What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...
Feb. 17, 2017
Mid-season Update - Snow & Economy Rule
A strong and seemingly stable economy coupled with generous snowfall across most of the Rocky Mountain and Far West resorts is getting credit for positive momentum, mitigating the slow down in last month's aggregated booking pace at western mountain destinations. The winter midseason summary for more than 290 participating lodging properties was released yesterday by Denver-based DestiMetrics* in their monthly Mountain Market Briefing. As of Jan. 31, aggregated actual occupancy for the winter season from November through April was up 1.3 percent and revenues were up 8.7 percent compared to the same time last year.  

Source:  DestiMetrics.    
Ski Industry
Why aren't hotels being built in ski towns?
Traditional hotel development in ski resort towns has slowed nearly to a halt, with barriers like limited land and high costs putting pressure on new builds, but hotel demand and performance are on the rise and the "barriers" may not be so imposing.  
n ski resort towns across the U.S. and Canada, a large and growing number of people are hitting the slopes. In the 2015/16 ski season alone, total skier visits approached 64 million, an increase of about 1.9 million skiers from the previous season.   The most recent performance is still about 3.6 million skier visits lower than the peak season of 2010/11, showing that the industry has room for even more growth.

Source:  4 Hoteliers.    
Snowstorm might have cost Jackson Hole $5M 
Jerry Blann, president and CEO of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, was having a quiet dinner at Calico Italian Restaurant when the texts started arriving.
Then service went out on his phone, and he knew there was going to be a serious problem.
"The information was sketchy to start," Blann said. "It took a while to settle in but after an hour or an hour and a half I started to understand the full magnitude of the situation. ... This was bigger than we expected."   With 17 power poles down on Hwy. 390, Blann was forced to close the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for five days, emptying all eight hotels in Teton Village and hundreds of homes in the area.

Source: Jackson Hole News & Guide.    
Vail Resorts pump $345M into Whistler makeover
Spike in year-round visitors makes Whistler Blackcomb's U.S.-based owners confident in the future of North America's top-ranked ski resort     
Half a century after Whistler Mountain first opened, Whistler Blackcomb is undergoing a massive transformation.
Colorado-based Vail Resorts Inc., one of the world's largest operators of ski destinations, bought B.C.'s biggest resort last year.   Whistler Blackcomb is now embarking on a $345 million plan to turn Whistler Blackcomb into a year-round, weather-independent destination for tourism and sport - an unprecedented investment proposal that, despite the resort's status as the largest and most visited destination of its kind in North America, Whistler Blackcomb needs.  

Source:  Western Investor.    
They Came to Ski Idaho Slopes. Now They're Saving the Ski Resort.
There is an old joke in the ski industry that a resort needs to go bankrupt three times before it can be profitable. Tamarack is hoping to get away with just once.
About 15 years ago, a technology executive named Jean-Pierre Boespflug came to this town of 150 people with a vision to build the nation's first new major destination ski resort since the early 1980s. Then the recession hit and development stopped, and Mr. Boespflug disappeared.  Today the resort looks like the physical manifestation of a big idea never executed.  There is a towering crane that hasn't moved anything in years.  The ski shops and restaurants are open, but sit in dome shaped-buildings that the original investors intended to be temporary.

Source:  The New York Times.    
Saving The Ski Industry: This Revolutionary Non-Profit Takes A New Approach
If you don't live in a rural area or are not born into a family of avid skiers, there's a pretty good chance you'll never take the sport up. Even if you do you probably won't stick with it. That is a big problem for the snowsports business.
The ski industry certainly isn't broken, but it's not exactly healthy either, and attempts to heal itself from within have had limited success. Traditionally, resorts have tried to lure new entrants into skiing and snowboarding with loss leaders, heavily discounted lift tickets, lessons and equipment rentals for first timers, in the hopes of getting them hooked.

Source:  Forbes.    
California's prolific winter has ski resorts poised to remain open into summer
California ski resorts are experiencing a significant snowfall season, with some areas breaking records for snowfall amounts.
In the first month of the year, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in Olympic Valley, California, had snow totals that were 405 percent of their usual average for January. While the average January snowfall for the past 45 years sits at 70 inches, January 2017 capped out at a total of 282 inches of snow.
Resorts have had improved ski conditions and have been able to offer guests access to more terrain.   "There are areas that just haven't been skiable like they are now," said Sam Kiekhefer, a public relations coordinator for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

Source:  Accuweather.    
Eastern ski areas get up to 6 feet of snow 
The huge totals come comes from a series of snowstorms, squalls and snow showeers that have dumped several inches nearly every day.   So, what are you waiting for? Skiing and snowboarding in the Northeast doesn't get any better than this.
From Connecticut to Maine to New York, skiers and snowboarders are rejoicing over the best conditions in years.   Even in Connecticut more than a foot of show fell, giving the state's four areas a nice bump in businesses, just in time for the President's Day holiday.   The snow wiped away the painful memories of last winter when below average snowfall and warm temperatures sent the season into a downhill tumble. 

