Occupancy down from last year; airport transitioning to spring schedule | AspenTimes.com

Occupancy down from last year; airport transitioning to spring schedule

As the winter season heads toward the end, occupancy in Aspen and Snowmass combined is still slightly down from last year.

“Our pick-up throughout the season didn’t quite keep up to last year’s pace. However, the resort is still having a successful winter,” the Executive Summary and Occupancy Report for March 2023 states.

The Destimetrics report is a collaboration among the Aspen Skiing Company, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, and Snowmass Tourism. 

As of Feb. 28, winter season, which spans from November through April, is at 55.5% occupancy, down 2.8% from 2022’s 57.1%.

In Aspen, February ended at 77.1% occupancy, 2.2% less than 2022.

Snowmass ended down 5% from 2022 at 74.3 % paid occupancy as of the Feb. 28 report. However, the daily occupancy report from Snowmass Tourism as of March 15 shows occupancy may finish strong.

“Overall, the winter season is up slightly in terms of occupancy but way up in terms of revenue,” said Rose Abello, director of Snowmass tourism, at the monthly Tourism Talk in Snowmass.

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According to the Destimetrics report: Feb. 18, which was the Saturday of President’s Day Weekend, was the second highest occupancy day of the season, following Dec. 29.

As for March, the report shows the month began down 5.5% despite the buzz from events like the Audi FIS Ski World Cup. March is at 69.3% combined occupancy, compared to 73.3% last year.

“On a positive note, the snow keeps coming, we’ve extended the season, and conditions are exceptional, so we are all continuing to work on bookings for spring,” the report states.

Looking towards summer, reports show May through Aug. is currently pacing down 17% from last year, a deficit shared between both resorts.

“June is doing well, up about 9%,” said Abello about Snowmass summer occupancy. “July and August are down 28-29% in terms of occupancy.”

Abello said she believes there is opportunity for group bookings in July and August because there is group space available.

Airport update

This weekend, winter flight schedules are starting to wind down as the airport transitions to the spring flight schedule. Saturday, March 25 is the final day of the full winter flight schedule with up to 32 flights total, Fly Aspen Snowmass consultant Bill Tomcich said at Wednesday’s Tourism Talk.

Beginning Sunday, United will drop from 21 daily flights to 11. Daily service from all five hubs, which are Denver, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, will continue through April 2. On April 3, United will offer six daily flights from Denver and one new daily from Chicago.

American Airlines will continue their full winter schedule through Monday, April 4. That includes eight flights daily from four hubs, Dallas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Chicago, along with service from Austin. Beginning April 5, they will continue one flight daily from Dallas until the airport closure from May 10 through May 24.

Delta will continue three daily flights through April 2, which includes two flights from Atlanta and one from Los Angeles.

According to Tomcich, the summer schedule will be very similar to last year’s, with the addition of a daily flight from Austin. Additionally, flight prices for the summer are “pricey,” he said.

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“Looking ahead towards September, most of the flights are going to continue, except Los Angeles on American will be discontinued after Labor Day. San Francisco on United is going to operate two flights per week through September, just like they did last year, along with Houston twice daily and Chicago,” he said.

Schedules are preliminary for beyond September, but he pointed out the preliminary winter schedules for next year are loaded on staggering starts in mid-December.

“I did have some feedback earlier that people were concerned trying to book really early, and there weren’t flights available. They should now be in there. They’re not final schedules, but at least we have all the roots published and open for sale from next winter,” he said.