What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...
Jan. 23, 2017
Feature
Year-End Bookings Slower But Revenues Are Up
DM Arrows only With the Christmas holiday season and the month of December now officially in the books, many western mountain lodging properties have much to cheer about according to the most recent data released by Denver-based DestiMetrics.* As of Dec. 31, while actual occupancy for the month of December was up a scant 0.6 percent compared to last December, revenues jumped 13.2 percent. Gains in revenue are being attributed to strong room rates that are in effect through much of the winter.  Although aggregated figures for November through April revealed that occupancy for the season is up only 1.6 percent, revenues for the season are up a robust 10.1 percent. 

Source:  DestiMetrics.     Read More...
Ski Industry
Slow start to the ski season almost erased by busiest ever holiday week 
From coast to coast, snow over New Year's weekend fueled "busiest days the ski industry has ever had."
The sluggish start to the ski season slowed visitation to Colorado ski areas in November and early December, but the bountiful snow over the Christmas and New Year's holiday break buoyed resorts.
Several Colorado ski areas - including Aspen Skiing's quiver of four resorts in the Roaring Fork Valley - saw record visitation over the snowy holiday week.   "The substantial snow totals heading into the holiday season created excellent conditions for in-state and out-of-state guests, which drove holiday visits up significantly," said Colorado Ski Country's Melanie Mills, in a statement.

Source:  The Denver Post.     Read More...
California has the snow. It just needs to keep it frozen
With another round of winter storms hitting California this week, the question isn't just how much rain and snow they will dump, but how cold they will be.
The coldness of storms can make the difference between one that adds to the fast-rising snowpack - an essential source of water for the state - and one that also leaves a wet mess.   Northern California was pulled out of a five-year drought by a series of storms over the last few weeks that deposited huge amounts of snow over hundreds of miles of the state's greatest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada.   Officials hope the next band of storms will be cold, adding more snow that will slowly make its way into California's complex water delivery system in the coming months.

Source:  Los Angeles Times.     Read More...
Love-hate relationship with snow in Crested Butte, Colorado's snowiest town 
"I hope it stops snowing," said Scott Gates, a lifelong ski bum hoping for the briefest of reprieves in the storm that would help ski patrollers open more terrain "I can't believe I said that."
In the middle of an epic storm cycle that has made Crested Butte the snowiest spot in Colorado - more than 90 inches of new snow has fallen in the past 10 days - buried 'Buttians are digging. In the early mornings, they shovel. By midday they are furrowing the deepest tracks in recent history at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Then it's back to shoveling.
This snow, while a hassle, is a blessing. 

Source: The Denver Post.     Read More...
South Lake Tahoe declares state of emergency        
The South Lake Tahoe City Council unanimously voted to approve a state of emergency declaration on Tuesday, Jan. 17, following a review of the previous week's extreme storm conditions."It is unknown at this time what damages maybe resulted from the series of storms over the last couple of weeks and the ones coming up," wrote city manager Nancy Kerry in an email.  Kerry noted that "most if not all" agencies in the region have already asked Gov. Jerry Brown to adopt the declaration and forward it to the president.  If those actions occur, that is if the governor and president concur, then federal and state funding may become available for residents in our community who were severely impacted by the flooding and subsequent snowfall," continued Kerry.

Source:  Vail Daily.     Read More...
Whistler's new owners
With its purchase of Whistler Blackcomb, Vail Resorts becomes North America's largest resort operator. But what does the deal mean for the king of Canada's ski hills-and the pricey mountain town living in its shadows?  In early August when news broke that Whistler Blackcomb, ranked North America's number one resort by U.S.-based Ski Magazine, had been sold to Vail Resorts Inc. for $1.4 billion, there were mixed reactions-from concern over what merging two blockbuster brands might mean for the already-crowded mountain town to excitement about the potential for future growth.

Source:  BC Business.     Read More...
Destination Tourism
Aspen room rate tops all other ski resorts for month of December          
It cost more to sleep in Aspen during December 2016, an average of $775 per room night, than at any other ski resort in the United States.  "That is a big number, no question about it," said Bill Tomcich, president of local reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass, referring to data published Monday by the firm DestiMetrics.   He confirmed it's the highest average daily rate (ADR) of any of the 12 mountain resorts surveyed by DestiMetrics.   It reflects an increase of 27.3 percent over last year's ADR, which in December 2015 was $609 in Aspen.  Snowmass Village saw a rise as well though not as dramatic, with $486 in December 2016 versus $452 per room night during the same month in 2015

Source: Aspen Daily News.     Read More...
Mexican Tourism to Slow Down Thanks to Trump         
Following the US presidential election, there will be a slowdown in the rate of international tourist arrivals in Mexico, which will grow by only 7 per cent per year, according to estimates by AnĂ¡huac University and the National Business Tourism Council focusing on the outlook of Mexican tourism.
Just before the elections on November 8 last year, Francisco Madrid, a tourism specialist, asked industry bosses whether Mexican tourism would be adversely affected if Trump won the election, and 54 percent answered yes. Then came the unexpected election result and now, according to Madrid, the perception has not changed and more than half of the businessmen continue to watch as the Republican tycoon causes the peso to depreciate against the dollar and threatens to stop the automotive boom while seeking to re-examine the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Source: Tourism-Review.com.    Read More...
Construction boom aims to transform Montana ski resort Big Sky      
Stephen Kircher has fond memories of the first time he visited Big Sky Resort, in 1976. A native of Michigan, he traveled to Montana on a reconnaissance mission with his family, the owners of Boyne Resorts.  Having passed on opportunities to buy Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, his father, Everett, was considering adding Big Sky Resort to the company's growing portfolio, which these days also includes Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington state.  "Big Sky was a far cry from what it is today," said Kircher, now 52 and president and chief executive of Boyne Resorts, which his father founded in the 1940s. 

