What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...
Aug. 18th, 2016
Destination Mountain Summer Bookings Continue To Steamroll
Along with a steady march toward a fifth consecutive record for aggregated lodging occupancy and revenues at western mountain resorts this summer, the destinations participating with the Denver-based DestiMetrics* program are also approaching occupancy figures that rival winter levels as reported in the most recent Mountain Market Briefing distributed earlier today. "Occupancy rates for summer 2015 reached 92.5 percent of occupancy rates for the winter of 2015/16, indicating nearly identical room utilization between the two seasons," explained Tom Foley, operations director for DestiMetrics.  "As we track occupancy figures that are likely to set another record in the summer of 2016, we'll look for that gap between summer and winter occupancy to get even closer.  But although summer occupancy figures are strong and growing steadily, the Average Daily Rate (ADR) for summer compared to winter is not at the same level.  

Source:  DestiMetrics. 
Ski Industry
The Silver Lining of Vail's Bid to Take Over Skiing
When Vail Resorts (VR) announced Monday morning its plan to buy Whistler Blackcomb, the Canadian ski resort, you could almost hear the sound of ten million jaws dropping. It wasn't Coke buying Pepsi, but to skiers and snowboarders and anyone who follows the balance of snowsports power, it was close. For years, the only North American resort that has attracted more skier visits than Vail Mountain has been Whistler Blackcomb. Vail's 5,289 skiable acres sounds like a lot. In fact, until last year's merging of two other ski areas Vail Resorts recently bought, Park City and Canyons in Utah, it was by far the most in America. But Vail's size is a mere 65 percent of Whistler Blackcomb's 8,171 skiable acres, which is part of the reason why Whistler has been ranked No. 1 in North America by readers of SKI magazine the past two years. 

Source: OutsideOnline. 
What La Niņa Has in Store for Winter 2016/2017
El Niņo is transitioning to La Niņa. In other words, the water in the South Pacific near the Equator is cooling off. Why does this matter? It matters because it will change the average position of the jet stream this winter. The jet stream guides storm systems around the globe ultimately determining where the heaviest snow falls in any given winter season. Outlook: A low grade La Niņa (aka La Niņa Lite) will be the dominate player by late fall and continue through the winter season. What does that mean? It means the storm track will favor certain areas for heavier than average snowfall. Those areas may be different than last winter. I believe we'll see the heaviest snow in the Pacific Northwest, northern Intermountain West, Great Lakes and possibly parts of the Northeast. 

Source:  On The Snow. 
Banking on summer: Ski resorts seek return on year-round investment
At Vail Mountain, grown men could be heard screaming with fear and excitement as they raced down the summer tubing hill. Tangled in ropes, the eyes of toddlers grew large as they contemplated their next step on the obstacle course. On a ski lift, families visiting Vail rode back up the hill after cruising down the zip line. "Mom, it's awesome," Dylan Taylor yelled below. "It doesn't hurt your stomach. You can do it." There are tamer attractions too, such as the self-guided interpretive nature trails. That means, this summer at Vail's Epic Discovery, there is something for just about everyone. By building such attractions, ski resorts in Colorado and throughout the United States are on a mission to become year-round attractions.

Source: Steamboat Today. 
Destination Tourism
Another record summer for Telluride
The summer tourism season has a little ways to go, but preliminary data shows that Telluride is having its busiest summer ever. "We had five record summers in a row," said Michael Martelon, CEO of the Telluride Tourism Board. "We're going to have a sixth. "Martelon said he analyzes many economic indicators before making such pronouncements, but the clue that the summer of 2016 would be the best on record in terms of visitors came with Denver-based Destimetrics' monthly report at the end of June. Data from Destimetrics, a company that analyzes lodging information for North American mountain travel destinations, forecasted that hotel occupancy and average daily room rates (ADR) for July, August and September would be higher than what was realized during the same months in 2015. The projections were based on advanced bookings. 

Source:  Telluride Daily Planet. 
14ers draw 260,000 hikers annually, boost spending in towns
It might seem like every other person in Colorado is hiking a fourteener on any given summer Saturday. While it might not actually be that crowded, the state's highest peaks do count about 260,000 summit-scrambling trips every year. All those feet headed to the 54 highest points in Colorado each year deliver $70.5 million in economic impact, with some hikers spending twice as much daily as a business traveler to Denver, according to the first study of the role fourteeners play in the state's economy. The most highly trafficked peaks closest to the Front Range deliver some of the biggest bumps, according to the hiking impact report compiled by the nonprofit Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, which works to protect and maintain trails reaching up the state's highest mountains.

Source:  Coloradoan. 
Disney's Domestic Parks Had Lower Attendance, But They Still Made a Ton of Money
The Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday afternoon said domestic park attendance dropped 4 percent in the third fiscal quarter, which ended July 2. That was due largely to the Easter holiday falling during the second quarter this year compared to third quarter of last year. But guest spending still grew in the U.S., pushing revenue for the entire parks and resort segment up 6 percent to $4.4 billion. Segment operating income jumped 8 percent to $994 million. Overall, the Walt Disney reported that revenues increased 9 percent to almost $14.3 billion and net income rose 5 percent to $2.6 billion. So far, the spread of Zika in Miami some 225 miles away from Walt Disney World is not discouraging visitors in Orlando, CEO Bob Iger said. "We've had a few calls on it, but we really haven't seen anything that we would be concerned about in terms of its impact on visitation or bookings," he told CNBC Tuesday afternoon.

