After preliminary data showed 2019 occupancy rates for Park City-area lodging lagging behind last year’s numbers, bookings have shot up for the holiday week.
Park City Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Malone says the increase in bookings really flooded in over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Just like people were spending on retail and services, they were spending on booking a vacation, too, at that time," Malone said. "I'm sure the great snowfall that we started receiving around the Thanksgiving holidays spurred people onto make those reservations for the Christmas holidays.”
Visitors to Park City consistently hail from New York and Los Angeles, though Malone says out-of-town guests come from all over the place.
From Dec. 17-24, bookings exceeded last year’s numbers as well as historical averages, reaching 70% occupancy. But around the end of the year, Dec. 29-31, Malone says Park City-area lodging will see 80% to 90% occupancy rates.
“So that will be next Sunday, Monday, Tuesday will be some of our busiest days," Malone said. "But that spike and the spike that occurs on the first weekend of Sundance are the two biggest spikes during the year.”
So, what does 90% lodging occupancy look like in the Park City area? Should locals avoid the resorts, or even avoid leaving their homes? Malone says it’s hard to tell.
“We have seen at times where the occupancy percentages can be reflected significantly in foot traffic and skier days, and then there are those times that we don't see that connection," Malone said. "So when we've looked at traffic counts and occupancy, at times it depends on the guest.”
The chamber does not count Airbnb or VRBO in its local occupancy counts, only brick-and-mortar hotels and lodging.
Additionally, heading into the holidays, Malone wants to remind guests to generously tip wage staff and hospitality workers who are busy working holiday shifts.