What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...
Nov. 18, 2016
Momentum Continues to Build for Winter 2016-17
Warm autumn not discouraging winter bookings
Squaw Valley The 2016-17 ski and snowboard season typically gets underway in earnest at many western mountain destinations with the Thanksgiving holiday but the booking season is already well underway and advance reservation activity is positive. As of Oct. 31, on-the-books occupancy and revenue among participating resorts is continuing the momentum of both the record-breaking summer and the previous winter's strong snow equity. For the six months of the winter season that includes arrivals from November through May, aggregated occupancy is up 6.6 percent and revenues are up 13.3 percent compared to the same time last year.  

Source:  DestiMetrics.  
It's Official-Fifth Consecutive Summer Record For Western Mountain Destinations
As of Oct. 31, a fifth consecutive summer lodging record was confirmed among participating properties at western mountain resorts in seven states according to the most recent Monthly Mountain Briefing released by Denver-based DestiMetrics. Aggregated occupancy was up 6.6 percent for the six months from May-October compared to the same period last summer and led to a very strong 14.6 percent increase in aggregated revenues. Increases in occupancy were reported in all six months.
"We've grown accustomed to announcing summer records for the past few years and the momentum has remained strong and steady for quite some time," observed Ralf Garrison, director of DestiMetrics. 

Source:  DestiMetrics.  
Ski Industry
Best start to the season ever? Ski resorts in the Alps open early thanks to stellar snowfall 
ski A number of European ski resorts are opening parts of their ski areas early after a week of impressive dumps of snow in the Alps, inspiring in many hope of a bumper season ahead.  
The last couple of years have seen a  sluggish start to the season, with lots of holidaymakers booked on early-season trips arriving to a disappointing lack of snow in December.
But, with resorts receiving as much as 75 cm already and more snow predicted next weekend, it's looking like the curse of the early-season drought could at last be broken.

Source:  The Telegraph.    
Little snow so far out west, but ski resorts ready for solid season
No snow.  Correction: Almost no snow. The ski season is off to a mostly brown start in much of the western United States, and November is not looking good for people who were hoping to ski or snowboard at Thanksgiving. 
But don't start cursing global warming or giving away your gear.  "It's been a slow start, but this has happened before," said Chris Tomer. "Inevitably, the pattern will change. And the snow will come." Tomer is the meteorologist for KDVR-TV in Denver, with specialized knowledge in mountain meteorology and does private-sector forecasting for OntheSnow.com - where knowing what's coming is vital.

Source:  St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
After last season, there are high hopes for snow at ski resorts this year 
Idle snow gusn How bad was it?
The lack of snowfall and warm temperatures that plagued the 2015-16 ski season may have affected New England ski resorts to varying degrees.  But by all accounts, the season was a dud.
"I'm hoping that everybody's memory is short," Wachusett spokesperson Tom Myers said, estimating that the Princeton ski resort saw a 20 percent decrease in skier visits last season. "It could have been much worse, which is hard to imagine."  According to the National Weather Service, it was the warmest winter on record for a host of New England cities, including Burlington, Vt., Concord, N.H., and Providence. It was the second-warmest winter recorded for Boston.

Source:  Boston Globe. 
Florida Company Selling Ski Resorts From Maine to California
Florida-based real estate investment trust has reached an agreement to sell more than a dozen major ski resorts, and other properties, from Maine to California.  Under the deal, New York  hedge fund  manager Och-Ziff would assume ownership of 14 properties currently held by CNL Lifestyle Properties, including Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine, Crested Butte in Colorado, Brighton in Utah, and Sierra-at-Tahoe in California. Missouri-based EPR Properties would retain the rest of CNL's holdings, including Northstar California ski resort and 15 waterparks and amusement parks.

Source:  KSL.com.    
Mountain Town News
Steamboat Ski Resort offers landlords cash to provide employee housing
The Steamboat Ski Resort announced Thursday that it would be offering $200 a month to any local landlords willing to house the resort's seasonal employees for $500 (or less) a month in rental cost. The news, originally reported by the Steamboat Pilot and Today, notes that at present, Steamboat is lacking housing for up to 50 of its seasonal employees. 
The Pilot and Today also reported that there was only one listing in its classified section for a rental in downtown Steamboat Springs, Colorado, that met the price criteria of $500 a month.

Source:  Grind TV. 
Need for workforce housing big, but high-country counties split on taxes to build it
There's a housing crisis in both Eagle and Summit counties, where the resort communities with booming economies have seen their supplies of long-term housing for workers decimated by short-term rentals. Voters in both counties on Tuesday were asked to approve sales taxes to alleviate the affordable-housing crisis. Summit County voters, for the third time in a decade, OK'd a sales tax to build affordable housing. Eagle County said "no." Summit County's housing needs assessment study this fall found the region needed 1,685 new affordable units for 3,035 employees by 2020. 

