Summit County Hotels Close Amidst Public Health Directive
Some of the area hotels are closing this week and for a town that relies on visitors to fuel its economy, it’s a stark reality that it won’t be business as usual during this year’s shoulder season.
Park City Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau President Bill Malone says the early closing of the area ski resorts, and the advancing of public health measures to shutter all places where people gather, is forcing hotels to close.
“Some of the hotels are actually closing this week, shutting down and so our projections are dropping from you know last week at 70% occupancy to somewhere in the neighborhood of 5%, we think around the end of the month this month."
Malone says Summit County was on track to have a record ski season until the announcement last week that most of Utah’s resorts were closing immediately. He says March occupancy was projected at about 70%.
March will come in at about 35% basically losing half the month in terms of spending. We probably will see our spending for the entire winter drop by about 17%. We’re looking at our total visitor nights for the winter dropping by about 15% compared to last year.”
Malone says destination economies are accustomed to fluctuations in spending and occupancy. A bad snow year can cause drastic changes.
“We’ve seen deep fluctuations in terms of occupancy and spending in a variety of years but we're estimating that March business will be down about 50% and April business will be down about 75% which leaves us for a total winter business decline of about 17%.”
Malone is under the impression property managers and hoteliers are working with customers who cancel reservations due to the COVID-19 public health alerts. They’re offering refunds or credits for future stays.
“This is the time of the year where a lot of businesses were, maybe about 30 days earlier than what they had projected, but this is the time of the year where they gear down and hopefully use some of the profits that they've made over the course of the winter to carry them through.”
Malone says city, county, restaurant, Rap tax and transient room tax revenues will decline this year as a result of the COVID-19 public health restrictions.