What You Ought to Know About Destination Mountain Travel...
Mar. 18th 2016
February Booking Pace Fueling Respectable End-Of-Season Finish
Bookings made in February for the remainder of the winter season and into the first months of summer were up 8.9 percent compared to the same time last year and allowed western mountain destinations to withstand the triple challenge of a volatile economy, slipping consumer confidence, and balmy mid-winter weather. According to Denver-based DestiMetrics* in their Monthly Market Briefing, as of Feb. 29 lodging occupancy for the winter season is up a modest 3.6 percent and overall revenues are up 5.2 percent compared to the same time last year with increases being posted in every month except April.
Source:  DestiMetrics.com. 
Ski Industry
Peter Smithis dreaming of a white Independence Day. The longtime ski junkie from Claremont knows that the El Niņo weather pattern has yet to put a significant dent in the state's drought, but a series of storms over the last few months has him fantasizing about a monster ski season that can stretch deep into summer. If big snow dumps continue through spring, Smith said, his ski club could schedule an extra trip to Mammoth Mountain for the Fourth of July weekend. "The past couple of seasons have been difficult for us, but this season every one of our ski trips has been sold out," said Smith, president of the Burbank-based Wailers Ski Club.

Source:  LAtimes.com. 
Skier visits are up 6.2 percent over last year at Colorado ski resorts through the midway point of the season, Colorado Ski Country USA announced Tuesday. The organization said its 21 member resorts reported a 3.8 percent bump in visitation during the season's second period, from Jan. 1 through Feb. 29. This, despite a mild two months in the mountains which saw few large snow storms. "We're very pleased with the way the season is shaping up," said Melanie Mills, president and CEO, Colorado Ski Country USA, in a press release. "While we would've liked to have seen more significant storms come through Colorado in January and February, the weather pattern was not unexpected given that this is an El Nino year.

Source:  Coloradoan.com. 
Even for representatives of the eternally optimistic ski industry, there's just no sugar-coating it: This winter stinks. "It's friggin' horrible. It's been an epically bad year," said Eric Friedman, marketing director for the Mad River Glen ski area in Waitsfield, Vt. "We get snow and then it rains. It's below zero and then it's 60 degrees. We just keep getting beaten down."  At ski areas, resorts, and related businesses across New England, revenues and visits have slumped amid a winter that has been unusually warm and snow-starved, especially during critical holiday weeks when the companies earn most of their money. It's too early for final numbers, but industry representatives and tourism officials in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont acknowledged business had shrunk substantially.

Source:  Bostonglobe.com. 
New data suggests that the United States is in the midst of the warmest winter on record. NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information just released its State of the Climate: National Overview for February 2016 report tracking weather stats for December through February. The data reveals record high average temperatures across the contiguous U.S. East Coast skiers know that this winter has been tough with little moisture and warm temperatures. The average temp was 36.8°F, which surpasses the previous record of 36.5°F set in 1999/2000. Just how warm has it been? Forty-six states across the U.S. had an above average winter temperature.

Source:  Ski.curbed.com. 
For the  third season in a row, Colorado ski areas operating on public land paid record-high rent to the federal landlord, indicating the state's resort industry is making more money on the hill than ever before. Revenue-based permit fees from 22 Colorado resorts operating on U.S. Forest Service land climbed more than 11 percent to $23 million for the 2014-15 seasonThat bounty of rent - $17.7 million of it coming from the 11 resorts in the White River National Forest, the most-skied national forest in the country - goes directly into the U.S. Treasury. That bothers both resort operators and local Forest Service workers who could use the surging fees to address the impacts of growing recreation, especially as early reports from Colorado resorts show visitor spending on track for another strong year.

Source:  The Denver Post. 
Destination Tourism
Park City Resort reports double-digit growth
Park City The big investment Vail Resorts made in the offseason to link Park City Mountain and Canyons resorts is paying off.
In its earnings report for the quarter ending Jan. 31, Vail Resorts reported "double-digit visitation and revenue growth at Park City, following our transformational capital investments."
Vail spent $50 million before the start of the 2015-16 ski season to install two lifts connecting the Summit County ski areas and to improve midmountain restaurants.
The quarterly report did not break out specific numbers for Park City, but said that through March 8, the number of skier visits at Vail's operations in Colorado, California and Utah were up 9.9 percent over the same period a year ago. Lift-ticket revenues rose nearly 20 percent.

Source:  Salt Lake Tribune. 
Blame on El Nino. But instead of lamenting how the warm winds and unseasonably tepid patterns have ruined plans for this year, local skiers might want to consider what many other New Englanders have done in the wake of poor snow conditions at their favorite Maine and New Hampshire resorts: Head west. Over at Paul's Sportswear & Ski Shop in Salisbury, owner Paula Hall said it's been a tough season on the Northeastern resorts, which have relied on their snow-making operations to keep business alive. At her Bridge Road store this year, Hall said she has been selling a lot of ski and boot travel bags to customers who are packing up and taking off to Western peaks, where nature has been kinder to skiing enthusiasts.

