What You Ought to Know About Destination Leisure Travel...
Sept. 21, 2016
Summer Mountain Lodging Marches To Fifth Record While Winter Bookings Start Rolling In
Occupancy  and revenue for western destination mountain lodging properties continues to go from strength to strength for the summer of 2016 according to the most recent data released by the Denver-based DestiMetrics* in their monthly Mountain Market Briefing. The summary includes hundreds of participating lodging properties at dozens of resorts in six states and stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Far West region.  As of Aug. 31, aggregated occupancy for the six-month summer period from May through October was up 7.3 percent while revenues enjoyed a striking 14.7 percent increase compared to the same time last year. 

Source: DestiMetrics. 
Ski Industry
Forecast Update: Winter 16/17 La Nina Lite
Central Pacific water temperatures are not cooling off as much as originally forecast. We are currently in a neutral phase, which means we're in between El Niño and La Niña. It's also important to note the warmer than normal water temps off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Why is all this important? Water temperatures in all three zones help determine where the wintertime jet stream will position itself, and that in turn helps determine where the heaviest snowfall ends up this winter. OutlookThe latest forecast data suggests a continuation of neutral conditions this fall mixed with La Niña lite this winter. This is a small but important change from my previous winter outlook.  

Source:  On The Snow. 
France loses skiing pole position as US leads winter sports destinations
France ski France  - the land of pristine Alpine resorts and dramatic Pyrenean vistas - has been pipped at the post as top world winter sport destination by its close rival the United States.
French ski resorts sold about 52m "ski days" during the 2015-16 season, according to Domaines Skiables de France (DSF), which represents 230 French ski resorts, blaming the weather for discouraging visitors.
The figures were obtained by calculating the number of skiers on the slopes each day during the winter ski season. France was closely tailed by Austria with 49.9m ski days.  " The start of the season was very complicated because there was very little snow at low and medium altitudes, then the weather was changeable," Marie Tissier, spokeswoman for DSF said.

Source:  The Guardian.  Read More... 
Newly Proposed Colorado Ski Area Would Be A "Gamechanger"
Located on an obscure offshoot of Colorado Hwy 131, a defunct ski area with a lot of potential is hoping for a second chance. According to The Steamboat Pilot & Today the CEO of Stagecoach Communities LLC, Don McLean is proposing the possibility of rejuvenating a ski area located in the sparsely populated Stagecoach community south of Steamboat and north of Vail/Beaver Creek. With 2,500 vertical feet of relief, this isn't your everyday, backyard ski hill. A former ski patroller, McLean is hoping to provide a flexible, sustainable, and most importantly- a skier based experience. He hopes to close on the sale of the 3,500 acres sometime this fall. 

Source: Unofficial Networks. 
Massive New B.C. Ski Resort Plan Gains Government Approval
While you were basking on the sun on the beach in August, a massive new glacier ski resort planned for land just west of Jasper National Park, received a green light from the B.C. provincial government.  
Developers hope to have the CAN$175 million Valemount Glacier Destination Resort up and running by December 2017. With year-round skiing on glaciers at over 10,000 feet in the famed Cariboo Mountains, the largest vertical drop in North America (6,726 feet), and a compact resort village, they hope to draw destination visitors from around the globe.  "[This] is an opportunity to bring people to the mountains that are in the right location with the right climate," says Oberto Oberti, president of Oberti Resort Design, "basically bringing the skiers where the snow is.

Source:  First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine. 
New Snow-Making Tech Gives a Lift to Ski Resort in Summer
In  early July at the Boreal Mountain Resort, temperatures reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), which is not uncharacteristically hot in California at the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The real surprise was that the ski area near Lake Tahoe was making snow.  Boreal is the site of the first North American demonstration of a relatively new technology called Snowfactory. The process parallels that of an industrial icemaker - essentially, a large-scale version of the icemaker in the door of many household refrigerators.  An icemaker takes water chilled with heat exchanger and sprays it onto a surface. 