Source: The Seattle Times.     Read More...
Vacation Rentals
Airbnb's impact on hotel pricing, occupancy inconclusive, study says
Airbnb has caught up with Marriott International, the world's largest hotel company, in terms of comparable available lodging units, but the peer-to-peer accommodations service's lower occupancy and price point has prevented it from materially hindering hotel-room demand, hospitality research firm STR said in a report it released Thursday.  For the 12 months ended July 2016, Airbnb's occupancy for the 13 global markets the company provided data to STR was about 46%, compared to 78% for hotels, according to the report. Average nightly pricing at Airbnb's units was about $158, or about $20 less than hotel-room rates. 

Source:  Travel Weekly.     Read More... 
The Most (and Least) Expensive Cities for Vacation Rentals
In search of the perfect destination to celebrate the holidays? Where you stay will take up a serious portion of your vacation budget, so before booking a flight, you should figure out what you can expect to spend once you're there.    Short-term rental websites have made it easier than ever to find a place to stay. They're helping to lower the cost of travel in major cities, and locations that were previously forgotten by the hotel industry now have a growing number of rentals from which to choose.   So which cities have the most and least expensive rentals?  We analyzed data from Priceonomics customer Datafiniti, a company that tracks web data, including short-term rental listings on the major platforms.

Source:  Priceonomics.  Read More...
Business News
Inntopia Acquires DestiMetrics
Inntopia, the travel industry's leading eCommerce and central reservation provider announced today the acquisition of Destimetrics, a leading comprehensive market intelligence provider for the destination leisure travel industry.   The acquisition of Destimetrics follows Inntopia's merger with Ryan Solutions in November, and adds one more key component to Inntopia's offerings: a full suite of market intelligence reports and analytics for the travel and hospitality industries.   As a result of the acquisition, Inntopia now provides the most industry-complete integrated commerce, marketing, and business intelligence technologies in the industry.

Source:  Press Release.     Read More... 
Airline Industry
After years of record profits, airlines face turbulence in 2017
The U.S. airline industry has enjoyed three straight years of surging profits and has poured much of that windfall into buying shiny new planes, building swankier airport lounges for VIP customers and paying big dividends to investors.
At  Los Angeles International Airport, some of that cash has been used on a renovated Alaska Airlines lounge with an automated pancake machine, an  American Airlines lounge with a video-game-loaded kids room and a Delta lounge with a Starbucks espresso machine. A lthough U.S. airlines are expected to remain profitable in the near future, industry watchers say 2017 could mark the end of the industry's financial nirvana.

Source: Chicago Tribune.   Read More...  
Travel
Is Travel Experiencing A "Trump Bump?"
Leisure and business travel grew "significantly" following the surprise presidential election of Donald J. Trump in November, said the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), possibly portending a strong 2017 for the travel industry.   According to the USTA, the first monthly Travel Trends Index (TTI) to encompass post-election data "signals a strong showing by the travel sector." Domestic leisure travel registered a 53.0 on the USTA's TTI scale for November 2016, where anything above 50 indicates growth. Leisure travel registered below 52 in September and October.

Source:  Travel Market Report.     Read More...
Experts Predict Last-Chance Tourism As Top Travel Trend For 2017
Whether it's fatigue from 2016 or the changing political climate, the new year promises to be a banner year for travel with nearly one-third of American adults saying they are more likely to take time off this year compared to 2016, according to a recent AAA survey.  Overall, 42 percent of Americans are planning to take a vacation in 2017 - with most planning trips to the warm weather destinations in the U.S. and abroad. And while flight prices are predicted to be 8 percent higher than last year, they are still down 9 percent compared to two years ago, according to Hopper.

Source: Forbes.    Read More...  
Economy
Consumer Sentiment in U.S. Hovers Near Highest in 12 Years
Consumer confidence was little changed in January from its highest level since the start of 2004, showing Americans are still optimistic that fresh economic policies will spur growth.
The University of Michigan said Friday that its preliminary index of sentiment was 98.1, after 98.2 in December. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey called for 98.5, with estimates ranging from 96 to 100.   The latest reading indicates sentiment remains strong after President-elect Donald Trump's November victory, with Americans and businesses betting that tax cuts and looser regulation will help bring more opportunities for jobs and higher wages. 

Source:  Bloomberg.     Read More... 

DestiMetrics joins Inntopia/Ryan and Northstar Travel Group
A note from Ralf Garrison...
We are pleased to announce the sale of DestiMetrics to our long-time associates at Inntopia , a subsidiary of Northstar Travel Media Group . Both individually and collectively, we've been committed to providing the best possible market intelligence and enabling travel technology to the leisure travel industry. And along with Ryan Solutions , who recently joined the Inntopia-Northstar family, we're combining forces to set a foundation for the future - a future in which resort intelligence, data-driven decision making, and enabling technology are all becoming increasingly strategic. 

The Story: Over our 12-year history, we've pretty much created our own business model, mining actionable destination travel research and providing "what you ought to know" to a growing client base of subscribers. Today we support hundreds of lodging properties and dozens of destination communities in both mountain resorts and, more recently, sun/beach destinations as well. We've grown slowly and carefully, taking our work very seriously, but try not to take ourselves too seriously in the process.

But as the marketplace grows and morphs, so must we all, and this new ownership structure is very much about preparing for the next generation of "what you ought to know" to be successful going forward.

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 Volume 85