Steamboat Grand nears holiday sellout

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— On Wednesday, the Steamboat Grand Resort and Conference Center was within a half dozen rooms of selling out during Saturday night of the coming Presidents Day weekend.

That helps explain why Steamboat is projected to host 13,552 visitors Saturday night.

The Lodging Barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association projects that mountain hotels will be 94 percent full this weekend.

"We're at 98.5," Steamboat Grand evening manager Scott Stanfill said. "We have 322 rooms and we have 316 or 317 booked right now."

Presidents weekend serves as a benchmark for Steamboat's ski season -- the three-day weekend usually propels tourism beyond 13,000 visitors.

Resort wide, Steamboat's bed base is projected to be 88 percent full Saturday night, dropping off to about 65 percent of capacity by Feb. 20. That translates into more than 9,944 guests here during the middle of next week. Steamboat hosted 11,350 people on the corresponding Wednesday last year. Steamboat's tourism level on Saturday night is 68 fewer people than the number expected here on the corresponding Saturday last winter.

The Steamboat Grand has been promoting attractive packages that include lift tickets. However, Stanfill said he doesn't think that's the reason the hotel will be so full this weekend.

"I think what's driving this week's occupancy is some large corporate groups from the south and the East Coast," he said.

Stanfill declined to name the corporations for competitive reasons, but said one group of about 200 will account for 560 room nights.

The Grand will remain between 70 and 80 percent full Monday through Thursday, Stanfill said.

Steamboat's mountain condominiums will not be as full this weekend as the hotels, unless late arrivals take up the slack. The barometer projects mountains condos will be 86 percent full.

The Lodging Barometer is not a scientific poll, but an informal survey intended to give resort based businesses information that helps determine staffing levels.

Downtown lodging properties are expected to be 74 percent full Saturday night. That's an improvement of 8 percent over last year.

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