Source: Live Science. 
Destination Tourism
Are Colorado's mountain towns too busy? Fifth consecutive record summer has people talking 
It was another banner summer in Colorado's high country. Record sales tax revenues. Record lodging occupancy. Record traffic counts. 
That makes five years in a row of best-ever summers. It's like a broken record blasting from the mountains: Record! Record! Record!  
With annual summer tourism business in the mountains surging anywhere from 4 percent to 14 percent for the past several years, the breakneck pace raises the question: Is there such a thing as too busy?
Ask the marketing people who measure their tourism-growing success by the soaring tax harvests for their towns, and get the same answer: Heck, no - busy equals winning.

Source:  The Denver Post. 
Resorts Draw More Visitors In Summer
It might be summer, but hotels at Utah mountain resorts still managed to fill almost two-thirds of their rooms nightly during July. That positive finding from the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report coincides with information from DestiMetrics, another Denver-based company that tracks the lodging industry, that mountain resorts across the West are drawing almost as many visitors now in summer as in winter. "Occupancy rates for summer 2015 reached 92.5 percent of occupancy rates for the winter of 2015-16," said Tom Foley, DestiMetrics' operations director. "As we track occupancy figures 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."  

Source:  The Salt Lake Tribune. 
Summit County's Upcoming '16/17 Winter May Be A Doozie
The unusual dusting of snow on peaks across Summit County on Aug. 24 tickled the senses and sparked the imagination of local powder hounds for what the upcoming ski season could be. It turns out, it really may be a sign of things to come this winter, only about three months away now. While the 2015-16 season fell slightly below average based on snow totals at most of the region's resorts, 2016-17 might just be one for the record books. "Long-range forecasts stink," acknowledged Joel Gratz, meteorologist and founder of snow forecasting website OpenSnow. "We can't even do seasonal very accurately yet, so don't hold your breath in terms of doing six-month outlooks down to the month. 

Source:  Summit Daily. 
Vail Mayor Worries Anti-Mexico Rhetoric Could Hurt Tourism
Vail Mayor Dave Chapin is alarmed by the ongoing anti-Mexico rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign aimed at a nation that accounts for 10 percent of the visits to America's most popular ski resort. "It's almost a threat, and we're not a threatening nation; we're a welcoming nation," Chapin said in a phone interview. "So rhetoric like what we've heard in these political campaigns is extremely alarming and defeatist to our mission as a country and as world leaders. I think that we're talking about one person here (Donald Trump), and let's see where we are after Nov. 8." Chapin said 15 percent of Vail's economy is based on international tourism, and 10 percent of all guests come from Mexico. 
Source:  The Denver Post. 
Vacation Rentals
There  have been plenty of industry surveys produced looking at the   Airbnb   phenomenon - but the academic analyses have been slower to emerge. One such study was published by   Ryerson University   in Toronto, Canada, in August this year, covering an in-depth survey and analysis on just under 1,000 respondents in Canada. Dr Daniel Guttentag, an assistant professor Ryerson's Hospitality and Tourism Management unit, says the emergence of Airbnb has "quite rapidly shifted the entire tourism accommodation landscape". 

Source:  Tnooz. 
In  the teeny-tiny village of Joshua Tree, California, population 7,000, there are more than 200 vacation rentals on Airbnb. Travelers can also rent a vacation getaway through VRBO and HomeAway, or "camp" on someone else's property through HipCamp. Just this month, a new option for the tech-minded traveler popped up there: small pods that nature-lovers can rent that include access to outdoor showers and a communal kitchen. Joshua Tree has always attracted tourists because it borders the magnificent Joshua Tree National Park. But in the age of Airbnb, it's starting to feel overrun by visitors. 

