Steamboat Springs expects to host as many visitors as it did in 2002 on the last big weekend of the summer tourist season.
According to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, lodging properties are forecasted to be 43 percent full with 6,500 visitors in town Saturday, the first day of Steamboat's Labor Day weekend Rockin' Roundup festivities.
As has been typical this summer, late reservations are expected to boost occupancy past predicted figures.
"We have risen 10 or 15 percent in occupancy in the past four or five days, so we're picking up late and we're picking up quick," Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel front office manager Tom Emmert said. "It looks like we'll hit 60 percent, maybe more. We're still getting calls."
The Best Western Ptarmigan Inn also has seen a rush of last-minute bookings, assistant general manager Ben Franko said.
"Since Wednesday, almost 80 percent of our bookings have been for Saturday night," he said. "The real-time access to availability and rates promotes this last-minute frenzy."
Mountain condominiums are expected to see more visitors Saturday than on the same day last year and remain higher than last year's booking levels throughout the week ahead.
For downtown hotels, foot traffic created by Steamboat's weekend activities should boost late bookings. Alpiner Lodge owner Maria Latek said about half of her rooms were booked by Thursday afternoon, but judging by the past few months, she expects to be full for the weekend.
"We get a lot of walk-ins because we're smack in the middle of town," she said. "We've had a full house, give or take a few rooms, pretty much every weekend since the Fourth of July. I anticipate we'll have a full house this weekend."
Downtown lodging properties are expected to be 74 percent full Saturday, compared with 44 percent in 2002.
Looking to the week ahead, the lodging barometer anticipates 3,200 guests in town on Wednesday and 2,500 on Sept. 6.
Wednesday's predicted lodging figures represent a marked increase over last year. Mountain hotels are expected to be 30 percent full, compared with 10 percent on the same day in 2002, and lodging properties overall are expected to be at 21 percent occupancy, compared with 11 percent in 2002.
The Chamber's lodging forecast is not a scientific poll, but a survey intended to help businesses determine staffing levels. Also, occupancy percentage comparisons from year to year can be misleading because they are influenced by the fact that Steamboat has more guest rooms than it did last year.
-- To reach Melissa Roddy, call 871-4233
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org