Source:  Newburyport News.com 
Mountain Town News
Did early snow cause January value drop?
One month doesn't make a trend, but Eagle County's real estate recovery took a hit in January. Was it because of December's good snow? According to data from Land Title Guarantee Company, which tracks closed transactions recorded by the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder's Office, there were 116 completed sales in January. That's the same number as the same month in 2015. The difference was the value of those transactions - $109 million this year, a 25 percent decline from January of 2015. The difference was sales of very expensive homes. For the month, only one home sold valued at more than $5 million. 
Source:  Vail Daily. 
Mountain towns learn to love - and regulate - short-term rentals
Kate Barney fielded a call from a local property manager a few years ago: Would she rent her family's home in downtown Crested Butte to vacationers for the summer? The offer was huge - almost eight months of mortgage payments. "These people are paying top dollar," said Barney, who manages properties with her general contractor husband, allowing them to move their family to different houses. Now, their home is typically booked for the entire summer by mid-March, as are many of the more than 250 vacation rental homes available in the Crested Butte area listed on websites such as VRBO.com, HomeAway.com, Airbnb.com and flipkey.com.

 Source:  The Denver Post. 
Lodging Industry
Large study of Airbnb hosts hints at who is making the money
There's an ongoing debate about how home-sharing sites like Airbnb are performing, and a new study from LearnAirbnb, a consultancy, casts some fresh light. LearnAirbnb did a 119-page study of the home sharing industry, with market data on 430,000 US listings - which is about a fifth of the 2 million listings that Airbnb says it has in the US. Some of the hard data was culled by Everbooked, a pricing and market intelligence firm for property owners... The study also includes an attitudinal survey of more than 1,300 hosts across 83 countries, done in December 2015.
Source:  Tnooz.com. 
Sabre: Millennials may be the largest hotel spenders as soon as 2017
Another  day, another tipping point: Millennials will become the largest spenders on hotels as early as 2017, claims SabreAt ITB this week, Sabre's vice president of marketing for hospitality solutions Sarah Kennedy Ellispresented a sneak preview of some research into millennial trends in hospitality. Her comment about the spending tipping point is a projection from the company's analysis of the 10,000 or so booking engines which it runs on various hotel dotcoms - that's 20 million transactions. "It's known that millennials will become the largest spending travel demographic by 2020. But we're seeing that, in hospitality, the trends are sharper, and we think that by 2017 or 2018 millennials will be the hotel industry's most important market."
Source:  Tnooz.com. 
Airline Industry
2016 Will Be the Year of Experimental Airfare Pricing
The experimentation is driven by a new approach to revenue management across the travel experience, honed by years of optimization and austerity in the airline industry over the course of the great recession. That period brought new developments in ancillary fees such as checked bags and seat selection. Now in 2016, even though the economy is recovering and the era of stinginess should be over, airlines are continuing the trend and looking for even further ways to capitalize their products. Leading this effort is the visionary or villainous team at Delta Air Lines, depending on whether viewed from the investor or consumer perspective. 

Source:  Skift.com. 
  On Monday,  February 29, the United States and China will launch the 2016 US-China Tourism Year in Beijing at an opening ceremony hosted by Brand USA, the public-private partnership responsible for promoting the United States as a premiere travel destination to help maximize the economic and social benefits of increased inbound international travel to the United States. An outcome of President Xi's 2015 visit, the U.S. China Tourism Year aims to increase travel and tourism between the two countries by enhancing the traveler's experience, increasing the traveler's cultural understanding, and expanding the traveler's appreciation of natural landscapes in each other's countries. "Travel and tourism is the United States' largest services export, generating nearly $220.8 billion and supporting over 1.1 million U.S. jobs," U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews said. 

Source: Eturbonews.com. 
Helped by a strong dollar, low inflation and rising wages, US travellers will remain on the move this year and Europe stands to gain, says EyeforTravel's latest full-year forecastIn 2015, US tourists had more money in their pockets, helping travel to outbound destinations rise by 7.7%. "As our latest report notes, this was the fastest period of sustained US outbound spending growth in the last few decades," says Alex Hadwick, EyeforTravel Head of Research. The upward tick was thanks to the strong greenback, which made gains against just about every other major world currency. 

Source:  Hospitalitynet.org. 
U.S. interest rates remain extremely low and that can only mean one thing: The economy isn't growing fast enough to justify making it more expensive to borrow.
The Federal Reserve is expected to stand still and leave interest rates unchanged after bank VIPs meet this week. Nor are any of the economic reports on a busy calendar likely to give them any reason to act differently.
Retail sales in February, for example, are forecast to turn negative. A pair of surveys of American manufacturers are likely to remain under water. And inflation shows little sign it's about to soar - what would be a sure sign of an economy catching fire.

Source:  MarketWatch. 
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Keystone, CO

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Stowe. VT

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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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On May 18, Ralf Garrison, DestiMetrics' Director and Principal, will be presenting at the Onsite Property Management Association (OPMA) Semi-Annual Executive Summit in Denver.  OPMA facilitates the coming together of onsite rental property management companies and providers of goods and services through education, networking, and advocacy to elevate the hospitality experience.  

During his presentation Ralf will 
introduce DMX and use its proprietary systems and market intelligence to provide a brief market update.  He'll also present a case for collaboration toward a DMX/OPMA collaboration that could leverage DMX's public-private business model to build a case for the economic contribution of non-hotel lodging properties in destination resort communities.  A sample case study will be presented followed by discussion and feedback.
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 Volume 75

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