Winter occupancy looks strong for Aspen and Snowmass, other than post-X Games lull
Occupancy looks strong for the lodging industry in Aspen and Snowmass Village through January, but the tourism industry is staring at a big hole for a couple weeks after the Winter X Games, according to the latest occupancy report.
Bill Tomcich, president of central reservation business Stay Aspen Snowmass, released a report Monday that said Aspen’s properties are pacing 1.3 percent ahead in reservations on the books while Snowmass is 13.1 percent ahead. A large legal conference early in the month helped boost Snowmass’ numbers.
“January is also expected to finish strong with a huge Winter X Games weekend as usual Jan. 26 to 28,” Tomcich wrote in his report to the business community. “But once those folks leave town starting Sunday the 29th, we have a pretty deep trough shaping up between big waves of huge occupancy that is expected to last until mid-February.”
The reservations on the books as of Dec. 31 would produce a January occupancy rate of 66.7 percent in Aspen and 71.8 percent in Snowmass Village, the report said.
After the trough ends in the middle of next month, occupancy will be consistently strong through the end of March, according to Tomcich, but there will be no “crazy peak periods” where lodging is completely full.
He indicated that dry conditions in December resulted in fewer calls from travelers planning vacations. Bookings have picked up with the snowfall in late December and January, he said.
December brought an interesting mix of trends. Aspen’s paid occupancy for the month was 61.6 percent, just slightly ahead of last year. Snowmass’ paid occupancy was 50 percent, an increase of about 2.6 percent over the prior year.
It was a record-high occupancy for the 10 years the statistic has been tracked in its current form, Tomcich wrote.
However, when owner usage is factored in, the total paid and unpaid occupancy was down in December. The average daily rate in Aspen soared from $609 per room in December 2015 to $775 in 2016, an increase of 27 percent.
The average daily rate increased a more modest 7.7 percent in Snowmass Village in January — from $452 last year to $486 this year.
The Aspen City Council directed staff to move forward with the Burlingame early childhood education center, but decided it needs more information on the affordable housing units that are part of the schematic design at a work session Monday.