What You Ought to Know About Destination Mountain Travel...
Oct. 23, 2015
Ski Industry
Although robust occupancy and revenue figures for September contributed to the third consecutive record-breaking summer at western mountain resorts, booking momentum into the winter months is pacing slower for the first time in more than three years.  The monthly Mountain Market Briefing released this week by Denver-based DestiMetrics, based on data collected from 290 property management companies in 19 mountain destination communities representing approximately 27,500 rooms across Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming,  reported a slight reversal in a multi-year trend of nearly consecutive year-over-year increases in bookings and revenues.
Source:  Firsttracksonline.com 
Skiing in the Sierra Nevada last year was awful. And the year before that too. With the likely return this year of what one scientist has called "Godzilla El Nino," will the world become wonderful again for people with planks on their feet? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says chances of El Nino weather hitting the Northern Hemisphere this winter are about 95 percent, with an 85 percent likelihood that it will last into early spring. Leaving little to chance, ski areas in California have been sweetening their deals to get people to commit to buying ski passes again. "We want to give them the confidence they need to make that purchase and know they got a good value no matter what the weather does."
Source:  Summit Daily. 
Major Players at Whistler are going flat out trying to kill a proposed four-season resort that would open a magor ski hill 35 minutes closer to Vancouver.  Whistler Blackcomb, the resort municipality of Whistler, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and others are fiercely lobbying the province's environmental assessment office to reject the Garibaldi at Squamish proposal, arguing it's a poor area for skiing and would end up hurting the corridor's reputation. A decision is expected this fall.  They also say if the resort - proposed by the Aquilini Investment Group and Northland Properties, which developed Revelstoke Mountain Resort - gets the green light, it would siphon off Whistler-bound skiers.

Source:  Times Colonist. 
We all know the beginning of last winter was pretty awful in terms of snow coverage and the season that followed wasn't the greatest, however this didn't stop the sale of ski passes and France has come out on top as the most popular place to ski in the world.  The stats are based on the number of ski days sold, and for France last years figures were 53.9 million, that's despite the relatively poor conditions and Easter coming later than normal. In close second came the USA resorts with 53.6 million and Austria in third place with 51.8 million. The Northern Alps resorts maintained a steady level of attendance versus previous years, whilst the Southern Alps suffered a decline of around 11% based on the previous 4 winters. 
Source: Chamonet.    Read More... 
Destination Tourism
Lake Tahoe Setting Example For Summer Tourism Around The West
For years, mountain towns in places like Colorado and Utah essentially closed down when the chairlifts stopped spinning in the springtime.  Locals might have embraced summer opportunities, but ski area marketing departments were less apt to aggressively pursue summer traffic.  That's all changed, said Tom Foley, director of operations for DestiMetrics - a Denver, Colo., based organization that tracks mountain lodging bookings at 19 western mountain destinations in California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Wyoming. "All mountain destinations are learning that a single winter season does not a business make," Foley said in an interview with the Tahoe Daily Tribune. "Summer is a season of opportunity," especially with increasingly unreliable winters.
Source:  Sierra Sun.     Read More...  
Resort Facing Projection of Fewer Reservations in 2015, 2016 Season
A Strong U.S. dollar, an off-year for visits by large groups, plus major competition from Utah and Lake Tahoe resorts are troubling signs for Aspen and Snowmass on the brink of the 2015/16 ski season. The industry-wide projection for the season is also anything but rosy, despite hopes for a heavy snow year due to El Nino weather forecasts. According to a group that tracks resort performance in mountain markets, reservations are pacing slower now than anytime in the last three years. Snowmass, and to a lesser extent Aspen, have traits that could make the sting worse. "We are definitetly facing major headwinds in international (business) that we won't be able to overcome," 
Source:  Aspen Daily News Online.     Read More...  
The 2015 fiscal year was a good one in the Vail Resorts universe, with increases in revenue, skier visits and more.  Company CEO Rob Katz and company executive vice president and chief financial officer Michael Barkin hosted a conference call on Sept. 28 to detail the company's fourth quarter performance and give an overview of the 2015 fiscal year.  That broad overview was impressive, with Katz reporting a 20.9 percent increase in pass revenue and the growth of summer business. Pass sales continue to be an ever-bigger part of the resort company's revenue picture. Katz said an emphasis on early pass sales has been successful. The company has already sold more than half the passes it expects to move for the coming season.

