Park City hotels nearly 100% booked, pointing to jammed holiday stretch

Skiers and snowboarders wait to load up on the Red Pine Gondola at Park City Mountain Resort during the resort’s opening day in November.
Park Record Picture File

Park City hotels are expected to be nearly 100% booked on several days between Christmas and New Years, indicating the potential for holiday-business in the tourism industry.

The latest Park City room/office occupancy forecast, dated December 15, showed the numbers rising from 65% on December 24 to 99% on December 29.

Expectations for other dates during the holidays:

• 67% on December 25

• 83% on December 26

• 92% on December 27

• 96% on December 28

• 95% on December 30

• 87% on December 31

• 73% in January. 1

• 58% from January. 2

The forecast during the holidays precedes the actual figures from last year as well as forecasts for the same dates during the last winter. The stark differences in forecasts between the two years highlight widespread concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus that affected the first weeks of the last ski season.

The forecast for January, important because this is the scheduled month for the Sundance Film Festival, is also ahead of the previous year’s forecast.

The forecast is based on a survey of 18 properties representing a range of traditional housing options such as budget hotels, luxury hotels and short-term vacation rentals. Reservations and cancellations since December 15th are not included in the price.

The strong numbers are likely to be influenced by the fact that both Christmas and New Year’s are on Saturdays, providing many people with three consecutive weekends.

“While we are cautiously optimistic, given the levels of hotel bookings applied for January, we should be realistic in our expectation that some of this will decrease due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant across the United States affecting travel plans,” Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and managing director. Room/Office Executive, said in a prepared response to Park Record’s inquiry.

Wesselhoff also said the room/office is “carefully monitoring virus cases across the country and adjusting our advertising efforts accordingly.”

She noted that the weather affects travelers to Park City. Although a wave of warm, dry weather marked the early days of the ski season, snow has since arrived, and the National Weather Service’s forecast Thursday morning called for snow until Wednesday.

“We are fully aware of the fragility of tourism and can never ‘count our eggs before they hatch,'” she said.

Accommodation numbers are critical to the Park City economy in general as people visiting also tend to spend significantly in the resort, restaurant, retail and transportation sectors.

Meanwhile, Wesselhoff said, expectations are within those expectations at the same time during the 2019-20 winter, before the forced coronavirus lockdown that ended the ski season early.

“Compared to the pre-Covid 2019/2020 season or mostly normal year, bookings on books are in line with bookings during the same period, with some days outperforming historical actual values, and others underperforming,” she said. .

Park City’s economy during the 2020-2021 ski season, the first full season in the coronavirus era, exceeded expectations as skiers and snowboarders arrived in droves to an activity they saw as a safe option as the disease spread.

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