Breckenridge houses approximately 45% of the short-term rentals in Summit County and generally hosts the most tourists, according to short term rental data.
While this ski hub generally sees a healthy, or sometimes overwhelming, amount of tourists, travel experts had some trepidation about what the Christmas and New Years holiday weeks could bring this year.
Given the timing of many school breaks this year, travel experts were wary that Breckenridge was going to have a lower number of tourists this holiday season.
“When the school break falls at a convenient time for travel or sets up a really nicely aligned week for families to travel, you might see that have an impact,” Melissa Andrews with the Breckenridge Tourism Office said.
As luck would have it, despite tricky travel times, Breckenridge did not see a dip in tourists.
Breckenridge saw a very slight uptick in visitations this holiday season with 2023’s number beating out 2022’s by around 4%.
The Breckenridge Tourism Office utilizes lodging occupancy data to get an outlook on travel and said the data from this year indicates that the holiday timeframe is still strong for bookings.
The Breckenridge Tourism Office reported that from Dec. 22 through Jan. 7 Breckenridge was at 71.4% lodging occupancy. During this time last year occupancy was at 67%.
Lodging occupancy data demonstrates that Dec. 28 and 29 remain the peak occupied nights with Jan. 3-5 coming in as a close second.
Andrews said Breckenridge saw travelers from its usual top areas, such as Texas, Florida, Illinois and California. The town also saw tourists from nearby states like Kansas and Missouri.
Breckenridge officials similarly reported seeing a slight increase in tourism from last year based on short-term rental data specially for Breckenridge properties. Last year, short-term rental occupancy for the Christmas and New Years holiday hit 58.%. This year it hit 61.7%.
While occupancy rates rose slightly, average daily rates and length of stay for short term rentals dropped slightly.
Breckenridge’s market saw a $34 drop in average daily rates, dropping from $826 last year to $792 this year.
Breckenridge Resort Managers’ data showed that average daily rates peaked on Dec. 29 at $964 and hit a low point on Dec. 20 at $529.
President Toby Babich chalks up the drop in price to overall inventory being up and property owners shifting around how they do things to increase occupancy.
“This would be pure speculation but we’re seeing a drop in (average daily rate), which is at a $30 drop, and we’re seeing a drop in length of stay. People are probably dropping rates and allowing shorter stays to increase occupancy,” Babich said.
He said he suspects short-term rental owners could be nixing their minimum lengths of stay, which is generally five nights in Breckenridge, in order to increase occupancy when demand might be low.
He noted the drop in the length of stay was minuscule, with last year’s average being 4.4 nights and this year’s being 4.3.
He said an interesting trend his organization has noticed is that while that holiday week had an increase in occupancy, overall Breckenridge is down for the month of December.
“I think the interesting part is the overall 3.7% drop in occupancy when looking at the entire month of December, due to a slow early December,” Babich said.