October looks good for hotels Predictions rosy for room nights sold By Chris Woodall Whistler's hotels are predicting a whopping 21 per cent increase in room nights sold this October over the number sold in 1996, a Whistler Resort Association month-end summary shows. The WRA itself is less optimistic, forecasting an increase of 6 per cent, to 30,043 room nights from 28,260 for the same month last year. "Typically their forecasts are a bit high," says the WRA's Arlene Schieven of the hotels' numbers. The hotels may not have taken into account new accommodation coming on line, or they might have insider information on convention traffic that would make them more hopeful, Schieven says. "Either way these are good numbers," Schieven says. The resort lost a little ground from 1995 (28,449 room nights) to 1996 (28,260). The total "warm season" count (May 1 to Halloween) is set to grow by 10 per cent this year, according to the hotels, or by 8 per cent according to the WRA. "The whole summer was good," Schieven observes. "The hotels may have seen a lot of walk-in business this year," Schieven says, also noting that the Chateau Whistler's massive addition will have tweaked the total numbers positively. The Chateau's influence is also thought to have had an effect in keeping achieved room rates on the rise. September's achieved rates (what visitors actually paid) increased by 10 per cent to an average $116.23, ahead of the $105.27 average price of a hotel room last year for the same month. The summer season saw average rates increase by 4 per cent over 1996, and warm season rates for 1996 were 6 per cent higher than in 1995, despite decreases of 4 per cent and 10 per cent in 1996's September and October business. All of these numbers are in the face of a total room inventory that was at 4,008 as of September. In September, 1996, Whistler had 3,561 rooms in service; up from 3,059 rooms available in September, 1995.