Tourists and visitors looking to visit the greater Bozeman area continue to come in larger numbers. Hotels, vacation rentals and traditional bed and breakfasts have all seen marked growth in their bookings for the 2015 summer.
According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, most rooms in Bozeman will be full every weekend through June, July and August assuming they haven’t been filled already. Some hotels are even booking into next year. Even with the new hotels moving in downtown, hotels are still seeing low vacancies.
Visitation statewide is expected to be up 2 percent this year. Last year, Bozeman had 40% of the 11 million visitors who visited Montana in 2014, so local Bozemanites should notice the tourism growth.
Bozeman has always attracted a large portion of out of state residents due to its proximity to public lands, Yellowstone and great local skiing. Last year, Yellowstone saw a large uptick in visitors during its high season and Big Sky saw above average tourism last year. Bozeman proper, meanwhile, was highlighted as a top 25 ski destination in the world. According to the University of Montana’s Institute on Tourism and Recreation Research, nearly 665 million non-resident dollars were taken in between 2012 and 2013 and Bozeman certainly has seen a good portion of these funds.
Many visitors to Bozeman have been looking for alternatives when taking vacation. Annual occupancy rates have gone up yearly since 2009 (42.5%) to now (51%). As less homes have less tenants and less vacation based tenants, with more owners taking up available real estate to visitors, many tourists have turned to AirBnB and other accommodation services to find a room. Air BnB for example, is an online community where owner occupied homes rent out space to tenants for short durations, much like how a bed and breakfast would function. Now, there are over 800 listings from Air BnB in Montana.
Investment opportunities may be available to homeowners looking for additional income streams. As more tourists need space in Bozeman, more opportunities will open up for locals. Bozeman’s high tourism provides a great base of people visiting the area while bringing in money to its residents. Bozeman’s location sells more than vacations though, and the town’s growth shows how sought after the Gallatin Valley has become.