Published December 29, 2021 at 4:51 PM MST
Lodging numbers released in early December by the Park City Chamber Bureau showed a near 100% occupancy rate for the last week of 2021.
The week between Christmas and New Years is traditionally the busiest time of year in Park City, but this year’s numbers have surpassed even pre-pandemic levels of bookings.
Then, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 hit. Plans were canceled for many across the world as flights were scrapped and some countries imposed travel bans or lockdowns.
Despite the new surge in cases, local lodging has not seen a significant change to its reservation numbers.
Rhonda Sideris is the President of the Historic Park City Alliance and the President and Founder of Park City Lodging, a vacation rental management company.
She said there have been a handful of cancellations over the past week, but not enough to significantly impact Park City’s occupancy numbers.
“I got a notice yesterday of just a couple [cancellations], but, yeah, we are seeing them,” said Sideris. “We’re busy. We’re 80-90% occupied and I don’t know where those vacant units are because we don’t have them.”
Sideris added that the majority of her company’s cancellations have been international visitors from countries with more strict COVID-19 policies.
Chamber Bureau CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff said she saw a similar trend over the Christmas holiday. In fact, she was bracing for more people to cancel trips as Omicron continued to spread.
“I was surprised to see that we dipped a little bit over the exact holiday days of Christmas and Christmas Eve,’ Wesselhoff said. “But now, yes, we’re seeing a spike. We are not seeing as many cancellations, I think, as you would expect, but things are looking really strong.”
For anyone traveling this holiday season, purchasing travel insurance is something that might be worth looking into.
Travel insurance can help refund money lost due to a canceled trip, but it does not cover COVID-19 lockdowns. There is coverage if you or someone you are supposed to travel with gets sick. Sideris said she encourages everyone who is traveling right now to insure their trips.
“On every single statement that goes back out to the client, we’re advising them to purchase trip insurance because it’s such a minimal amount of your vacation expense to cover,” she said. “You know, we have obligations to our owners who have mortgage payments, so it’s a tough negotiation game.”
The exact cost for trip insurance depends on your destination, travel dates, ages of the people on the trip, and how much the trip costs. According to Berkshire Hathaway, travel insurance typically costs between five and 10 percent of your total trip cost.
The Chamber Bureau’s lodging data indicates the crowds in Park City should taper off soon after the new year, with occupancy rates dropping to between 55% and 75% for most of January.