Ski Season Forecast: Part 1

November 9, 2022

Ski-season pacing trends indicate a long-awaited return to normal; December 2022 - February 2023 figures are returning to trends seen pre-pandemic. Occupancy is starting to level out from the peaks and valleys reached during the pandemic, nightly rates are ever-increasing, length of stays aren’t varying as dramatically, and booking windows are increasing over the past two years. However, there are still major disparities between unit types. In part one of a two-part ski season forecast, we will first dive into just how much market-level occupancy and rate data is impacted by the types of properties being booked.

Occupancy rates for the nine mountain markets featured above vary. Some markets, like Jackson Hole, WY; Steamboat Springs, CO; and Telluride, CO are currently pacing behind where they were in 2021 (-7%, -2% and -2%, respectively), but ahead of where they were in 2020 (+5%, +9%, and +11%). Other markets, like Lake Tahoe, CA; Vail, CO; and Winter Park, CO are pacing ahead of both 2020 (+3%, +3%, and +4%) and 2021 (+2%, +15%, and +10%). Aspen, CO; and Breckenridge, CO are pacing ahead of 2020 (+9%, +3%), and on par with 2021. But how do these increases and decreases translate across property types?

The markets seeing stagnation or decreases in overall adjusted paid occupancy rates from last year are seeing similar decreases in both house and condo occupancy. Jackson Hole, WY (pacing 7% behind last year), house occupancy is pacing 6% behind this point last year and 10% behind for condos. Breckenridge, CO (on pace with 2021), and Steamboat Springs, CO (2% behind), are seeing decreases in the occupancy rate for houses of 5% and 3% respectively, and 0% and -3% for condos. Vail, a market seeing a 3% increase in pacing over last year, has booked 6% more condos and 6% more houses.

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In markets where the spread of properties was slanted toward houses (Aspen, Lake Tahoe), condos are seeing growth over the two previous years that the house sector is not. 24% of the condos in Aspen are rented, as opposed to 20% of houses, and condo rentals are seeing a 2% increase over last year. 17% of condos are rented so far in Lake Tahoe, which is a 5% increase over last year and 8% increase over 2020. This could be because people are more comfortable in condo buildings and shared spaces again, or because rates are high for private homes. 

Nightly rates are pacing ahead of 2020 for all markets, and ahead of 2021 for most markets but rate increases for condos are consistently higher. Breckenridge, CO (+$216 ahead of 2020, +$8 ahead of 2021); Jackson Hole, WY (+$296, +$93); Steamboat Springs, CO (+$246, +$196); Telluride, CO (+$377, +$227); Vail, CO (+$331, +$213); and Winter Park, CO (+$172, +$10) are all pacing ahead of both years. Aspen, CO; and Lake Tahoe, CA are both pacing ahead of 2020 (+$251 and +$110, respectively), but behind 2021 (-$205, -$54, respectively). 

Rates for condos are obviously not as high as they are for houses, but the increases are more consistent and higher over last year. For example, in Aspen, CO, travelers paid an average of $1,414/night for a home; a 27% ($512) decrease over last year and a 56% ($519) increase per night over 2020. However, travelers paid an average of $975 per night for a condo; an increase of 16% ($132) over 2021 and an increase of 61% ($370) per night over 2020. For most markets, even where the rates for both property types increased, the increases for condos were higher than the increases for homes; like in Jackson Hole (+1% for homes, +17% for condos), Telluride (+13% vs. +25%), and Vail (+23% vs. +28%). 

Market-level data is important and irreplaceable in your toolbox; it will tell you at a glance if your KPIs are where you want them, and help compare your data against similar markets. However, it is also important to segment your data using property types, bedroom counts, amenities, and more. Contact us at [email protected] to discuss how we can help you view your data, and part two of our Ski Season Forecast: Review Booking Activity by Property Type is now available!

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