Park City is projected to have an additional 24,000 people visiting during the height of the Presidents’ Day week. These are weekend figures and midweek visits will drop off.
Occupancy rates are going to be 80 to 90 percent for the weekends with a drop to about 65 percent mid-week. Park City Chamber of Commerce President Bill Malone says they use data collected from January 31st to project February’s occupancy numbers. The numbers are very similar to last year.
“We actually are looking at that weekend of the 15th, 16th, 17th, as somewhere in between," Malone says. "Depending on the day, between 80 and 85 percent occupancy with the lodging business in the community. Now, that’s a pretty strong number, now granted that’s not what we experienced last weekend and in fact, based on our numbers, that the following weekend will actually be larger at the tail end of President’s Day week, the 22nd and 23rd seemed to be the peak times on that one.”
He says some visitors book last minute and chase the snow, and recent storms could be why the second weekend is busier.
“You know, it is a little bit of an anomaly for us in looking back at past years. Some of that may be a result of the terrific snow we have and when people are deciding to come on their vacation. So, a lot of our February business has been on the books for a while. We always know, there is a certain percentage of our customers that are pretty last minute and will chase the snow.”
The Chamber uses a research data company called Destametrics which provides information that is disseminated to public agencies and private businesses.
Malone says, "That can give transit, the city, safety, the ski resorts, restaurants, predictions on you know, what to expect for any given day. And, there’s a lot of people who have been receiving this information from us for a long time that actually look at that and have pretty good analysis as to what a 75 percent occupancy means to their business. So, we’ve been doing this for quite some time, and it is disseminated to the city and the county and they disseminate it out to various departments, but it also goes to everything looking at how many ski instructors should be on duty to how many tomatoes should be in the salad bar."
Malone says the data can gauge tax revenues as well. He’s never seen 100 percent occupancy, but the FIS Championships have given Park City a lot of television coverage and he’s expecting a very big March. They’ll have specifics next week. He thinks the new multi resort passes make for shorter lead times of bookings.
“You know," Malone says, "as we watch and learn from these new pass products, with Ikon and Epic, we’re definitely seeing a shorter time frame of people, especially people who have those passes, elsewhere, of pulling the trigger on a vacation.”
The closing weekend of the FIS Championships, February 8th and 9th, ran about 89 percent occupancy. The first weekend of Sundance was 96 percent occupancy with the second weekend at 82 percent. Christmas week ran between 85% and 91% depending on the day. Malone points out that they are only counting professionally managed properties, hotels, lodges, condo’s and bed and breakfasts.