For lodging properties around Western ski resorts, an abundance of mountain snow in late-February and March proved better late than never for their business prospects.
Ski season occupancy levels that were down 2.6 percent at the end of February climbed back a bit as reservations picked up with the late-arriving snowfall. By the end of March, the number of rooms that had filled nightly this ski season at 20 mountain resorts — including Park City — was down only 1.3 percent from a year earlier, according to Inntopia, a Vermont-based company that tracks lodging performance at resort destinations.
Inntopia Vice President Tom Foley said bookings made during March for visits that same month were 35 percent higher than in March 2017. Reservations made last month for April trips also topped last year’s numbers by 11.5 percent.
Even so, he said, “overall occupancy is likely to finish below last year.”
The 290 property-management companies that Inntopia surveys monthly at resorts in Utah and six other Western states still made money despite having more empty rooms.
Foley said the average nightly rate these establishments charged this season was up “a modest” 2.8 percent — despite many having to offer late-season discounts to stimulate visitation after the slower early months of winter.
Lodging properties around Park City and other Utah mountain resorts did just that, taking in about $313 per room per night in March, down from an average of $349 nightly during the first three months of 2018.
Figures from the Denver-based Rocky Mountain Lodging Report showed that lower room charges helped push March occupancy rates to 68.2 percent — up from 67.8 percent in March of 2017. That improvement also lifted the three-month average to 66.8 percent, still solidly below the 69.8 percent occupancy rate for January through March of last year.
Outside of the mountains, hotels in Salt Lake County and statewide had a pretty flat month in March.
Around Utah, 77.4 percent of rooms filled nightly, a smidgen more than the 77.1 percent occupancy rate a year earlier. Similar results came out of Salt Lake County — up to 82.9 percent last month from 82.5 percent in March of 2017.
Results were mixed in other areas of Utah. Occupancy increases were recorded in:
• Davis County — 65.8 percent, up from 59.3 percent a year ago.
• Utah County — 68.1 percent, up from 64.4 percent
• Other parts of Utah — 52.6 percent, up from 51.9 percent.
Nightly stays dropped in:
• Ogden — 69.2 percent, down from 72 percent
• Cedar City — 46.4 percent, down from 49.6 percent
• St. George — 71.8 percent, down from 72.8 percent
• Logan — 59.4 percent, down from 61.2 percent