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Western resorts’ winter bookings still up

First Published      Last Updated Nov 21 2016 08:21 pm

Snow is coming slowly, but mountain resorts in Utah and other Western states are still looking to a busy winter.

Bookings for the season through May are up 6.6 percent in terms of room nights, 13.3 percent in terms of dollars, according to Denver-based DestiMetrics, which monitors 290 property-management firms controlling 30,000 rooms in 19 resort communities in Utah, Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming and Montana.

Despite warm weather throughout October and into mid-November, DestiMetrics Director Ralf Garrison said reservations made last month were 4 percent ahead of October 2015. Five of six winter months are ahead of last year's pace.

"We are in an interesting period right now as we wait to see how the outcome of the presidential election and weather patterns influence bookings in the coming weeks," he added, noting lodging operators were getting concerned about lingering warm temperatures and late-arriving snow.

Being one of the year's slowest months, October was predictably quiet at Park City's hotels. Utah's mountain resorts filled 35.2 percent of their rooms on a nightly basis last month, said another Denver-based tracking organization, The Rocky Mountain Lodging Report.

Through the first 10 months of 2016, Utah resort lodging establishments were slightly behind the year before — at 52.9 percent occupancy compared to 53.1 percent in 2015. But they have collected about $12.50 more per night per room this year.

Hotels in Salt Lake County and statewide were down slightly in October.

Salt Lake County hotels had a 74.3 percent occupancy rate, compared to 76.5 percent a year earlier, and now are running about 1.5 percent below 2015 figures.

The dropoff was more pronounced statewide last month, when occupancy slipped to 69.8 percent from 72.4 percent in the previous October.