Source:  Skift. 
Mountain Town News
Despite the claims of some people, the short-term rental situation is not a slam-dunk on any side of the issue. Some thoughts as the Crested Butte Town Council prepares to focus in on a new rule set governing short-term rentals in town: Banning short-term rentals probably isn't going to create a new glut of long-term affordable housing for the lift ops or dishwashers in town. Long-term renting comes with its own set of issues and I know more than one person who has gotten burned by people here for a season or the long run who trash a place. Nothing is easy. As people spend a lot of money on homes in town and then spend more money to make them nice, we lose the old, cheap mining houses that so many of us were able to rent. Wealthier people who apparently don't need long-term rental income and the hassles that come with being a landlord own the renovated homes. 

Source:  Crested Butte News. 
Jackson Hole's housing market is notoriously tough, particularly for those in the lower tax brackets. The problem is so well known that the The New York Times wrote a profile on the ski town housing crisis back in January. Now this problem is beginning to affect local businesses. Jackson is a seasonally popular place due to the ski resort and nearby national parks. This means that there's a huge demand for seasonal employment, but because of the lack of housing, businesses are having trouble filling those positions. Small business owners are finding themselves working long hours in lieu of hired help; others have had to reduce hours of operation. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort announced Wednesday that the Couloir Restaurant, a high-end establishment at the top of the Bridger-Teton gondola, will close for the summer. The closing comes at the beginning of what could be one of the busiest summers for Jackson Hole, as tourists flock to Grand Teton and Yellowstone for the National Park Service Centennial.

Source:  Teton Gravity Research. 
Lodging Industry
Whether it's a weekend of golf, a deep-sea fishing excursion or a wild time in Las Vegas, "mancations"-as leisure trips for groups of male friends are sometimes called-can offer a steady, lucrative stream of business for hotels. The key, according to sources, is to leverage both a hotel's existing amenities and the off-site demand generators nearby. There's no singular solution for creating effective mancation-type packages, marketers said, but rather a host of options depending on the hotel's location, facilities and local attractions. Even if the property is nowhere near the beach or a golf course, there's always the potential for alternatives like sporting events, brewery tours and concerts to drive male leisure business. "The core of that segment would certainly be the buddy trips that center around golf or other sporting events, and that is big and it is growing," said George Brennan, EVP of sales and marketing for Interstate Hotels and Resorts. 

Source:  Hotel News Now. 
Both companies - operating with slightly different models - helped to shift consumer expectations when it came to taking a holiday in someone else's house. So what do you do if you are a legacy business working in that environment today? According to Gail Mandel, CEO of Wyndham Vacation Rentals, the key is educating the public on the biggest differences among companies operating in the space. "I think that the biggest challenges that we've seen is that [there are] some of the newer models that are still catching up from a regulatory standpoint, so there's a little bit of confusion by the consumers about professionally managed versus the listings model," she told Skift. If you type in "Airbnb horror stories" into Google, you get plenty of hits. That's the tradeoff for having 2 million listings and 60 million customers: sometimes things are going to go wrong.

Source:  Skift. 
week ago, Delta Air Lines had a massive worldwide failure of its systems, due partly to a fireThe recent outages at Delta, Southwest, and indeed not so widely reported but at other airlines should be a wake-up call for the whole airline industry. With profits at their greatest ever, why has the comfort of passengers been sacrificed to airline IT shortcuts and failures? This is a question a lot of people should be and indeed are asking. I  will lay out four core reasons. Airlines invest significantly in their core (aircraft and airport) technologies. Yet their IT investment lags the conventional industrial average significantly. At a time when airlines have been indeed making great profits across the board, airlines have stubbornly refused to spend more on their IT. Delta's Ed Bastian is quoted as saying the airline has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in IT, yet he fails to see that the industry-leading carrier should, in truth, be investing at a higher rate.

Source: Tnooz. 
Markets showed their disappointment when retail sales in July came in below expectations at virtually unchanged from June 2016, but nevertheless up by a meager 1.9 percent year-on-year. Please take care, that was not the whole picture and it was interesting to see that sales of the non-store retailers were up by about 14.1 percent on a yearly basis and now are growing at an impressive much faster pace than the total retail sales. Also health and personal care stores sales increased by about 7.8 percent on a yearly basis. Simultaneously we got the University of Michigan's Consumer Survey that came in practically unchanged at 90.4, up by 4 tenths compared to July with, and that is important, expectations coming in higher at 80.3, which was up by 3.5 points, but current conditions were down 2.9 points to 106.1.

Source: Newsmax. 
Mid-Summer Market Update
Yesterday the DestiMetrics team hosted a Subscriber webinar where we presented:


  • Ski Industry, Vacation Rental & Mountain Town News
  • Econometrics
  • An update of Summer 2016 lodging performance
  • Preview of winter 2016/17 occupancy, ADR and RevPAR pacing against the prior season


During the webinar we polled attendees to gauge their sentiment on a few different topics.  Below are the questions with links to the results, which we think you will find interesting. 



Poll #1:  Do you expect that your property will set an all-time revenue record this summer?  Results


Poll #2:  Are you concerned the US Presidential Election will have a negative impact on travel this winter?  Results


Poll #3:  Do you believe that your destination is bumping up against a rate ceiling during winter months?  Results


Poll #4:  How do you feel about the outlook for your destination/property for this winter season?  Results


To hear the contextual conversation and data surrounding these poll questions, view a recording of the webinar.


Subscribers may login to www.DestiMetrics.com to review the webinar.  Non-subscribers should contact Katie Barnes to be granted access.


Upcoming Events & Presentations

Central Reservations Association of Destination Resorts (CRADR) Fall Meeting

October 3 & 4

Alyeska Resort, AK


Summit Chamber COO Breakfast

October 4

Copper Mountain, CO


 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.
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 Volume 80