Hotel manager: Steamboat’s prices are lower than other mountain towns | SteamboatToday.com

Hotel manager: Steamboat’s prices are lower than other mountain towns

Holiday Inn manager Barbara Robinson addressed breakfast group

Construction crews lay new pavers in Gondola Square Tuesday afternoon.

— Holiday Inn of Steamboat Springs General Manager Barbara Robinson told a gathering of business leaders Tuesday that the local lodging community needs to figure out how competing mountain resorts are able to command higher room rates on average than Steamboat does.

"There is a visitor out there who is generating more revenue than we've collected," Robinson said at a business panel discussion sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Robinson said there is both good and challenging news for summer tourism.

"Travel has definitely rebounded," Robinson said. "People are looking for luxury hotels again, after the last two years when they were looking for the second tier of their choice. And the group business that we weren't getting in 2008 and 2009 is rebounding strongly, and that's wonderful for all of us."

On the other hand, Robinson said, Steamboat did not reach the 6 percent growth in tourism that Colorado saw statewide in 2010. And she said her property recently lost a booking for a U.S. Forest Service group because of federal belt-tightening.

Visitors to Steamboat overwhelmingly give positive feedback about their stays here, Robinson said, but compared with mountain towns such as Vail, Aspen and Breckenridge, visitors to Steamboat tend to pay less for their lodging.

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Lodging properties use a variety of measurements to gauge their performance, Robinson said, and occupancy rates are just the beginning.

Based on data gathered from the first five months of 2011, Robinson said the average daily room rate in Steamboat was $167 compared with $200 in Breckenridge, $331 in Vail and $361 in Aspen.

Taken a step further, the revenue per average room, known as the Rev PAR (average room rate times percent occupancy) in Aspen was $210 compared with $196 in Vail and $100 in Breckenridge. Steamboat's Rev PAR was $84.

One of Steamboat's strengths, Robinson said, is the diversity of lodging properties it can offer guests at a wide range of revenues. Given that diversity, she said, it is incumbent on resort leaders to work to generate business for all of those various properties.

She said it's her hope that the trend of teaching the resort's guests to wait for the last minute to get the best deals can be reversed.

"It doesn't accomplish anything," she said.

Base area stage

Katie Brown, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. marketing and e-business specialist, told the Chamber gathering that construction of a new permanent performing arts stage at the edge of Gondola Square has begun and resort managers hope to be able to host the first live concert on the stage during Oktoberwest, from Sept. 16 to 18.

A significant addition to the stage will be 18 public toilets, Brown said.

"Construction is going well and is on track," Brown said.

Workers are also busy installing a snowmelt boiler and piping that will keep new pavers in the plaza snow-free next winter, Brown said.

– To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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