Ski markets were among the first destinations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Many resorts had to close early due to local restrictions as the pandemic escalated during the late winter months. Now, vacation rental performance in ski destinations is still in question, due to reservation requirements at many resorts, recommendations against travel, and local regulations. So, what will January look like for some of the top ski markets in the United States?
Most markets have equal or lower paid occupancy rates to January 2020. There is substantial variation in occupancy between markets, even within a single state. For example, the paid occupancy rates for Aspen and Telluride are equal to last year while Breckenridge is down 7%. Vacation rentals in the Park City, Utah, area are experiencing the largest decline in paid occupancy of 14%. Jackson Hole is the sole market on this list with a higher paid occupancy rate than last year. Differences in COVID restrictions and the primary method of travel (drive to vs. fly to) do not provide easy explanations for the variations between markets.
*Note: At the time of publication, Lake Tahoe California rentals are prohibited from operating under state restrictions. The original ban was set to potentially be lifted on January 2. The ban is still in place and most of the reservations included in this data are for later in January.
Changes in average daily rate (ADR) between destinations also show mixed results. Of the six markets shown here, three have ADRs lower than last year, two are higher, and one is equal. Aspen (-$116) and Park City (-$80), the markets with the highest rates last year, have experienced the largest decreases in January ADR. Telluride (+$14) shows the largest increase in January rates. The ADR for Jackson Hole, despite a large jump in occupancy, is equal to 2020.
Average booking windows were shorter for most destinations through the summer and fall months. As with ADR and occupancy, the change in the average booking window varies greatly by market. Renters are reserving Aspen rentals almost a month earlier than in January 2021. Park City rentals are also being booked earlier, but the average booking window remains at just under 50 days, which means January occupancy will likely not fully recover compared to last year’s rate. The booking windows for Breckenridge, Jackson Hole, North Lake Tahoe, and Telluride are all similar to last year.
Changes in stay lengths have proven to be more consistent between markets and each market on this list has a longer average stay length than last year. Lake Tahoe rentals have seen the largest increase of almost four days. The Colorado ski markets have seen smaller increases in stay lengths than the other markets.
Although January performance is a mixed bag, February remains even more unclear due to the traditionally shorter booking windows for ski rentals. If you’re interested in the performance of your destination, contact us here!