What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...
Jul 21st, 2016
Summer Growth At Mountain Resorts Continues To Boom
In a pattern that mimics the past four summers at western mountain resorts, destination visits measured by lodging occupancy and revenues continues with strong, consistent growth according to the most recent Mountain Market Briefing distributed by Denver-based DestiMetrics.*  As of June 30, for the summer of 2016, combined occupancy for all participating western destinations in the Rocky Mountain and Far West regions was up 9.9 percent with revenues up a dramatic 16.6 percent compared to the same time last year. Results for the month of June kept the summer pace going strong with actual occupancy up 6.6 percent and revenues up an impressive 14.5 percent compared to last June. "Although global turmoil and economic volatility remain long-term concerns for the travel industry, at this point we aren't seeing any cooling in the red hot summer booking trends," reported Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics.

Source:  DestiMetrics. 
Ski Industry
Yet another record winter for visitor spending, sales tax harvest in Colorado ski towns
Not only did a record number of visitors pack Colorado ski areas last winter, but the spendthrift skiing masses left mountain towns awash in record tax revenue. The past three Colorado ski seasons have hit all-time highs. The ski areas are making more money than ever - as evidenced by record-setting revenue-based annual rent payments to their Forest Service landlords. The sheer number of visitors is growing, reaching a record 13 million in 2015-16And sales tax reports show those visitors are leaving more cash in their wake than ever before. Right around 2012-13, ski towns started seeing sales tax harvests inch back to pre-recession levels, with some towns even besting previous highs set in the banner 2007-08 ski season. The Great Recession pinched visitor spending and most ski towns saw sales tax revenues plummet in 2008-09 as the economy withered.

Source: The Denver Post. 
PCMR abruptly ends trademark bid, delighting opponent
Park City Park City Mountain Resort and owner Vail Resorts on Saturday abruptly withdrew a federal trademark application for the words "Park City" as they apply to a ski area, an unexpected turnabout amid widespread opposition to the bid to trademark the name of the community.
The decision to withdraw the application was made as City Hall, the County Courthouse, businesses that use the Park City moniker and rank-and-file Parkites pressed the Colorado firm to drop the trademark efforts. The formal submittal to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to withdraw the application as made just days after Vail Resorts executives met privately at the Marsac Building with Park City leaders. Critics of the trademark application demonstrated outside the building as the meeting was held.

Source:  Park Record. 
Power in numbers: Why a 'fractured' snow industry won't work
The snow industry has been at a crossroads for the past several years. On one hand, the progressive, youth-driven brands have pushed to release snowboarding and skiing from old stereotypes and pigeonholes, advocating to "just let the sports be" and stay true to rebellious roots, regardless of economic stakes, or even snowboarding's somewhat tumultuous and very public journey into the Olympic Games. Some maintain that in order to preserve the culture, as it's taken out of its infancy and into its teenage years, snow sports must remain an exclusive community. That mentality has been a major part of the fabric and DNA making up the "whole" of the snowsports community. 

Source:  Transworld Business. 
Ski Town News
Vail Resorts plans more workforce housing near Keystone
Vail Resorts Inc. will build up to 200 units of housing for people earning between $10 and $12 per hour near Keystone Resort, the company said Thursday. The units will target residents who work in Summit County for 30 or more hours per week and will be developed by Gorman & Co. Inc. on land owned by Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN) and referred to as the Wintergreen parcel. "The housing crisis that hit our mountain resorts communities last fall forced us to immediately go to work to explore any and all options to bring new, incremental housing online," said Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN). "In Gorman, we found a very knowledgeable and successful developer of workforce housing across the country, in communities similar to Keystone. We are extremely excited to move this project forward and deliver units that employees from across the county can live in."

Source:  Denver Business Journal. 
Summit County governments consider sales tax increase for housing
Summit CountyBreckenridge town council members discussed a potential ballot measure which would raise the sales tax to provide more funding for affordable housing. The measure would propose a ballot measure to raise the sales tax by .6 percent for the next 10 years. Each municipality that entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement with Summit County to establish the Summit Combined Housing Authority (Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne and Montezuma) must approve the amended intergovernmental agreement before it can become a ballot measure.
So far, Silverthorne, Dillon and Frisco have approved the proposal, which will go to vote before Breckenridge on July 26.
"For Dillon, this gives us the opportunity to put projects together that we haven't had the resources for. We expect a huge need in future years," Dillon Mayor Kevin Burns said. "We want to be a player in terms of providing workforce housing for residents and businesses."

Source:  Summit Daily. 
Vacation Rentals 
Elizabeth Warren A group of three senators are concerned that the affordable housing market is being squeezed by the increasing number of short-term rentals.
Senators Brian Schatz (HI), Dianne Feinstein (CA), and Elizabeth Warren (MA)urged Federal Trade Commission chairman Edith Ramirez in a letter [PDF] to study the commercial manner in which individuals or firms are using online services to rent out entire residences or multiple residences at a time, potentially taking housing inventory off the market and driving up the cost of rent.
"In recent years, we have seen the emergence and rapid growth of companies like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, and Flipkey," the senators write. "On one hand, these firms have sparked innovation, increased competition, and have provided new means by which our constituents can earn extra income. On the other hand, we are concerned that short-term rentals may be exacerbating housing shortages and driving up the cost of housing in our communities."

