year while Snowmass was pacing 7 percent ahead for July, Tomcich wrote in his report.

Business is spread throughout the month instead of bunched into a few big days, he said. As of June 30, there wasn’t a single night in Aspen below 70 percent occupancy or greater than 88 percent, he reported. The growth appears to be more in midweek than on weekends.

The boost in July follows a flat June. Paid occupancy was down nearly 5 percent in Aspen for the month compared with last year. The average daily rate was up 3.7 percent despite lower occupancy.

In Snowmass Village, occupancy was up 12.2 percent but it came with a price. The average daily rate was down 3.2 percent.

In the two towns combined, occupancy was up one-half percent, according to Tomcich. However, that’s more a result of 2014’s strength rather than 2015’s weakness.

“While these results may not sound very impressive, it is important to keep in mind that June 2014 saw extraordinary increases over June 2013 in both Aspen and Snowmass with increases over the prior June of 10 percent and 30 percent, respectively,” Tomcich wrote.

Aspen’s experience among western resorts isn’t unique. DestiMetrics, a resort travel research organization that tracks reservations and occupancy at participating resorts, said aggregated occupancy for the resorts from May through October is up 6.8 percent compared with last year.

“Bookings made in June for the remainder of the summer remained strong, and 74 percent of last summer’s entire business has already been realized or booked,” said Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics, in a statement.

Tomcich said in his report that the later calendar shift of Labor Day weekend this year will affect occupancy in late August and earlier September. August will start strong, based on current reservations, but taper off later in the month “probably to a greater degree than many were expecting, especially with the Aspen Music Festival extended through Aug. 23 this year,” Tomcich wrote.

On the other hand, September is shaping up well, particularly in Snowmass Village, with Labor Day weekend Sept. 5 through 7 and the Tough Mudder competition Sept. 11 and 12.


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