Park City tourism industry, likely to take a hit at Sundance, pivots to February projections

Main Street will draw crowds in the coming weeks as the tourism industry hits the key month of February. Lodging projections for this month are well ahead of those recorded at the same time in 2021, indicating the likelihood of a busy period in Park City.
Jay Hamburger/Park File

January will not be a blockbuster for Park City’s tourism industry with the cancellation of the Sundance Film Festival as an in-person event.

But the spotlight will soon turn to February and the arrival of a new cast of characters in Park City.

With a crucial period of the ski season approaching, accommodation projections for February are well ahead of those recorded at the same time in 2021. This year’s projections also generally exceed actual 2021 figures to date. the day.

The Park City Chamber/Bureau’s most recent accommodation forecast, dated December 31, covers the period from January 1 to February 28. figure.

February is considered one of the key months for Park City’s economy. Snow conditions are typically some of the best in winter, and the three-day Presidents Day weekend is traditionally one of the busiest of the ski season. The month essentially fills what is normally a slower period for the ski industry between New Years and the arrival of the spring crowds in March.

The Dec. 31 forecast released by the Chamber/Bureau is based on a survey of 18 properties that represent a range of traditional accommodation options like budget hotels, luxury hotels and short-term vacation rentals. Reservations and cancellations made since December 31 are not included. An updated House/Bureau reading is expected soon.

The next report will more likely illustrate whether the sharp rise in cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus impacted bookings through mid-March. It will also provide a first picture of reservations for the first weeks of spring break.

The Presidents Day weekend forecast calls for 84% occupancy on Saturday, 86% occupancy on Sunday, and 73% occupancy on Monday. At the same time in 2021, projections for Presidents Day weekend topped out at 45%. Actual numbers in 2021, however, far exceeded projections.

Some of the February dates with high occupancy projections include:

• February 3 at 84%

• February 4 at 85%

• February 5 at 85%

• February 10 at 82%

• February 11 at 83%

The statewide ski industry posted unprecedented numbers during the 2020-2021 ski season, setting a record for skier days – a key industry metric that measures the number of people on the slopes – in winter after coronavirus-enforced closures led to a late start to the previous ski season. It’s unclear if the current ski season is progressing with the 2020-21 numbers, but Park City has appeared to be extremely busy in recent weeks. The crowds prompted complaints about traffic and the length of queues at the lifts.

Many see skiing as something that can be done safely outdoors during the pandemic, which has boosted visitor numbers. The warm economy is also seen as a contributor to the ski industry’s success this winter. The House/Office, meanwhile, promotes Park City “as a ‘Favorite Winter City,’ emphasizing our incredible outdoor adventures in the clean, fresh mountain air” , according to a statement prepared by the organization’s president and CEO, Jennifer Wesselhoff, provided at the request of The Park Record.

“We are messaging visitors and potential visitors about visiting safely and following Summit County’s mask mandate. We are also closely monitoring COVID cases in our target markets, and will modify our marketing plans if COVID thresholds are exceeded,” she also said.

The number of accommodations is important to the overall economy of Park City. Visitors also tend to spend a lot in the leisure, dining and transportation sectors. Retailers also typically benefit from increased sales when accommodation bookings are high. City Hall also benefits from increased tax revenue.

The February numbers will follow a January that will likely suffer economically as Sundance comes online. In early January, festival organizers raised concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in the decision to cancel the in-person event for the second year in a row. The number of accommodations was expected to increase with the return of Sundance, scheduled for January 20-30. The accommodation industry is instead hoping to attract skiers on dates when Sundance crowds would otherwise have booked most of the available rooms.

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