Steamboat Springs There could be less visitors in town Saturday night than there were at this time last year, but don't expect that trend to hold.
The lodging barometer compiled by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association anticipates about 9,500 guests staying in area hotels and lodges Saturday night. That compares to about 9,900 guests on the corresponding Saturday in 2006. But resort lodging will pick up significantly by midweek, when properties will be about 40 percent full - almost twice as busy as the corresponding Wednesday from last summer.
For the first time this summer, the Chamber is reporting actual historical numbers in its barometer. The actual number of visitors who spent the night here June 24, 2006, was 10,900.
"I thought it was important to include the previous year's actual numbers," said Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Chamber. "There have been times when the difference (between projected and actual numbers) has been as much as 15 percent."
Steamboat's hotels along U.S. Highway 40 provide an example. The Chamber anticipated Steamboat properties would be 48 percent full June 24, 2006, a Saturday. As it turned out, late arrivals boosted that number to an 87 percent occupancy rate.
Steamboat's June tourism has been essentially flat year after year on Saturdays, but midweek numbers are trending ahead of last year, according to the Chamber.
Evans Hall said tourism numbers statewide are off slightly.
"All around the state, it seems to be a little bit down, and we're not sure why," Evans Hall said.
Summer tourists are more apt to drive to Steamboat than are winter tourists, but higher gas prices typically don't deter people from their plans.
Evans Hall said for the second straight year the Chamber is running TV commercials on the Front Range and in Southern Wyoming through Comcast. The spots promoting summer vacations in Steamboat are being inserted in programming on ESPN and E! Entertainment Television, she said.
For Saturday night, both mountain hotels and, to a lesser extent, mountain condominiums are expected to be less full than they were last year. But those numbers are offset by U.S. 40 hotels, which are expected to be 78 percent full.