Steamboat lodging occupancy continues upward seasonal trend |

Steamboat lodging occupancy continues upward seasonal trend

Pilot & Today staff

— Steamboat Springs lodging properties are continuing to see increased occupancy as the busy holiday season nears.

The weekly lodging barometer issued by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association forecasts 38 percent occupancy Saturday night at local hotels, motels and nightly-rental condominiums. That equates to about 5,600 guests, which is on par with the forecast for the corresponding Saturday in December 2010. That weekend, last-minute and walk-in bookings increased the actual occupancy to 6,200 people.

Scott Marr, owner of the Holiday Inn of Steamboat Springs, said not only are this weekend's bookings strong at his 117-room hotel but so are the reservations through the end of December and into early January.

"The weekends don't look any stronger than the weekdays," Marr said Thursday, attributing the stable occupancy at his hotel to the fact it serves as a business hotel as much as it does a place for vacationing skiers. "It's all looking pretty good for us."

According to the lodging barometer, Steamboat bookings for Dec. 17 will build upon this weekend's occupancy levels. The early Chamber forecast shows 48 percent occupancy and 7,600 visitors for the weekend before the Christmas holiday — about 1,000 visitors ahead of last year's pace.

The national consumer confidence index increased to 56 in November, its highest level since July. Resort officials here often have cited consumer confidence as a key monitoring statistic for forecasting tourism levels. Despite the November surge, consumer confidence still remains at levels well below the 90 typically associated with a healthy economy.

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Marr expects the Holiday Inn's 2011 numbers to finish ahead of 2010. He said he already has as much business on the books for the month of December as he did at the end of last year. That's particularly relevant because of how many last-minute reservations are received by hotels like the Holiday Inn in a travel age fueled by Internet bookings, Marr said.

The Chamber publishes the weekly lodging barometer primarily to help businesses determine staffing levels for the upcoming week. The barometer essentially is an informal survey of the room bookings of local lodging properties.

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