What You Ought to Know About Destination Mountain Travel...
Apr. 22nd 2016
School Break Report Available until Monday, April 25th - Learn More
Winter Wrapping Up On A High Note; Summer Going Gangbusters
A strong finish for the 2015-16 winter season is virtually assured for western mountain lodging properties in both the Far West and Rocky Mountain regions as March's strong snowfall in most areas and improved economic indicators increased bookings. As of March 31, actual figures combined with on-the-books reservations for April are nudging the 2015-16 season closer to a possible record with winter occupancy up 4.3 percent and revenues up 5.2 percent over last year at the same time. The latest information was released by Denver-based DestiMetrics* in their most recent Monthly Market Briefing. 
Source:  DestiMetrics.com.  
Ski Industry
The calendar says it's spring; Colorado says, "Psych! Get thee back up the mountain." Confusing weather for wardrobe streamliners has been excellent news for snow fans and pass holders at the state's resorts and ski areas, which have seen more skier visits in the second act of the season than last year at this time. Since it's an El Niņo year, the finale might still be to come, said Jennifer Rudolph, spokesperson for Colorado Ski Country USA. "We had huge snowstorms at the beginning of the season and lesser amounts of snow in the middle. With a typical El Niņo, we'll have big snowstorms at the end of the season as well," said Rudolph, whose trade group represents 21 Colorado member resorts and ski areas.

Source:  Gazette.com. 
Predictions of slushy, El Nino-dampened ski seasons were snowed under across British Columbia this winter as many resorts celebrate one of their most successful years. At Sun Peaks Resort, north of Kamloops, director of marketing Aiden Kelly says 350,000 people, a record number, packed the slopes and there is more to count until closing on Sunday. He credits the low Canadian dollar, strong demand following last year's dismal season, and outstanding snow conditions for the record. The Big White Resort, outside Kelowna, also closes Sunday, but is still enjoying fresh powder, while Silver Star Mountain near Vernon closed last weekend despite 20 centimetres of new snow before the lifts shut down.

Source:  TheStar.com. 
[New England] Melting profits: Warm weather puts resorts substantially off target 
So much snow fell in February 2015 that many skiers couldn't make it from Massachusetts to the Mount Sunapee ski area. This year, Concord sits tied for the least snowiest winter in nearly 150 years of record-keeping while Mount Sunapee measured a mere 32 inches this past winter, one-third its normal depth. "What winter are you talking about?" said Bruce McCloy, marketing manager for the Newbury ski area. "We're just like farmers. We live and die with the weather." Without offering specifics, McCloy said: "Our business was off fairly substantial this year from last year." The storm track for the winter that just ended either brought storms too far south to produce much if any snow or steered storms west of New Hampshire, ushering in warm weather, McCloy said. 

Source:  UnionLeader.com. 
The Snow Gods Are Unfair
In terms of snow, this winter brought the best of times and the worst of times, depending on which coast you're talking about.
On the West Coast, a much-welcomed El Niņo delivered ample snowfall to help ski resorts in California and Nevada recover from the last four years of lackluster winters and drought conditions. Those storms also brought a boost to the economy, with skier visits and ticket sales up and money trickling down to local businesses like hotels and restaurants. 
Snowfall data for California hit about average for this season-with resorts like Squaw Valley scoring the most in the Tahoe area with 463 inches, just above the resort's annual average of 450 inches (last year, by comparison, Squaw got just 223 inches).

Source:  Powder.com. 
Court Upholds Snowboarding Ban At Utah Ski Resort
In Utah, the Alta Ski Area gets to keep its slogan "Alta is for Skiers."
A federal appeals court has upheld the resort's long-standing snowboarding ban in a legal challenge brought by a group of local snowboarders.
The case touched on a sensitive topic in the ski industry and especially in the West, where most resorts depend on leasing land from the U.S. Forest Service for their operations. Does a ski area have the right to prohibit or single out a certain type of user's access to federal public land that's supposed to be open to everyone?  A nonprofit organization calling itself Wasatch Equality argued it didn't.

Source:  NPR.com. 
When most people picture a mountain vacation, the image of snow covered peaks, a family ski trip or a cozy day spent by the fire come to mind. But during Thursday's forum at the Mountain Travel Symposium, the focus shifted to the drawing visitors during the summer months. "It could be a quick weekend getaway, or it could be your classic bucket list road trip that takes you to all of the national parks," said Dave Belin, director of consulting services for market research company RRC Associates. "Summer is the biggest travel season in the U.S. The number of vehicles traveling per month increases."

Source:  PostIndependent.com. 
Ski-area creation and expansion has probably come to the end of an era as resort operators, including Aspen Skiing Co., look to summer activities as their next big opportunity to grow business. "We've been doing lifts and restaurants and ski runs for 50-some years," said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams. "Now we're doing coasters and bike trails and canopy cruisers." The White River receives more recreation visits than any other forest in the country, in large part because 11 resorts use the national forest for their operations. As is often the case, the White River is "first out of the chute" for innovative uses of public lands for recreation, Fitzwilliams said. Snowmass is the third resort in the White River National Forest to seek approval from the U.S. Forest Service for an extensive addition of summer amenities.

Source:  Aspentimes.com. 
Mountain Town News
Jeffarczon moved to Breckenridge, Colorado, in 1996 to be a ski bum, and for much of the next decade he lived in a cabin at 10,600 feet with no electricity or running water. When he got married and decided to start a family, however, he and his wife realized that they were priced out of the market. "We wanted to buy a house that could fit a growing family," Tarczon, 39, says. And so, in July 2013, Tarczon, his wife, and their newborn daughter moved to Fort Collins, where they bought a four-bedroom, 2,400-square-foot home with a two-car garage for $223,000. The same home in or near Breckenridge, Tarczon points out, "would've cost at least double that."