Source:  Fusion. 
Airline Industry
Fares are down, satisfaction is up, and the airline industry is not out to torment us
Stop harumphing, travelers. The airline industry is much healthier today than a decade ago. Fares are down, on-time arrivals are up and JetBlue has free WiFi.   "It's a great time to fly," said Nick Calio, president and chief executive of Airlines for America , a trade association that represents some of the major airlines.   The group held its fourth annual summit in Washington this week, with such A4A members as American, Southwest, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines in attendance. Experts from the field discussed the state of the industry as well as new developments cleared for landing. Here are some highlights:  
Fares are falling. Prices dropped 6 percent in the first half of 2016 and have plunged 12 percent since 2010.  

Source:  The Washington Post. 
One  of the world's foremost travel authorities is preparing for a Green Rush of marijuana tourism. Arthur Frommer has been writing about travel since the '50s, and his name has become synonymous with international travel and tourism as his Frommer's travel guides and Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine have guided tourists through locales as exotic as Iceland and Peru. In a new column on Frommers.com, 87-year-old Frommer looks ahead to the November election - when nine states will vote on recreational and medical cannabis laws - and predicts that we're about to see a "large new industry of marijuana tourism." "The prospects seem strong that marijuana is now about to be added to beer and wine as a permissible product to order," Frommer writes. "This seems about to happen. Get ready for the era of marijuana - and marijuana tourism."

Source:  The Cannabist. 
The  vast majority of Americans see the upcoming presidential election as the single greatest threat to the country's economic well-being, according to a new report published Tuesday by Bankrate. About 6 in 10 Democrats and 7 in 10 Republicans said "the outcome of the presidential election" would be the "biggest threat to the U.S. economy over the next six months" out of more than 1,000 respondents surveyed in Bankrate's latest poll. About 12 percent of all respondents said "terrorism" was their largest concern, while 9 percent cited "struggling overseas economies" and 8 percent worried over a "decline in the stock market."

Source: U.S. News.  
Consumer confidence highest in nearly a year
Consumers in August showed the most confidence in the economy in almost a year, buoyed by improved job prospects, a survey showed.
The consumer confidence index rose to 101.1 in August from a revised 96.7 in July, the Conference Board said Tuesday. That's the highest level since September 2015 and it surpassed Wall Street expectations. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a reading of 97.   The more optimistic outlook bodes well for a U.S. economy that has grown in fits and starts this year.
"Short-term expectations regarding business and employment conditions, as well as personal income prospects, also improved, suggesting the possibility of a moderate pickup in growth in the coming months," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at board.

Source:  Market Watch.  
Case Study:
The Value of Forward-Looking Lodging Performance Data
The Situation: 
A destination marketing organization (DMO) who is responsible for marketing their destination and attracting visitors to their community uses several metrics to gauge their success and to build their marketing plan. They include:
  • Sales & lodging tax collections 
  • Smith Travel Research reports
  • Visitor Intercept Studies
  • Special Event Attendance
  • Attraction (theme park, golf, etc.) Sales
  • Feedback from the business community
The Problem:
These metrics are all based on historical data so adjustments to marketing efforts cannot be made in enough time to make an impact in the short term.  Hotels and Vacation Rentals offer a wealth of information on advance reservations and year over year pacing allowing for marketing adjustments to be made "on the fly".  However, they are not usually open to sharing their data directly with their DMO or competitors. 
The Solution:
DestiMetrics serves as a third party data aggregator who collects data (while maintaining confidentiality) from the hotels, condominiums and vacation rentals within a destination.  It is then put in to reports that show destination wide lodging performance.  This includes historic actual data and on-the-books data, which allows DMOs to be more nimble and reactive to pacing and need periods.  Once gentrified, this process becomes seamless and DMOs and properties find that they rely heavily on this data to make smarter decisions for their business and their community.

DestiMetrics programs that include forward-looking data are:
For more information or for a demo, please contact 

"DestiMetrics is THE primary predictive tool we use for our planning and analysis.  Over our three years of use the data has proven to be amazingly accurate." 

Adam Sutner
Chief Marketing Officer
Upcoming Events & Presentations

North Lake Tahoe Tourism Summit

September 23

King's Beach, CA


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 81