Source:  Sierra Sun. 
Lodging Industry
If a travel jacket raising $9 million on Kickstarter proves anything, it's that crowdfunding is as good for generating cash as it is for buzz. And it's not only startups getting into the "campaigns and contributions" game these days. Now, luxury hotels are sticking their hand into that cookie jar, as well. Of course, it's not really for the money though.  For some hotels, Crowdfunding has basically become the new version of a hotel rewards program. And pledging money gets you more than a crappy t-shirt or a signed postcard, but also a lifetime of luxury perks and service as a pseudo-hotel owner.  

Source:  Road Warrior Voices. 
Travel App Usage Surprisingly Low
Do you use travel apps on your smartphone to book or track any elements of your travel? If so, you're actually in the minority,according to a new survey by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation (GBTA) and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.  They polled more than 500 U.S. and Canadian road warriors, and found that only four in 10 have used a smartphone to book a hotel in the past six months - and hotel apps are the most frequently downloaded onto those devices. You can't book if you don't have apps, and the study found that "less than half of the business travelers surveyed have downloaded airline, hotel, travel reservation or general travel apps" onto their phones. 
Source:  SF Gate.   Read More... 
Airbnb Will Have a 100% Growth Rate In 2015, Says Report
In 2015, Airbnb, the short-term rental platform, will double its nightly bookings to about 80 million, reports Reuters, citing "investors familiar with the company's performance." And bookings during to the papal visit show why, according to a Wall Street Journal story.  The forecasted numbers couldn't be verified because the private startup doesn't publicly reveal its figures.  If true, Airbnb would have a triple-digit growth rate for nightly bookings in its seventh year of existence that would far exceed the forecasts of investment analysts.  Nightly bookings do not precisely equate to revenue gains. 

Source:  Tnooz.   Read More... 
Airline Industry
More US Airline Consolidation Is Already Happening
To read the media stories, the merger of American and US Airways is being assumed to be the last of airline consolidation in this country.  It's not. More is coming - it just will be largely transparent to the consumer.  To be sure, as far as more mergers of airline brands is concerned, the party is pretty much over.  But the next wave of consolidation will be within "regional airlines" - the sector that provides significant percentages of major airline operations. Regardless of the name, they are no longer "airlines," per se, nor are they "regional" in regard to where their planes fly.
Source:  Forbes.com.   Read More... 
Why Optimism About the US Economy's Strength Has Dimmed
Consumers, fueled by job growth, cheaper gas and higher home values, would drive the U.S. economy through a global slump. That was the widespread hope just a few months ago. Now, doubts are growing that the United States can withstand economic pressures flowing from overseas. Economies in China, Canada, Brazil and Europe are struggling. Canada, the largest U.S. trading partner, is in recession.  Americans have been holding back on spending even though lower gas prices have put more cash in their pockets. Employers have slowed hiring and held down pay. 

Source:  ABC News.  
Gasoline Prices Drop to Six-Year Low
Gasoline futures tumbled to a six-year low, extending a selloff spurred by increasing supplies and concerns about weakening demand.  The slump in gasoline futures, which are down nearly 10% this month, is a sign of a burgeoning glut of refined fuel, mirroring the excess supplies of crude that sent oil prices plunging late in 2014.  Falling gasoline prices offer a continued benefit for U.S. households, which are expected to save hundreds of dollars each on fuel this year.  While crude-oil prices continued to fall through much of 2015, gasoline prices rose as drivers opted to travel more miles and buy larger cars and trucks that require more fuel

Source:  Wall Street Journal.   

ASSY logo 
January 29, 2016

The ASSEMBLY will make a distinct shift to focus on summer mountain tourism.  This Destination Mountain Summer theme will explore the peaks and valleys of our seasonal mountain economy, where peaks require management and mitigation, while the valleys can be better marketed. 
The 2016 Agenda is a work in progress but be sure to check out our initial general session and workshop topics. 
Registration is now open!   The best rates are available now and will increase as the event gets closer. 
Stay tuned for special DestiMetrics Subscribers rates!

Upcoming presentations and appearances



October 25 - 28

Vacation Rental Managers Association Annual Conference

New Orleans, LA 


November 8 - 12

Springer Miller Systems Host Users Group Conference

Bend, OR 


December 15

Vail Town Council/VEAC

Vail, CO


January 29

The Assembly 2016

Denver, CO


Note: If you're planning on attending any of these events and would like to schedule a time to meet, please contact Katie Barnes at kbarnes@destimetrics.com or 
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 Volume 71