Source:  VRM Intel. 
Crested ButteWhat can be done to curtail the effects of a problem that is not easily solved? Jim Schmidt is a Crested Butte Town Council member who also sits on the Short-Term Rental Committee, recently formed by the council to begin addressing the issue. According to him, if Crested Butte did impose strict regulations, it would be leading the charge, as many ski towns across Colorado are at a loss when it comes to managing short-term rentals (STRs).
"First of all, we have found out that this is an incredibly difficult issue," Schmidt said. "All of the resort towns are going through this crunch of a lack of long-term rentals. And it's not just affecting resort towns, but big cities, too."
According to the New York Times, AirBnB recently filed a lawsuit against its hometown of San Francisco after the city voted to charge the STR giant $1,000 per day for every unregistered host on its service. This follows a lawsuit the company filed against New York City after its lawmakers voted to heavily fine anyone who used the site to rent a whole apartment for fewer than 30 days, a practice that has been illegal in New York since 2010.

Source:  Crested Butte News. 
Imagine a lodging company with places to stay in 34,000 cities and 191 countries and more than 2 million accommodation listings. This is airbnb, founded in 2008 in San Francisco by Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharcyk.  Airbnb is about a special experience when traveling and a homestay. Many airbnb guests not only want to save money, but are interested in learning about how people live and are often interested in making friends and understanding new cultures. Stay in an apartment, in a castle, in a tree house, a beach cottage or a garage - airbnb offers all of it. Opportunities like this may not go well with major hotel groups in regions where travel and tourism is a major industry. Hotels and resorts are in the accommodation business and don't want private citizens to interfere with their income. They want tourists to buy $15 dollar Mai Tais and not go to a supermarket and make it themselves on their own lanai overlooking the ocean.

Source:  Global Travel Industry News. 
Sports Tourism
We all know what ails golf: Takes too long. Too expensive. Too hard. Mindful of those issues, the Arlington Heights Park District aimed to create a new experience. Officials renovated and rerouted Arlington Lakes Golf Club to the tune of $2.4 million (plus $400,000 for clubhouse upgrades) - a bold step that has the attention of American golf's top governing body. "It's innovative thinking," said Hunki Yun, the USGA's director of partnerships, outreach and education. A banner on the new patio at Arlington Lakes reads: "Discover Your Drive." Here's what it means: Players can knock out a three-hole loop in about the same time it takes to watch a sitcom. If they set aside an hour, they might be able to complete a six-hole loop. The third and six holes now return to the clubhouse. 

Source:  Chicago Tribune. 
The Smart Tourism Groups Already Leveraging the Pokémon Craze
Pokemon Go With the Pokémon Go mobile game sweeping the nation, some agile tourism brands are tapping into the manic interest around the smartphone app to drive near record levels of engagement with their audiences. Welcome to the Pokéconomy. According to SurveyMonkey, Pokémon Go is now the most popular mobile gaming platform ever in U.S. history, since launching less than two weeks ago on July 6. Two of the first travel organizations to respond with Pokémon-themed promotions, Visit Anaheim and Travel Portland published new posts on Monday showing where visitors and locals can find Pokémons and PokéStops at local attractions. Basically, the goal of the game is to catch digital gremlins (Pokémon) in the Google Maps-based app at specific places around a city (PokéStops), and compete with other gamers.

Source:  Skift. 
What Global Travelers Really Think About Visiting America-In-Turmoil
The picture of the current state of the United States on cable news and social media is one of a country torn by widespread gun violence, increasing racial tension, and a race for the presidency filled with open hatred of foreign tourists and immigrants (at least from one political candidate). It's not exactly a welcome mat for tourists. In addition to headlines that have led multiple countries to issue travel warnings cautioning their citizens of dangers traveling to the U.S., the strength of the dollar is already having an impact on inbound tourism. Canadian numbers were projected to be down by 10 percent in 2015, caused largely by the decline of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar. The decline of the British pound to a 30-year low against the U.S. dollar is not expected to help either. The U.S. is relying to a great extent on inbound tourism from countries including the UK, Canada, and Brazil to hit its tourism goal of 100 million visitors by 2021.
Source:  Skift. 
Brand USA quietly released its fiscal year 2015 annual report earlier this month, and on the organization's quarterly board call its executives wrestled with the realization that tourism isn't increasing quite as quickly as they had anticipated. In order to play catch up, Brand USA has raised its target compound annual growth rate for inbound tourism from 4.2 percent to 4.8 percent from 2016 to 2021. "We are significantly under where we need to be for that target [of 100 million visitors by 2021]," said Caroll Rheem, Brand USA's vice president of research and analytics, on the June 9 Brand USA conference call. "The leading driver of our underperformance is the 10 percent decline in Canadian volume."

