Tahoe ski bookings drop after poor January; resorts remain optimistic

Recent storms have brought sorely needed snow to the Tahoe Basin.

Recent storms have brought sorely needed snow to the Tahoe Basin.

LAKE TAHOE — An lack of snowfall for Tahoe-area ski resorts in January has led to a drop-off in bookings for the remainder of the ski season, but officials say that recent snow — and the prospect of expected storms to kick off March — are helping pick up the slack.

The downturn was reported by Inntopia in its monthly DestiMetrics market briefing. As of Jan. 31, aggregated occupancy for January was down 4.4 percent, while Average Daily Rate (ADR) climbed 7.3 percent compared to January 2016.

Despite the drop in occupancy, the increased rates allowed a 2.6 percent increase in aggregate revenues. Bookings made in January for arrivals from January through June 2018 are down 15.4 percent, with the biggest decline coming in bookings for January arrivals — plunging 24 percent compared to bookings made last year.

“Occupancy has moved from being up slightly in November to essentially flat in December to measurably down as of Jan. 31 for the first year-over-year decline in winter season occupancy since 2011-12,” said Tom Foley, vice president of Business Intelligence for Inntopia. “And while some much-needed snowfall has arrived at many destinations since this data was collected, and some whiplash swings on Wall Street have changed the narrative in recent days, we’re concentrating on January performance in this report.”

DestiMetrics reports aggregated occupancy for November through April is down 3.3 percent, with decreases in four of the six months. As of Jan. 31, only the shoulder months of November and April were up for the winter season. However, aggregated ADR is up 4 percent compared to last winter, enabling revenues, despite the lower occupancy, to get away with a 0.5 percent increase in revenues for the season.

Despite these numbers, Tahoe ski resorts are staying positive regarding bookings and snow, highlighted by reportedly strong numbers from the recent President’s Day weekend, Feb. 17-19.

“The Village at Squaw Valley lodging bookings remain quite healthy, with sold out back-to-back weekends this holiday period and strong midweek reservations,” Squaw Valley Public Relations Director Liesl Hepburn said the week after President’s Day. “We ended up with a foot of new snow from these last two storms, more than expected, and very cold temperatures have been beneficial for continuous snowmaking.”

DestiMetrics, part of the Business Intelligence platform for Inntopia, tracks lodging performance in resort destinations. It compiles forward-looking reservation data each month and provides individualized and aggregated results to subscribers at participating resorts.


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