A snowy start to the winter is bringing in sunshine changing the gloomy outlook of luxury hotels at ski resorts around Aspen and the Western U.S. Bookings have already outpaced the number of reservations garnered last year at this time, despite the shaky feeling in the economy still not having gone away. The offers are proving to be most enticing with a couple of freebies thrown in here and there (like a free glass of wine for your drink holder) or prices getting slashed considerably. Whether you have the money or not, no one will mind getting a free lunch or round of drinks.
Existing luxury properties such as the Little Nell hotel in premiere ski destinations such as Aspen are battling it out with other five star or four star accommodations which have begun operations. While the demand for rooms is not surging as was expected, the consistent stream of customers are being given incentives and the opportunity to stay in a class of hotel which may not have been affordable during pre-recession times. Customers who would earlier stay at three star hotels are now getting rooms at the same prices at better and fancier five star hotels.
Not all premium properties have relegated themselves to the price war but are offering a little something extra to make the customer’s stay more value for their money. The Little Nell Hotel for instance is offering free lift tickets and an extra night free if the room is booked for four days which makes the fifth night free. (Christmas and President’s Day are exceptions to this offer.) Even customers who can afford to pay $840 per night for a room are out on the lookout to get a bargain too. These offers have augured well for the hotel since occupancy levels are still very strong while the offers continue to be given this season.
The Four Seasons in Vail has just been completed and has opened its doors recently, unfortunately the timing is bad. In Deer Valley the Montage stands out as a class apart but it has debuted at a time when there is more rooms available then the actual demand. In addition to this the St. Regis Hotel had already been launched there last season, straining the availability of rooms to visitors. Lake Tahoe got a Ritz-Carlton last winter and Snowmass Village got the much envied Viceroy property.
There is no dearth of options but there is a dearth of customers willing to spend their money. The five star hotels are wary of falling into a rut of price downfall so are refraining from slashing rates and sticking to just doling out goodies, some of them wheelchair accessories. There is no set formula but so far the plan seems to be as mutually as beneficial as it can be to the customer and the hotel, so check some out, book them, then pack your travel cup holder.