Most Mammoth businesses happy about ski season to date
How did Mammoth Lakes start the new year? Was business flat in January, or was it flying high? Turns out, the answer depends on who you talk to and what line of work they’re in.
Starting in the air, Mammoth Lakes Tourism Director John Urdi told The Sheet that as to our “pace” versus last year, January was strong.
“But what is also key to note is that MOST markets have exceeded END of February 2012 numbers by a big margin, and that’s just as of the Feb. 5 report, and we still have weeks to book.”
December 2012 load factors from LAX were up only a full point over December 2011 (67.9% versus 66.9%), not terribly surprising since Christmas visitation in 2011 was still very good.
San Francisco, Orange County and San Diego improved more, with San Francisco and Orange County up 6% each, and San Diego up almost 12% this past December.
The drop in early 2012 was illustrative of the bad snow year, with LAX falling off more than 21%, compared to a decline of only 6.5% this year. Meanwhile, flights from the other airports actually improved their passenger totals this January, even over increases observed in the previous month … Orange County: 36.7% to 48.7%, San Diego 48% to 55% and San Francisco 52% to 56%.
Retail & Dining
Slocum’s owner Cindy Avena was effusive about this January. “A GREAT January … way up over last January, and better than December which also beat last year. Even with the Christmas holiday falling later, December was still better than last. We just celebrated our 30th anniversary and are still going strong!”
As one might expect, ski and snowboard gear and rentals have fared well this winter. “We continue to see strong business with percentage increases bigger than December and far better than last year,” reported Tom Cage, owner of Kittredge Sports and P3.
“We are not at record levels, but had very strong sales, rental and repair numbers, even without 60% off sales and big ugly banners. Of course, as my competitors all understand, this is what happens when you sell quality product at the MSRP, offer expert repair work and service your rental customer with new high quality rentals and demos.”
Mammoth Outdoor Sports and Value Sports owner Phil Hertzog said simply, “December was a very good month with January just behind.”
At least one startup business, Bleu Handcrafted Foods, had cause to be optimistic. “This was the first January for me, but it was definitely busier than forecasted,” Bleu owner Brandon Broccia said.
A few other retailers, particularly those not in the snow sports industry, said they were generally disappointed by the month, suggesting that last year’s lack of snow actually drove shopping higher, and pointed to lower sales than last year at this time.
One storeowner said December was off 34% and January came in even worse at 43% off compared to the same period in 2011-2012. “My assumption is that the snow was amazing and the weather was flawless,” they said.
In terms of lodging, January was a mixed bag. Mammoth Creek Inn Manager Michael Edelshtain noted that things were better than last year, though “there’s always room for improvement.”
Across town at The Westin Monache Resort, however, the month was stellar. According to Director of Sales and Marketing Theresa Broccia, the month was, “The best January we have had in our history.”
Sources also indicate that several properties have their budgeted numbers on the books for the YEAR right now and say the rest of the bookings will be gravy.
As far as Transient Occupancy Tax figures, Urdi went on to say that, while TOT data isn’t yet available from the Town, he’s “confident” that January will be very strong for TOT.