Source:  Outsideonline.com. 
Big Sky works toward more affordable housing units for year-round employees
A new effort to bring more affordable housing to Big Sky for workers who are employed at year-round jobs is underway. The project will be formed under what will be called the Big Sky Community Housing Trust, which will operate as a land trust and apply for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. The trust will provide permanently affordable housing units by acquiring land and removing it from the for-profit real estate market. The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce says about 83 percent of the city's primary workforce commutes every day. "The vast majority of the people who are year-round, full-time employees want to live in Big Sky and not commute," said Kitty Clemens, the executive director of the chamber.

Source:  nbc.montana.com. 
Lodging Industry
Airbnb forges trail to the mountains
Like prospectors in these Rocky Mountains more than a century ago, Airbnb showed up to this mountain town this week looking to stake its claim. The home-rental service, which made its bones in cities, is setting its sights on mountain resorts. And unlike most lodging conferences where Airbnb is considered Public Enemy #1, the company found a receptive audience at the Mountain Travel Symposium (MTS). The company struck a conciliatory chord of sorts during conference presentations on Wednesday by expressing its efforts to provide a fuller experience than merely providing a lodging unit.

 Source:  Travelweekly.com. 
There's room for growth in lifestyle, boutique segments
With all the fanfare surrounding boutique, lifestyle and soft-brand hotels over the last few years, a casual observer might conclude these hotels are everywhere and well into their product development cycle.The supply of these rooms has increased at double-digit annual rates over the last five years, and in 2015 they generated room revenues of $13.7 billion. However, their distribution is highly skewed and many markets are greatly underrepresented or have no product at all. "The boutique hotel report 2016: Lifestyle hotels, soft brand collections & boutique hotels" revealed some interesting insights that offer great potential for new hotel development. 
Source:  Hotelnewsnow.com. 
Vacasa raises $35M, aims to be Amazon of vacation rental industry
Vacasa today announced a $35 million funding round - the largest of any Portland-based company in nearly two years. The vacation rental website had bootstrapped since launching in 2009, but now it's reeling in some serious cash in a Series A round led by Level EquityVacasa bills itself as the "largest dedicated vacation rental management company in the U.S." and offers a bevy of services - marketing, rate optimization, reservations, guest services, housekeeping, maintenance, etc. - to help homeowners earn money off their property. The company's secret sauce is two-fold.

 Source:  Geekwire.com. 
Is Airbnb worsening the housing crisis in major cities around the world?
An increasing number of people are using vacation rental and accommodation sharing sites to find unique and relatively affordable places to stay. Sites like Airbnb and Flipkeystyle themselves as pioneers of the new sharing economy, allowing homeowners to earn a bit of extra income by renting out their spare room or cottage. But recent reports are suggesting a very different story: in cities like VancouverLondon and New York, sites like Airbnb are actually contributing to a growing housing crisis by diverting rental stock that could have been rented to local, long-term tenants instead. 

 Source:  Treehugger.com. 
Airline Industry
The Uber for private jet travel is finally here and it's incredible
JetSmarter is a brand new private transportation startup that many are calling the Uber of private jets. It is in a sense, but this company's model is even better. What JetSmarter does so brilliantly is combine three different services into one - free scheduled JetShuttle flights, last-minute JetDeals, and chartered flights - all accessible in a single app. Let's start with the free JetShuttle flights because this is absolutely out of this world. You can fly on a private jet, mostly Gulfstream G4s and Challenger 850s, for free on scheduled flights around the country: New York to Florida, Chicago to Los Angeles, San Francisco to New York, Los Angeles to San Francisco, Dallas to Houston, and more. All of those flights, multiple shuttles per week, are totally free for members. 
Source:  BGR.com. 
Summer Gas Prices Will Hit 12-Year Low
We're always looking for a good excuse to take a road trip-and this is one of the best we've heard this year: The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that gas prices will average $2.04 per gallon this summer (for regular gas, April through September), the lowest average price since 2004. As anyone who gets behind the wheel already knows, prices have been dipping since 2014, when they were closer to $3.59 a gallon, and they're expected to continue to drop. .

Source:  Conde Nast Traveler. 
It has become clear that with U.S. corporate profit growth on the ropes, it's up to continued spending by consumers to protect the U.S. economy from a slowdown. But data released on Monday suggest shoppers are pulling back, putting the entire recovery at risk. You see, with net exports, corporate investment and government spending all acting as drags on GDP growth for various reasons -- largely, low commodity prices and the dollar's recent strength -- the burden has been on American shoppers to reinvigorate things. Much has been going right for them: Energy is cheap, job growth has been strong and stocks have rallied to challenge three-year highs.

Source:  cbsnews.com 
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Mountain Market Update
Tuesday, May 24 at Noon MDT

Please join us for our quarterly Mountain Market Update Webinar entitled Wrapping up Winter on a High Note; Summer Going Gangbusters. During this webinar the  DestiMetrics team will review the winter season by taking an in depth look at our industry wide data and the market forces that affected mountain destination travel during the 2015/16 season. We'll also preview this summer's lodging performance based on reservations on the books.


Subscriber Registration

(login in to www.destimetrics.com and follow link) 

If you're not a subscriber but would like to attend, please contact Katie Barnes to register.

School Break Report available until Monday, April 25th 

Sales for our 2016/17 School Break Report wrap up on Monday so be sure to Buy Now if you're interested in this report that will be an integral part of your planning process for next season.

Upcoming DestiMetrics
Presentations & Appearances  

May 3
Stowe. VT

May 18
Denver, CO

May 18 - 20
St. Pete Beach, FL

June 14
Avon, CO

June 21
Vail, 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 76