Source:  The Denver Post. 
Aspen Skiing Co. braces for retirement wave
An aging workforce at Aspen Skiing Co. has company leaders eyeing ways to address what they are certain will be a dearth of employee housing within the next decade. 
Skico expects it will need 600 to 800 more beds by 2025 because the bulk of its workers over the age of 50 don't live in company housing. Given that 1,200 of Skico's workers - 90 percent of whom are seasonable employees - will be eligible for retirement within 10 years, Skico will be rehiring for those positions. The problem is, those employees who are new to the Roaring Fork Valley will need places to live, and Skico is grappling with how to accommodate them.

Source:  The Aspen Times. 
Vacation Rentals
Vacasa Acquires 5 More Vacation Rental Companies and Expands to Costa Rica
Vacasa recently announced the acquisition of five vacation rental management companies including: Accommodations Unlimited of Moab in Moab, Utah; Montana's Best in Whitefish, Montana; Mountain Memories Cabins in Ellijay, Georgia; Gail's Island Rentals in Key Colony Beach, Florida; and Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals in Helen, Georgia. In addition, Vacasa announced its expansion into Costa Rica with the hiring of Lisle Head as Costa Rica country manager. Head has been a vacation rental consultant in Costa Rica for the past four years. 

Source:  VRM Intel. 
What a promotion reveals about how Airbnb sees resort rentals
Next-generation hospitality company Airbnb has been running an old-fashioned hospitality promotion to try to grab a bigger slice of the rental market in traditional resort areas. This October, the lodging-rental company has been touting a deal that reads like this: "First-time Airbnb guests get $100* off homes in 13 of North America's best ski destinations when you book by Oct 29."  What's notable about the promotion is that it isn't aimed at Airbnb's stereotypical listing of an urban property where the host lives on-site. 

Source:  Tnooz. 
Airline Industry
Are America's airports going to be great again?
La Guardia Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump held up America's airports as a symbol of the nation's decay.
"You land at LaGuardia, you land at Kennedy, you land at LAX, you land at Newark," Trump said during the first presidential debate. "We've become a third world country."
Newly built airports and passenger terminals in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and China were the envy of the world, he said. The three nations continue to invest heavily in their state-owned and funded airlines and aviation systems.  No U.S. airport receives a five-star rating from SkyTrax, a respected airline and airport rating and review group. There are only three four-star airports: San Francisco, Houston-Hobby and Cincinnati.

Source:  CNN Money. 
Thanksgiving 2016 Set to Be Busiest for Travel in 9 Years 
More than 48.7 million Americans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving, a number that would surpass the travel levels of the past nine years. A new forecast by AAA predicted that Thanksgiving, which is among the most popular travel periods every year, will this year prove to be the busiest since 2007, the year before the Great Recession, the Associated Press reportedAAA expects that 43.5 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday, Nov. 23 and Sunday Nov. 27-a 1.9% increase compared to 2015.

Source:  Time. 
Most Millennials Put Travel Above Buying a Home or Paying Off Debt
In a study looking at the priorities of millennials, travel came out as a higher priority than buying a home or car, or even paying off debt. Travel also gave savings and retirement funds a run for millennials' money. The study, which surveyed about 1,000 people aged 18 to 35 in the U.S., U.K. and China, asked millennials about their priorities for the next five years. Airbnb and market research institute Gfk conducted the study to determine the importance millennials place on travel, and what drives their travel decisions most.

Source:  Travel and Leisure. 
Industry voices cautious optimism about Trump presidency
Travel leaders from around the world reacted with cautious optimism to the first election of an industry executive to the highest office in the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's unexpected victory last week found those leaders optimistically discounting much of his protectionist rhetoric as campaign bluster. They focused instead on his hospitality and gaming background, though still expressed concerns about his positions on Cuba and inbound travelers. "Mr. Trump demonstrated throughout his campaign that travel and infrastructure issues have his attention, and we stand ready to advise his administration on achieving his stated aims in these areas," said U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow. 

Source:  Travel Weekly. 

Subscriber Sentiment
This week the DestiMetrics team hosted a Subscriber webinar where we presented:
  • Ski Industry, Vacation Rental & Mountain Town News
  • Econometrics
  • Review 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:  Are you concerned the US Presidential Election will have a negative impact on travel this winter?  Results
Includes responses to the same question from previous webinars.

Poll #2:  Does the summer experience at your destination warrant any of the following:

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 
- Includes responses to the same question from previous webinars.

To hear the contextual conversation and data surrounding these poll questions, a recording of the webinar is available.
Subscribers may login to www.DestiMetrics.com to view the webinar.  Non-subscribers should contact Katie Barnes to be granted access.
"For our resorts where we only manage a portion of the lodging inventory, DestiMetrics provides a great look ahead into what to expect across the entire community.  It helps us understand where we need to focus our marketing, what to expect for staffing purposes, where we might have a yield opportunity, etc.  DestiMetrics adds solid data into a forecasting process that otherwise could feel a bit too much like tea-leaf-reading."

Chris Jarnot
Executive Vice President Mountain Division, Vail Resorts
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 Volume 83