Source:  CT Post.    
Vacation Rentals
Airbnb May Go Luxe With New High-End Rentals
The rental site is said to be in talks to purchase Luxury Retreats, a startup specializing in mansions across the globe.
Airbnb, the home-sharing platform where you can book a stay at a cube house in Rotterdam, a geodesic dome in Spain, or a treehouse in Oregon, is now expanding into another line of accommodation: luxury rentals.  According to Bloomberg, the company is currently in talks to purchase Luxury Retreats International Inc., a Montreal-based startup that specializes in luxury vacation homes and travel services.

Source:  Conde Nast Traveler.     Read More... 
Hotel workers' union launches campaign against vacation rentals
Local Five, the hotel workers' union took aim at online companies like air b-n-b, with a campaign to influence the outcome of legislation this session.
An ad launched this week, focuses on the booming number of housing units taken out of the long term-rental market and put into short term.   "This is Kailua. This is Waipahu. Now, add all the homes in both places together that's how many homes have turned into vacation rentals by companies like air b-n-b from the mainland. 33,000 homes now, 399 more each month, 9,000 in Maui alone," is the voice over.

Source:  KITV4.      Read More... 
Airline Industry
Airline Industry Demand Could Rise Further
In January 2017, demand for the top seven players grew by an average of 4.9% YoY (year-over-year). In fiscal 2016, it grew by an average of 6.9% YoY. Passenger travel demand is measured by RPM (revenue passenger miles).  According to the IATA (International Airline Transport Association), global airline industry demand grew 6.3% YoY.   Regional airlines continued to see higher demand than their legacy peers in January 2017. Ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines ( SAVE ) saw the highest growth, with 9.9%. However, this figure was substantially lower than the 19.9% it reported in 2016.  

Source:  Market Realist.    
After decline, airport passenger numbers rising
The Eagle County Regional Airport may be the last sector of the local economy to start recovering from the Great Recession.
Passenger numbers at the airport peaked in 2008, the last year of the boom in the previous decade. That calendar year, about 214,000 people arrived or left on a commercial airplane.   Then came a triple whammy.   The first whammy, of course, was a steep, worldwide economic decline. That crash hit every sector of the local economy, too.  The second whammy came even as the national economy - and the local resorts - began to recover. As the nation's airlines tried to remain afloat, those companies consolidated, shedding employees and routes in the process.

Source: Vail Daily.     Read More... 
Interest in travel to the US has plummeted since Trump became president
The US could be on the verge of a tourism shock. Interest in traveling to the US from at least 94 countries has fallen sharply since Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president, according to Hopper, a digital travel agency.
Overall average interest in flying to the US declined 17% from the three weeks before Trump's inauguration to two weeks afterward, Hopper said, based on weekly averages of an analysis of billions of global flight searches. Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning residents of seven Muslim-majority countries a week after he was inaugurated.

Source:  Quartz Media.    Read More...  
U.S. Consumer Sentiment Cooled in February From 13-Year High
Consumer confidence retreated in February from a 13-year high as Americans tempered expectations of their finances and the economy, with sentiment remaining sharply divided among party lines.
The University of Michigan said Friday that its preliminary index of sentiment cooled to a three-month low of 95.7 from 98.5 in January. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey called for 98.
While more than half of those surveyed expect better economic conditions in the future, and the share of respondents saying they were better off financially was at a 12-year high, the results reflected stark differences between Republicans and Democrats following the election of Donald Trump as president. Republicans registered sentiment about 40 points higher than Democrats, according to the survey.

Source:  Bloomberg Markets.    Read More...  
School Break Report
Now on sale!

Planning for next season?  The School Break Report will help you u nderstand the peak demand periods (a.k.a. school breaks) for the 2017/18 ski season.  With over 1,000 public school districts and 500 colleges and universities nationwide listed by state, county and enrollment, there is no better way to pinpoint when school is out throughout the US.   We can even provide a custom report based on your top markets to drill down to only the information you need. For more information, click on the link below.
To purchase a school break report, please contact Katie Barnes
See us at the following industry events...

Reno, NV
Feb 20 - 22

Mar 26 - 28
Banff, AB Canada

Mar 27 - 30
Banff, AB Canada

Stowe, VT
May 22 - 25
To schedule at time to meet with us, please contact Katie Barnes at kbarnes@DestiMetrics.com
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 Volume 86