Good news for the ski industry! Last month, more rooms were occupied in Western mountain resorts than in February of last year. This marks the second month of improvement in a row. February 2010 fared 2.7% better than February 2009. This boosts season-to-date lodging numbers into positive territory for the first time this season. That’s more than can be said for the 2008-2009 season.
Ralf Garrison, director of the Mountain Travel Research Program states that “this small increase is a big win because it indicates the reversal of a long-term down cycle.”
Garrison’s sampling of 201 property management companies in 15 resorts in Utah, Colorado, California and British Columbia found that February’s business, on the heels of an uptick in January, resulted in an occupancy level that was a 0.03 percent above last season’s comparable figure.
Additionally, on an overall Western region scale, ski lodge reservations made for February through July are up 12.7% compared to that time period in 2009.
On the downside, last month’s average room rates are still down 6.6% from last year (a sign of a lingering recession), but overall, Garrison is optimistic the ski season will end with higher occupancy rates. “Even if the margin of victory is small, its significance is not”.