Ski Season Forecast: Part 2

November 9, 2022

In part one of a two-part ski season forecast, we reviewed how occupancy and rates compare to prior years and how those trends differ between private houses and condos. In part two, we will examine booking activity both at a market and property type level. 

All mountain ski markets we reviewed are seeing longer booking windows than in 2020, and the majority are either longer than or on par with 2021. Markets like Aspen, CO; Breckenridge, CO; Jackson Hole, WY; and Vail, CO saw average booking windows increase over both 2020 and 2021. For these four markets, booking windows during the 2020 - 2021 season ranged from two (Vail) to four weeks (Breckenridge) shorter than they are pacing this season. Steamboat Springs, CO; and Telluride, CO are seeing longer booking windows than in 2020, but the same length as last season. Even markets seeing shorter booking windows than last year, like Lake Tahoe, CA (-2 days); Salt Lake City, UT (-4 days); and Winter Park, CO (-2 days), are seeing negligible decreases. This data suggests that booking windows are returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Both property types’ booking windows increased substantially over 2020, and any decreases from last year are negligible. However, the changes vary by property type and market. Some markets, like Aspen, CO; and Vail, CO are seeing an increase in bookings windows for houses (37 days and 10 days, respectively) and condos (10 days, 16 days). There are also markets that, compared to last year, are seeing decreases for one property type, and increases for the other. For example, Lake Tahoe is experiencing a 4-day decrease in the booking window for houses, and an 8-day increase for condos. Telluride has a longer (+17 days) booking window for houses, but a shorter (-4 days) booking window for condos. Winter Park, CO was the only market observed that is seeing a decrease in the booking window for both homes and condos over last year; by 12 days and 1 day respectively. Historically, houses have been booked further in advance than condos; because larger houses and longer stays are booked prior to, or early in, the season. Booking windows for condos will likely decrease further with weekend stays being booked throughout the season.

Average Length of Stay varies by market; some markets have not seen much of a change over 2020 or 2021 but some markets have varied drastically. Jackson Hole, WY; Salt Lake City, UT; and Telluride, CO all increased over last year but decreased from 2020. These changes from previous years were all less than half a day, but Jackson Hole is seeing stays two days shorter than in 2020; likely because this was one of the markets that offered more private home options at cheaper prices than the others. The Colorado destinations above are seeing less variation in the length of stay over the last few years than the others. This could be because weekend stays are more popular in these markets.

Most increases or decreases from last year, across both houses and condos, were within half a day. The only markets that saw substantial increases in length of stay for houses were Lake Tahoe, CA (+1.5 days); and Salt Lake City, UT (+1.6 days). Lengths of stay for both houses and condos in Jackson Hole, WY have shortened by 2 days compared to 2020, and in Steamboat Springs, Telluride, and Winter Park, CO, the length of stay for houses is one day shorter than it was in 2020. 

As pandemic-related travel trends start to dissipate in mountain ski markets, economic uncertainty is creeping in. Less purchasing power and a possible recession will likely make impulse travelers more sensitive to increased rates than in the past few years since those last-minute trips are crucial for revenue and occupancy. Do you know how your inventory subtypes are performing? Contact us at [email protected] to learn more!

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