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Western Lodging Bookings 'Respectable' As Season Winds Down

Arabelle HotelWestern lodging 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 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.

“The 2015-16 season’s increases, while less than those of recent winters, are still proving respectable given the interesting season, starting with the promise of El Niño and strong bookings in November and December but offset by economic volatility which conspired to slow things down,” observed Ralf Garrison, DestiMetrics director.

“Our initial projections are still holding, strengthened an increase in booking activity during February which was presumably led by regional visitors who are more likely to make reservations with a short lead time,” he added.

The February booking pace referred to by Garrison was for bookings made in February for arrival in February--up a dramatic 19.2 percent compared to the same time last year. The lively reservation activity was also seen for bookings from February through July—up 8.9 percent. The net result for the month of February was an 0.7 percent increase in occupancy and a modest 2.4 percent gain in revenue, marking an improvement from last month.

The Briefing also noted that the Far West region was enjoying a robust rebound in both occupancy and revenues due to vastly improved snow conditions following four years of drought.

Photo: The Arabelle Hotel at Lion Square at Vail is among the popular western lodging properties (Arabelle)

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