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Spring skiing gets a shot in the arm… literally

15th March 2021 | Craig Altschul

Spring bookings start to skyrocket

Spring bookings start to skyrocket

Suddenly the COVID winter went from “hanging on” for hotels, motels and other lodging properties in ski resort towns to “hang on to your hats.” If there ever has been welcome news for innkeepers, this is it.

A Mountain Market Briefing this week from DestriMetrics, the business intelligence arm of Liftopia that tracks such things, is reporting late season bookings are setting an all-time record — yes, all-time record.

Citing “the dramatic decline in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths coupled with good snowfall in many regions,” reported Tom Foley, senior vice president for Business Operations and Analytics for Inntopia,” that’s helped to drive strong bookings and incremental fill during the past month.

“The increases are almost entirely due to short-lead bookings with visitors arriving less than 60 days after making their bookings. And, we also saw a decline in cancellations this February compared to last February,” Foley says.

Still, it is important to note that despite the late season surge in bookings, winter results are likely to fall short of the '19-'20 season that was abruptly cut short by the pandemic, and well below the last full winter season of Winter 2018-19. Still, good news is good news whenever it arrives.


Credit the vax

The dramatic effect on short-term bookings is attributable to the news that began rolling out the first of the year about the several rapidly approved “soon-to-arrive’ vaccines and a bit later on, the apparent drop of hospitalizations and deaths from the virus, giving skiers and snowboarders optimism for spring skiing.

Foley said a compelling note in the monthly report is booking patterns were closely tied to first-time vaccination rates. That indicates consumer’s willingness to book destination travel as the pandemic anxiety is moderating with an increasingly vaccinated population.

Further, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which rose 3.17 percent in February, to reach its highest-ever monthly closing as markets reacted positively to declines in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalization. 

Add to that positive news about vaccine distribution and economic stimulus legislation. It is 21.7 percent higher than it was at the end of February 2020, a gain attributed somewhat to sharp market declines at the end of February last year. 

Hospitality jobs coming back

The national unemployment rate declined from 6.3 percent in January to 6.2 percent in February, Foley notes, and was aided by the addition of 379,000 new jobs that exceeded analysts’ expectations. The vast majority of those positions were in the leisure and hospitality industry as restrictions continued to ease in those sectors.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, if you’ll pardon the cliché. Lodges filling up for the spring means restaurants, ski and rental shops and, of course, resort pass use and lift ticket purchases, will match. All when the sun begins to shine on softer snow and, in the case of the Rockies, a weekend snow dump hitting resorts that was as much as 16 inches in some places.

Don’t get too giddy and throw caution to the spring winds quite yet as a message from Colorado Ski Country reminds us that all visitors should understand COVID-19 safety protocols are still in place at all ski areas in the state.  That information is available here at OnTheSnow.com.

Utah makes it just as clear: “Currently, Utah is experiencing a mix of low, medium, and high COVID transmission rates. Masks are required in all areas of the state. Limits on social gathering are dependent on where you are in the state.”

But, no downer. Spring is here. The sun is shining.  We’re heading to the mountains again.

Spring skiing is back

Spring skiing is back

Copyright: blog.vail.com




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