No record broken, but Aspen-Snowmass occupancy strong in March | News

The Aspen-area economy continues its upward trajectory, according to key data released over the past few days.

The figures suggest business activity that in some cases is approaching – and in other cases exceeding – pre-pandemic levels. The current situation, if the indicators are taken into account, reflects a near reversal from the same period two years ago, when many hotels, restaurants and other businesses serving locally either closed temporarily or operated under considerably reduced hours. reduced following the closure of ski resorts by the State. in mid-March 2020.

And, given the gradual improvement, the organizations providing the economic data have reverted to their old practice of comparing current numbers with where the economy was a year ago instead of pre-pandemic seasons. over two years ago. Although in some cases comparisons to both are provided.

Here is an overview of the latest information:

Occupation

Resort tracking company DestiMetrics reported that the combined occupancy of Aspen-Snowmass in March was 77.5%, an increase of 20.4% from the 64.4% recorded the same month l last year.

Aspen had 79% occupancy while Snowmass had 75.7%. A local summary of the numbers indicates that no records were broken.

“The month started with 73.4% in the books and ended at 77.5%. Neither Aspen nor Snowmass achieved new records, but both finished with very healthy occupancy rates relative to historical performance,” the summary reads. It is prepared monthly by Kristi Kavanaugh, Vice President of Sales for Aspen Skiing Co., and Lise Adams, Central Reservations Manager Stay Aspen Snowmass.

Average daily rates in March were $896 in Aspen and $600 in Snowmass, increases of 51.4% and 32.7% respectively from March 2021. ADR is a measure of daily occupied room rates .

Another metric, RevPAR, or revenue per available room, puts Aspen at $708 and Snowmass at $454, increases of 81.4% and 62.2%.

While March is one of Aspen’s peak tourist months, April marks the start of staggered ski resort closures and a local slowdown in overall tourism. However, in terms of early bookings for April, Aspen-Snowmass was growing at 27.9% as of March 31, an increase of 13.1% over early bookings at the end of March 2021.

“Easter is April 17 and with [this week’s] snowfall, we were able to see some last minute bookings,” the summary reads.

Regarding the winter-spring tourist season, quoted from November to April, DestiMetrics puts the occupancy rate at 60% – an increase of 46.1% compared to the same six-month period a year ago and only slightly behind 2019-20’s 61.6%. The next monthly report will contain information for the entire season as April data is incomplete.

The summer season, from May to September, seems to be solid, adds the local summary.

“Just like last year at this time, we are enjoying good advance bookings with a summer occupancy of 28.5%. This exceeds last year’s pace of 36.8%, but is only slightly higher than 2019’s pace of 26%,” the summary reads.

“Both cities have strong summer event schedules. A sense of normalcy returns as we kick off summer with the return of Food & Wine in June and the return of the in-person Aspen Ideas Festival.

February retail sales

Aspen Chief Financial Officer Pete Strecker released the city’s monthly consumption report for February. It shows taxable, retail and other sales of $126 million, an improvement of nearly 78% over February 2021 sales.

Accommodation – made up of hotels, lodges and short-term rentals – brought in $45.2 million, a 163% increase from the same month last year. Restaurants and bars raised $22.6 million, an increase of 89.6%.

Stores that sell sports equipment and related apparel had sales of $10.3 million, up 51.2%. Fashion apparel suppliers reported sales of $15.1 million, an increase of 107.9%.

Strecker’s memo notes that Aspen was exiting pandemic red category restrictions in early 2021.

“February taxable sales again reflected a month of robust economic activity, with overall sales increasing 78% from the same period a year ago,” he wrote. “Similar to [January], this figure compares to a period when Aspen was emerging from red level health restrictions in 2021; so in isolation, that exaggerates how robust the economy was.

Comparing February to the same month two years ago — just before the impacts of COVID and a more “normal or healthy” economy — the increase was still significant, reflecting growth of 38%, Strecker’s note said.

“February 2022 data remains anchored by strong accommodation sales (both in short-term rental offerings and traditional lodges) and an equally strong month for restaurants and bars,” the note added. “Additionally, the fashion sector of the local economy had a robust month as the more affluent tourist traffic of this period found what they were looking for.”

Flights

Although details were not available on Thursday, background information on March and year flights at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport was recently provided by Bill Tomcich, Community Liaison Officer with commercial airlines serving Aspen and consultant to local Fly Aspen Snowmass partnership.

Total ASE passenger numbers for the first quarter of 2022 (January to March) were slightly higher than the first quarter of 2019, although the increase was less than 1%.

The first-quarter increase was helped by a strong March, Tomcich added. Passenger traffic increased by 3.5% last month compared to March 2020.

He said more details on March flight activity and ASE’s winter-spring season would be released soon.