Source:  Skift. 
"Millennials are not a monolithic group," says Sarah Kennedy Ellis, vice president of marketing and strategic development for Sabre Hospitality SolutionsHer view is based on a new research report from Sabre on millennial traveler behavior. If you define the generation broadly as 18- to 35-years old, you'll get a confusing picture, she argues. It's often savvier to look at the sub-segments, to get an accurate understanding of its travel behaviors and profiles. At the most obvious level, older millennials (meaning those over age 30) tend to travel differently than those still in school, as noted in Sabre's global online survey of 1,150 millennial travelers. Hotel marketing should reflect that variety, the company argues. 

Source:  Tnooz. 
decline in travel by Canadians to the U.S. has been accompanied in recent months by several announcements of cuts in U.S. airline service to Canadian destinations. Yet data from flight-tracking website and app FlightAware suggest that despite appearances, overall flight connectivity between the U.S. and Canada has declined only slightly in the past two years. Hampered by the struggling Canadian dollar, just 4.4 million Canadians stayed at least one night in the U.S. during the first three months of 2016, according to Statistics Canada data cited in numerous Canadian media outlets, down 13% from the same period in 2015. Meanwhile, this spring has seen several announced service drops to Canadian destinations by United and Delta. On May 24, Delta said that as of July 31 it would end its twice-daily flights from Minneapolis to Regina, Saskatchewan..

Source:  Travel Weekly. 
Uber Technologies partnered this week with Hertz, one of the world's largest car rental companies, to offer short-term auto rentals to ride-hailing drivers -- a move intended to court new drivers and keep current ones on the road. The partnership, which launches in Los Angeles and will be rolled out to other U.S. cities in the coming months, will allow approved Uber drivers to rent a car from Hertz to drive for the ride-hailing company. The weekly rentals cost $180, which includes auto insurance, unlimited miles, vehicle maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance. Uber has a similar agreement with Enterprise, which charges drivers $210 a week. Uber competitor Lyft also offers a short-term rental program through General Motors, starting at $99 with conditions. Outside of these programs, car rental companies typically do not allow customers to drive for Uber and Lyft. 

Source:  Los Angeles Times. 
U.S. employment rebounds strongly in June, calming fears of economic slowdown
Job Market The U.S. jobs market picked up speed in June, new government data showed Friday, allaying fears that the economy was headed for a sustained slowdown after a weak start to this year. Employers added 287,000 jobs in June, up sharply from a meager addition of only 11,000 jobs the month before. Though many analysts expected job growth to rebound, they were also waiting to see if the dismal figures from May were repeated, which would be an indication that the economy might be sinking into deeper trouble. Instead, the latest employment data exceeded forecasts, and a broad range of industries reported job gains. The latest data takes away one source of anxiety even as the U.S. faces potential new threats from Britain's vote to leave the European Union. 

Source:  The Washington Post. 
Special Event
Case Study
Problem:  A leisure destination municipality is interested in increasing the vibrancy of their town during shoulder seasons but does not have enough data to know when events should be held that would most benefit their community. They currently track their lodging and sales tax collections but they are on a monthly level of granularity and not timely.

  • Boost sales and lodging tax revenues during shoulder seasons and drive traffic to local business
  • Increase overnight visitation during otherwise slow times
  • Measure their return on investment for the event to determine of goals were met

Solution:  Implementation of DestiMetrics' Daily Occupancy Report, where lodging properties submit daily level of granularity data to DestiMetrics. The data are aggregated in to a detailed line graph (think of an EKG) that shows paid and unpaid historic actual occupancy as well a forward looking occupancy for the current and prior year.  Data are collected monthly or bimonthly and provide a view of the overall destination's performance while keeping individual property data confidential.

The Results:  The municipality was able to:
  • Pinpoint which weekends were already performing well and which would most benefit from an event.
  • Once events were planned, they were able track advance reservations to determine if additional marketing was needed and if they could accommodate the anticipated demand. 
  • Better prepare their retailers & restaurateurs for the incoming visitation, not just for these new events but every month throughout the year.  
  • Post event they were able to determine if lodging occupancy increased and if the event was a positive impact on the economy of the community. 

We'd love the opportunity to tell you more about our Daily Occupancy Report.  Click on the link below to schedule an online demo.
"The Daily Occupancy Report is a very valuable tool for our entire community to keep a pulse on visitation to our resort so we can plan, react and offer the best guest experience possible."

        -Kelli McDonald
Economic Development Manager 
Town of Vail
Upcoming Events & Presentations

Copper Mountain Homeowners Association Annual Meeting

September 4

Copper Mountain, CO


Central Reservations Association of Destination Resorts (CRADR) Fall Meeting

October 3 & 4

Alyeska Resort, AK




November 6 - 10

Tampa, FL


Onsite Property Management Association (OPMA) Fall Summit

November 9- 11

Sandestin, FL


Vail Town Council & Economic Advisory Council Presentation

December 20

Vail, CO


Let us know if you'd like to connect at any of these events.
Quick Links
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn

 Volume 79