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Mountain Resort Short-Term Bookings Fared Better Than Expected During Pandemic Winter Season

Park City Lodging Association

Despite the pandemic and a light snow season, lodging at mountain resorts exceeded expectations during the 2020/2021 season.

The lodging industry took a huge hit in March of 2019, due to uncertainty looming with the pandemic. One year later, mountain resorts saw up to 98% increases in occupancy compared to 2019. 

That’s according to Tom Foley, Senior Vice President for business operations and analytics for Inntopia. He said the company collects data from 18 mountain resort properties across seven Western states, including Park City. 

It was hard to follow up to the record breaking 2019/2020 season, especially with an ongoing pandemic. But Foley said the lodging industry this season did better than anticipated. 

"Expectations, I think were drawn with worst case scenarios in mind, as we were going through the pandemic, and nobody really knew how consumers were going to be responding," Foley said. "But in the end, you know, the resorts of both the big players, Alterra, and Vail resorts, but also all of the smaller players really put together plans that were consumer friendly." 

He said the industry was expecting massive losses between 25-30% in revenue, but ended up only seeing losses in the single digits - around 8-9%.

And he said rates were the strong player through the season, down only 5-10% depending on the destination. 

"And that's really important when we saw the economic problems in 2008/2009 the knee jerk reaction from the lodging industry at that time was to slash rates dramatically," he said. "And it took us 72 months to get them back. Now we're already seeing that year over year rate not only against last year, but against two years ago."

And looking ahead to the summer, Foley said rates should hold strong. 

"Well, the rate sustainability is really the hero looking into the summer rates are up across the board versus not just last year, but versus two years ago, all the way through the summer, really dramatically," he said.

He said he expects that occupancy will start to pick up during the later months of the summer over the next 60-90 days.


Jessica joins KPCW as a general assignment reporter and Sunday Weekend Edition host. A Florida native, she graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English — concentrating in film studies — and journalism. Before moving to Utah, she spent time in Atlanta, GA.
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